Fortinet Document Library

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Content disarm and reconstruction for antivirus

Content disarm and reconstruction (CDR) allows the FortiGate to sanitize Microsoft documents and PDF (disarm) by removing active content such as hyperlinks, embedded media, javascript, macros, and so on from the Office document files without affecting the integrity of its textual content (reconstruction).

This feature allows network admins to protect their users from malicious Office document files.

Files processed by CDR can have the original copy quarantined on the FortiGate, allowing admins to observe them. These original copies can also be obtained in the event of a false positive.

Support and limitations

  • CDR can only be performed on Microsoft Office document and PDF files.
  • Local disk CDR quarantine is only possible on FortiGate models that contain a hard disk.
  • CDR is only supported on HTTP, SMTP, POP3, IMAP.
    • SMTP splice and client-comfort mode is not supported.
  • CDR does not work on flow-based inspection modes.
  • CDR can only work on files in .ZIP type archives.

Network topology example

Configuring the feature

In order to configure antivirus to work with CDR, you must enable CDR on your antivirus profile, set the quarantine location, and then fine-tune the CDR detection parameters.

To enable CDR on your antivirus profile:
  1. Go to Security Profiles > AntiVirus.
  2. Edit an antivirus profile, or create a new one.
  3. Enable the toggle for Content Disarm and Reconstruction under APT Protection Options.

To set a quarantine location:
  1. Go to Security Profiles > AntiVirus.
  2. Edit an antivirus profile, or create a new one.
  3. Select a quarantine location from the available options: Discard, File Quarantine, or FortiSandbox.
    Discard The default setting, which discards the original document file.
    File Quarantine Saves the original document file to disk (if possible) or a connected FortiAnalyzer based on the FortiGate's log settings, visible through Config GlobalConfig Log FortiAnalyzer Setting.
    FortiSandbox Saves the original document file to a connected FortiSandbox.
  4. Click Apply.
To fine-tune CDR detection parameters in the CLI:
  • Select which active content to detect/process:

    By default, all active office and PDF content types are enabled. To fine-tune CDR to ignore certain content, you must disable that particular content parameter. The example below configures the CDR to ignore Microsoft Office macros.

    config antivirus profile 
        edit av
            config content-disarm 
                set ?
                    original-file-destination    Destination to send original file if active content is removed.
                    office-macro             Enable/disable stripping of macros in Microsoft Office documents.
                    office-hylink            Enable/disable stripping of hyperlinks in Microsoft Office documents.
                    office-linked            Enable/disable stripping of linked objects in Microsoft Office documents.
                    office-embed             Enable/disable stripping of embedded objects in Microsoft Office documents.
                    office-dde               Enable/disable stripping of Dynamic Data Exchange events in Microsoft Office documents.
                    office-action            Enable/disable stripping of PowerPoint action events in Microsoft Office documents.
                    pdf-javacode             Enable/disable stripping of JavaScript code in PDF documents.
                    pdf-embedfile            Enable/disable stripping of embedded files in PDF documents.
                    pdf-hyperlink            Enable/disable stripping of hyperlinks from PDF documents.
                    pdf-act-gotor            Enable/disable stripping of PDF document actions that access other PDF documents.
                    pdf-act-launch           Enable/disable stripping of PDF document actions that launch other applications.
                    pdf-act-sound            Enable/disable stripping of PDF document actions that play a sound.
                    pdf-act-movie            Enable/disable stripping of PDF document actions that play a movie.
                    pdf-act-java             Enable/disable stripping of PDF document actions that execute JavaScript code.
                    pdf-act-form             Enable/disable stripping of PDF document actions that submit data to other targets.
                    cover-page               Enable/disable inserting a cover page into the disarmed document.
                    detect-only              Enable/disable only detect disarmable files, do not alter content.
                set office-macro disable
            end
        next
    end
  • Detect but do not modify active content:

    By default, CDR will disarm any detected documents containing active content. To prevent CDR from disarming documents, you can set it to operate in detect-only mode. To do this, the option detect-only must be enabled.

    config antivirus profile 
        edit av
            config content-disarm 
                set detect-only enable
            end
        next
    end
  • Enable/disable the CDR cover page:

    By default, a cover page will be attached to the file's content when the file has been processed by CDR. To disable the cover page, the cover-page parameter needs to be disabled.

    config antivirus profile 
        edit av
            config content-disarm 
                set cover-page disable
            end
        next
    end

Content disarm and reconstruction for antivirus

Content disarm and reconstruction (CDR) allows the FortiGate to sanitize Microsoft documents and PDF (disarm) by removing active content such as hyperlinks, embedded media, javascript, macros, and so on from the Office document files without affecting the integrity of its textual content (reconstruction).

