Admin Network Technologies

Extended Passive Mode FTP through Checkpoint Firewall

The vast majority of time there is no problem doing an FTP to a server behind a firewall protected by Checkpoint’s Firewall-1. But occasionally there is.

The details

The problem I am about to document I think will only occur on a server that has multiple interfaces. I have seen it occur on multiple operating systems, so that doesn’t seem to matter. On the other hand, I have also not seen it on other similar systems, a point which I don’t fully yet understand.

Nevertheless, a work-around is always appreciated, so I provide what I found here, to complete my extensive documentation of problems I’ve encountered and resolved.

Here is a snippet from the FTP session showing the problem:

ftp> cd uploadDirectory
250 CWD command successful.
ftp> put smallfile.txt
local: smallfile.txt remote: smallfile.txt
229 Entering Extended Passive Mode (|||36945|)
200 EPRT command successful.
421 Service not available, remote server timed out. Connection closed

And here is the solution:

Enter epsv4 after logon and before any other commands are issued. Problem fixed!

We have shown a way to fix a firewall-related problem that manifests itself during extended passive mode FTPs. Some more research should be done to understand under what circumstances this problem should be expected, but it seems to occur with a Checkpoint Firewall-1 firewall and an FTP server with multiple interfaces.

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