FortiGate Interface Ping Issue

I came across some curious behavior on a FortiGate firewall that seems worth sharing. The deal is that interfaces will only send back an echo reply if there is an admin user that has a trusted host network corresponding with the subnet configured on that interface. Read on for the details.
Fortinet Logo

The firewall in question was a FortiGate with multiple interfaces configured, like this for example:
Configured Interface
I can’t share the specific subnet, but let’s say it is 192.168.2.0/24. The interface is up, and as you can see in the screenshot, ping is allowed. I verified that I had done everything else right, and still the interface would not reply to my echo requests. I also had other interfaces on the same FortiGate that did reply to ping. I used the built-in packet sniffer to see what’s going on:

config vdom
edit root
diagnose sniffer packet any 'icmp' 4 0 l

Note that this setup has VDOMs in use, so you need to run the command from the correct VDOM for the interfaces you are troubleshooting.
I got the following output for interfaces that didn’t reply, and nothing else:

2016-09-27 13:25:25.160951 <dest_int> in <src_ip> -> <dest_ip>: icmp: echo request

For the interfaces that did reply, I got the following output:

2016-09-27 13:27:48.219828 <dest_int> in <src_ip> -> <dest_ip>: icmp: echo request
2016-09-27 13:27:48.219850 <dest_int> out <dest_ip> -> <src_ip>: icmp: echo reply
2016-09-27 13:27:48.219851 TRUNK out <dest_ip> -> <src_ip>: icmp: echo reply
2016-09-27 13:27:48.219853 port18 out <dest_ip> -> <src_ip>: icmp: echo reply

I replaced the real info, dest_ip was the IP that I wanted to ping. The output for the interfaces that were not responding shows me the FortiGate does receive the echo request, but never sends a reply. The output for interfaces that do work is pretty verbose, it shows the request leaving a VLAN interface, then a trunk interface (LACP) and then a real physical interface which is pretty nice.

I now had enough ammo to take it to Google and found this article. It turns out that if you have configured trusted hosts for admin access, this also applies to ICMP echo requests. What the hell? Two possible “solutions” are:

  • 1: Configure your admin accounts to have all RFC 1918 subnets configured for trusted hosts
  • 2: Configure an admin account with 0.0.0.0/0 for trusted hosts, and no permissions whatsoever

The first option is obviously not enough if you use different addresses, for example public addresses in a DMZ. I chose the second option, which is also suggested in the knowledge base article. The FortiGate interface allows you to easily set up a profile for admin users with no permissions in it. I still think this behavior is kind of unexpected and it wasted a good hour for me checking my VLAN tags etc. I hope this post helps to save others some time.

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