Deep inspection

You can configure address and web category allowlists to bypass SSL deep inspection.

Reasons for using deep inspection

While Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) offers protection on the Internet by applying Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption to web traffic, encrypted traffic can be used to get around your network's normal defenses.

For example, you might download a file containing a virus during an e-commerce session, or you might receive a phishing email containing a seemingly harmless download that, when launched, creates an encrypted session to a command and control (C&C) server and downloads malware onto your computer. Because the sessions in these attacks are encrypted, they might get past your network's security measures.

When you use deep inspection, the FortiGate impersonates the recipient of the originating SSL session, then decrypts and inspects the content to find threats and block them. It then re-encrypts the content and sends it to the real recipient.

Deep inspection not only protects you from attacks that use HTTPS, it also protects you from other commonly-used SSL-encrypted protocols such as SMTPS, POP3S, IMAPS, and FTPS.

Browser messages when using deep inspection

When FortiGate re-encrypts the content, it uses a certificate stored on the FortiGate such as Fortinet_CA_SSL, Fortinet_CA_Untrusted, or your own CA certificate that you uploaded.

Because there is no Fortinet_CA_SSL in the browser trusted CA list, the browser displays an untrusted certificate warning when it receives a FortiGate re-signed server certificate. To stop the warning messages, trust the FortiGate-trusted CA Fortinet_CA_SSL and import it into your browser.

After importing Fortinet_CA_SSL into your browser, if you still get messages about untrusted certificate, it must be due to Fortinet_CA_Untrusted. Never import the Fortinet_CA_Untrusted certificate into your browser.

To import Fortinet_CA_SSL into your browser:
  1. On the FortiGate, go to Security Profiles > SSL/SSH Inspection and edit the deep-inspection profile.

    The default CA Certificate is Fortinet_CA_SSL.

  2. Click Download and save the certificate to the management computer.
  3. On the client PC, use the Certificate Import Wizard to install the certificate into the Trusted Root Certificate Authorities store.

    If a security warning appears, select Yes to install the certificate.

Exempt web sites from deep inspection

If you do not want to apply deep inspection for privacy or other reasons, you can exempt the session by address, category, or allowlist.

If you know the address of the server you want to exempt, you can exempt that address. You can exempt specific address type including IP address, IP address range, IP subnet, FQDN, wildcard-FQDN, and geography.

If you want to exempt all bank web sites, an easy way is to exempt the Finance and Banking category which includes all finance and bank web sites identified in FortiGuard. For information about creating and using custom local and remote categories, see Web rating override and