This feature allows network admins to protect their users from malicious Office document files.

Files processed by CDR can have the original copy quarantined on the FortiGate, allowing admins to observe them. These original copies can also be obtained in the event of a false positive.

Support and limitations

  • CDR can only be performed on Microsoft Office document and PDF files.
  • Local disk CDR quarantine is only possible on FortiGate models that contain a hard disk.
  • CDR is only supported on HTTP, SMTP, POP3, IMAP.
    • SMTP splice and client-comfort mode is not supported.
  • CDR does not work on flow-based inspection modes.
  • CDR can only work on files in .ZIP type archives.

Network topology example

Configuring the feature

In order to configure antivirus to work with CDR, you must enable CDR on your antivirus profile, set the quarantine location, and then fine-tune the CDR detection parameters.

To enable CDR on your antivirus profile:
  1. Go to Security Profiles > AntiVirus.
  2. Edit an antivirus profile, or create a new one.
  3. Enable the toggle for Content Disarm and Reconstruction under APT Protection Options.

To set a quarantine location:
  1. Go to Security Profiles > AntiVirus.
  2. Edit an antivirus profile, or create a new one.
  3. Select a quarantine location from the available options: Discard, File Quarantine, or FortiSandbox.
    Discard The default setting, which discards the original document file.
    File Quarantine Saves the original document file to disk (if possible) or a connected FortiAnalyzer based on the FortiGate's log settings, visible through Config GlobalConfig Log FortiAnalyzer Setting.
    FortiSandbox Saves the original document file to a connected FortiSandbox.
  4. Click Apply.
To fine-tune CDR detection parameters in the CLI:
  • Select which active content to detect/process:

    By default, all active office and PDF content types are enabled. To fine-tune CDR to ignore certain content, you must disable that particular content parameter. The example below configures the CDR to ignore Microsoft Office macros.

    config antivirus profile 
        edit av
            config content-disarm 
                set ?
                    original-file-destination    Destination to send original file if active content is removed.
                    office-macro             Enable/disable stripping of macros in Microsoft Office documents.
                    office-hylink            Enable/disable stripping of hyperlinks in Microsoft Office documents.
                    office-linked            Enable/disable stripping of linked objects in Microsoft Office documents.
                    office-embed             Enable/disable stripping of embedded objects in Microsoft Office documents.
                    office-dde               Enable/disable stripping of Dynamic Data Exchange events in Microsoft Office documents.
                    office-action            Enable/disable stripping of PowerPoint action events in Microsoft Office documents.
                    pdf-javacode             Enable/disable stripping of JavaScript code in PDF documents.
                    pdf-embedfile            Enable/disable stripping of embedded files in PDF documents.
                    pdf-hyperlink            Enable/disable stripping of hyperlinks from PDF documents.
                    pdf-act-gotor            Enable/disable stripping of PDF document actions that access other PDF documents.
                    pdf-act-launch           Enable/disable stripping of PDF document actions that launch other applications.
                    pdf-act-sound            Enable/disable stripping of PDF document actions that play a sound.
                    pdf-act-movie            Enable/disable stripping of PDF document actions that play a movie.
                    pdf-act-java             Enable/disable stripping of PDF document actions that execute JavaScript code.
                    pdf-act-form             Enable/disable stripping of PDF document actions that submit data to other targets.
                    cover-page               Enable/disable inserting a cover page into the disarmed document.
                    detect-only              Enable/disable only detect disarmable files, do not alter content.
                set office-macro disable
            end
        next
    end
  • Detect but do not modify active content:

    By default, CDR will disarm any detected documents containing active content. To prevent CDR from disarming documents, you can set it to operate in detect-only mode. To do this, the option detect-only must be enabled.

    config antivirus profile 
        edit av
            config content-disarm 
                set detect-only enable
            end
        next
    end
  • Enable/disable the CDR cover page:

    By default, a cover page will be attached to the file's content when the file has been processed by CDR. To disable the cover page, the cover-page parameter needs to be disabled.

    config antivirus profile 
        edit av
            config content-disarm 
                set cover-page disable
            end
        next
    end