Monthly Archives: June 2010

TS Gateway – the poor man’s GotoMyPC

Want to connect into your business network, but don’t want to spend the $$$ paying for multiple GoToMyPC accounts?  Well, if you have control over your firewall, a static IP, Windows Server 2008 or later on your business server, and enough technical expertise, you can likely use Terminal Services Gateway service (TS Gateway) to connect into your computer (or any modern Windows OS computer on your LAN), for free!

  1. Start by reading the official Microsoft TS Gateway step-by-step guide.  Be aware even for me, a tech geek, that contains a pretty heavy duty dose of tech-babble.
  2. Configure your Windows 2008 server by reading these directions
  3. Configure each remote client (like your laptop) by reading this

Rather than re-hash all the above content, I will point out a few areas in which you may experience problems configuring  TS Gateway.

  • Configure a DNS record for your domain and point it at the office IP address, such as point to your office IP.  If you don’t know your office IP, look at your firewall.  You will need a static IP or the capability to use a Dynamic IP address tracking service. If you don’t know what I am talking about already, this is not for you- use GoToMyPC!
  • While setting up the server, just create a “self signed” SSL certificate, and make sure you use the domain name you configured above to generate the self signed SSL, such as
    • You will need to install this self-signed SSL into BOTH the server and client Trusted Root Certification Authorities store (the above links detail this process).
  • After the TS Gateway setup is complete, go check the IIS server BINDINGS for your default site and make sure the SSL certificate from above is properly installed onto your site.
  • These self-signed SSL certs expire after 6 months, so every 6 months you’ll need to generate a new one using the TS Gateway manager, or you can obtain a low cost SSL from GoDaddy or somewhere else that you can use as well. My advice is to just use the free self-signed ones.  If you are using self-signed ones just setup an Outlook recurring calendar event to remind you a week before each 6 month period.
  • Firewall configuration.  This is the most important part of the whole setup.  If the traffic can’t even get into your network, none of the above will work.
    • In general this is a two part process.
      • First, configure your NAT mappings, to map inbound port 443 TCP to your internal server IP address.
      • Second, add a rule to permit HTTPS traffic from anywhere to your internal server IP and HTTPS port 443
    • If you have properly configured your firewall, and imported in both the client and server SSL cert, go to an outside connection with your laptop (like a coffee shop) and go to and see if you get the IIS 7.0 server multi-language single page splash screen.  If yes, then your TS Gateway setup is one step closer to working.
  • Enable all logging via the AUDITING tab.  These events will log to the Event Viewer in the area below.  This is extemely handy for troubleshooting things.

TS Gateway getting knocked offline due to IIS Restart

If you restart your IIS server at anytime, your TS Gateway service will get knocked offline.  As of June 27, 2010 this is a documented issue with Windows Server 2008 and later.

If you see an error in the TS Gateway event log that looks like this:

The TS Gateway service is shutting down. To diagnose possible causes for this problem, verify whether the following services are installed and started: (1) World Wide Web Publishing Service (2) Internet Authentication Service (IAS) (3) RPC/HTTP Load Balancing Service. Also, check Event Viewer for Network Policy Server (NPS) and IIS events that might indicate problems with NPS or IIS.

or if your client computer (laptop) that is trying to connect from the outside, gets an error like this

Remote Desktop Disconnected
This computer can't connect to the remote computer.
Try connecting again. If the problem continues, contact the owner of the remote computer or your network administrator.

You need to go to the service manager and make sure the following services are started:

  • Terminal Services Gateway
  • RPC/HTTP Load Balancing Service

Using SPF on your domains…

It’s a good idea if you have a domain – and you have access to your DNS server, that you setup and use (properly) SPF records.  SPF = Sender Policy Framework.  This is an an e-mail validation system designed to prevent e-mail spam by addressing a common vulnerability, source address spoofing.  Here at Amixa, we use SPF records on all of our domains that send email, just to add another layer of anti-spam protection for our clients.

In recent weeks we’ve noticed a sharp increase in spoofed “from” email addresses attached to bulk email sent by spammers.  The “Amixa Sales” email address has been spoofed by some senders and any receipient’s ISP that uses SPF lookups, are properly rejecting the spam messages because the email messages do not originate from our email server.  I am sure other people are getting spam emails using our forged email address, but that is just the way things happen on the internet.  Some people are good, and others aren’t!

For more reading, learn about SPF here

To check your SPF records after you have them in place, click here

SSL Weak Encryption Algorithms – how to disable them under IIS

Chances are if you are reading this you’ve failed a “Trustkeeper Scan” – with “Low severity” – due to having weak SSL encryption algorithms enabled on IIS.

It’s pretty easy to solve this, but if you read the microsoft KB article it looks pretty complicated.

Launch regedit and go to this key:


You basically want to disable everything that has less than 128 bit encryption.  On one of my servers, the ones with red arrows below need to be disabled:



So on each one of these, you want to “Right click”, add a DWORD, name it “Enabled” and set the Hex value to 00000000  (eight zeros).

Repeat for each one that has less than 128 bit length, and then restart your server.

You probably also need to reschedule a security scan so that your changes can be verified, and as always, please double check your SSL protected site with at least two different web browsers and make sure you can get into SSL mode with them both on your site.

Disabling SSLv2 support in IIS

If you have undergone a “Trustkeeper Scan” and failed due to your Microsoft web server using SSLv2, then read on.

NOTE: PLEASE READ THIS POST IN OUR BLOG HERE.  It is TWO YEARS NEWER and simplifies most of the tasks regarding SSL settings.


SSLv2 is considered a “medium” security risk and will cause your scan to FAIL, so therefore to be PCI-DSS compliant (for credit card companies), you need to disable it via the registry on your Windows server running IIS 3 or later.

The easiest way to do this is to read this KB article from Microsoft.

In a nutshell, you need to go to this registry key


Then locate the SSL 2.0 key

  • Click on the “Server” node.
  • On the Edit menu, click Add Value.
  • In the Data Type list, click DWORD.
  • In the Value Name box, type Enabled, and then click OKNote: If this value is present, just double-click the value to edit its current value.
  • Type 00000000 in Binary Editor to set the value of the new key equal to “0”.
  • Click OK. Restart the computer
  • if applicable, reschedule the security scan

Paymentech 9717 error message

If you are trying to process a transaction against the “live” Chase Paymentech payment gateway and get the following response code back:

9717 Security Information – agent/chain/merchant is missing

the problem is that the IP address being used by your server, is not in the merchant approved IP address list with Chase Paymentech.

You, or the approved merchant contact will need to call Chase Paymentech Gateway support at 1-866-645-1314 and have them update their firewall.  Once you have done this, wait 60-70 minutes then re-test your transaction.  Should work like a charm.