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Cisco ASA: DNS reply filtering

Today I was asked to block access to multiple websites and the only device capable of doing this was the firewall. This customer is using a Cisco ASA firewall, which supports basic URL filtering. This customers wanted to block HTTP and HTTPS websites. HTTPS websites use a SSL tunnel from the end device to the end server, so the firewall isn’t capable of inspecting the SSL traffic. Instead of using URL inspection, I configured DNS inspection.

The ASA inspects the DNS request from the internal DNS server or end device to the external DNS server. I use regular expressions to match the FQDN of a website. Below is an example configuration of blocking access to the website (and applications using a DNS entry to this website)

regex “\.logmein\.com”
class-map type regex match-any DomainBlockList
description Blocked Domains
match regex
policy-map type inspect dns PM-DNS-inspect
message-length maximum 512
match domain-name regex class DomainBlockList
drop-connection log
policy-map global_policy
class inspection_default
inspect dns PM-DNS-inspect
service-policy global_policy global

A problem with this approach could be the DNS cache on the internal DNS server. This is domain name is queried before configuring the inspection, the domain will be available until the DNS cache from the DNS server expires. In urgent situation you can maybe clear the DNS cache yourself.

If a DNS reply is matched the ASA generates a syslog message, like shown below.

08-28-2009 15:33:31 Local4.Warning %ASA-4-410003: DNS Classification: Dropped DNS request (id 22251) from inside:DNS-SERVER/59256 to outside:UPSTREAM-DNS/53; matched Class 23: match domain-name regex class DomainBlockList