How to configure strongSwan client on headless Debian-based Linux computer

How to configure strongSwan client on headless Debian-based Linux computer - YouTube

Requirements

Caveats

  • When copy/pasting commands that start with $, strip out $ as this character is not part of the command
  • When copy/pasting commands that start with cat << "EOF", select all lines at once (from cat << "EOF" to EOF inclusively) as they are part of the same (single) command

Guide

Step 1: create client key and cert using certificate authority from How to self-host hardened strongSwan IKEv2/IPsec VPN server for iOS and macOS (on certificate authority computer).

Navigate to strongswan-certs folder

cd ~/Desktop/strongswan-certs

Set client common name

STRONGSWAN_CLIENT_NAME=bob

Update OpenSSL config file

cat << EOF > openssl.cnf
[ req ]
distinguished_name = req_distinguished_name
attributes = req_attributes
[ req_distinguished_name ]
countryName = Country Name (2 letter code)
countryName_min = 2
countryName_max = 2
countryName_default = US
0.organizationName = Organization Name (eg, company)
0.organizationName_default = Self-hosted strongSwan VPN
commonName = Common Name (eg, fully qualified host name)
commonName_max = 64
[ req_attributes ]
challengePassword = A challenge password
challengePassword_min = 4
challengePassword_max = 20
[ ca ]
subjectKeyIdentifier = hash
basicConstraints = critical, CA:true
keyUsage = critical, cRLSign, keyCertSign
[ server ]
authorityKeyIdentifier = keyid
subjectAltName = DNS:vpn-server.com
extendedKeyUsage = serverAuth, 1.3.6.1.5.5.8.2.2
[ client ]
authorityKeyIdentifier = keyid
subjectAltName = email:$STRONGSWAN_CLIENT_NAME@vpn-server.com
extendedKeyUsage = serverAuth, 1.3.6.1.5.5.8.2.2
EOF

Generate client cert

$ openssl genrsa -out $STRONGSWAN_CLIENT_NAME.key 4096
Generating RSA private key, 4096 bit long modulus
............................++
...........++
e is 65537 (0x10001)

$ openssl req -new -config openssl.cnf -extensions client -key $STRONGSWAN_CLIENT_NAME.key -subj "/C=US/O=Self-hosted strongSwan VPN/CN=$STRONGSWAN_CLIENT_NAME@vpn-server.com" -out $STRONGSWAN_CLIENT_NAME.csr

$ openssl x509 -req -extfile openssl.cnf -extensions client -in $STRONGSWAN_CLIENT_NAME.csr -CA ca.crt -CAkey ca.key -CAcreateserial -days 3650 -out $STRONGSWAN_CLIENT_NAME.crt
Signature ok
subject=/C=US/O=Self-hosted strongSwan VPN/CN=bob@vpn-server.com
Getting CA Private Key

Step 2: log in to client computer

Replace pi@10.0.1.248 with SSH destination of client computer and ~/.ssh/pi with path to associated private key.

ssh pi@10.0.1.248 -i ~/.ssh/pi

Step 3: switch to root

su -

Step 4: configure iptables

Heads-up: input rules are likely already configured (run iptables-save and ip6tables-save to check).

Configure IPv4 rules

iptables -A INPUT -m state --state RELATED,ESTABLISHED -j ACCEPT
iptables -A OUTPUT -p udp --dport 500 -m state --state NEW -j ACCEPT
iptables -A OUTPUT -p udp --dport 4500 -m state --state NEW -j ACCEPT

Configure IPv6 rules (if network is dual stack)

ip6tables -A INPUT -m state --state RELATED,ESTABLISHED -j ACCEPT
ip6tables -A OUTPUT -p udp --dport 500 -m state --state NEW -j ACCEPT
ip6tables -A OUTPUT -p udp --dport 4500 -m state --state NEW -j ACCEPT

Make iptables rules persistent

iptables-save > /etc/iptables/rules.v4
ip6tables-save > /etc/iptables/rules.v6

Step 5: update APT index

apt update

Step 6: install strongSwan

Heads-up: if you are shown an “Old runlevel management superseded” warning, answer “Ok”.

apt install -y strongswan libcharon-extra-plugins

Step 7: configure strongSwan

Set strongSwan client name and server IP environment variables

Replace 185.193.126.203 with IP of strongSwan server.

STRONGSWAN_CLIENT_NAME=bob
STRONGSWAN_SERVER_IP=185.193.126.203

Backup and override /etc/ipsec.conf

cp /etc/ipsec.conf /etc/ipsec.conf.backup
cat << EOF > /etc/ipsec.conf
conn ikev2
  auto=start
  ike=aes256gcm16-prfsha512-ecp384!
  esp=aes256gcm16-ecp384!
  dpdaction=restart
  closeaction=restart
  keyingtries=%forever
  leftid=$STRONGSWAN_CLIENT_NAME@vpn-server.com
  leftsourceip=%config
  leftauth=eap-tls
  leftcert=$STRONGSWAN_CLIENT_NAME.crt
  right=$STRONGSWAN_SERVER_IP
  rightid=vpn-server.com
  rightsubnet=0.0.0.0/0
  rightauth=pubkey
EOF

Backup and override /etc/ipsec.secrets

cp /etc/ipsec.secrets /etc/ipsec.secrets.backup
cat << EOF > /etc/ipsec.secrets
: RSA $STRONGSWAN_CLIENT_NAME.key
EOF

Disable unused plugins

cd /etc/strongswan.d/charon
sed -i 's/load = yes/load = no/' ./*.conf
sed -i 's/load = no/load = yes/' ./eap-tls.conf ./aes.conf ./dhcp.conf ./farp.conf ./gcm.conf ./hmac.conf ./kernel-netlink.conf ./nonce.conf ./openssl.conf ./pem.conf ./pgp.conf ./pkcs12.conf ./pkcs7.conf ./pkcs8.conf ./pubkey.conf ./random.conf ./revocation.conf ./sha2.conf ./socket-default.conf ./stroke.conf ./x509.conf
cd -

Step 8: copy certs and key to client and make private folder root-only.

On certificate authority computer, run:

cat << EOF
cat << "_EOF" > /etc/ipsec.d/cacerts/ca.crt
$(cat ca.crt)
_EOF
EOF

On client computer, run output from previous command:

cat << "_EOF" > /etc/ipsec.d/cacerts/ca.crt
-----BEGIN CERTIFICATE-----
MIIFWzCCA0OgAwIBAgIJAIBFc1JHIb/zMA0GCSqGSIb3DQEBCwUAMEsxCzAJBgNV
BAYTAlVTMSMwIQYDVQQKDBpTZWxmLWhvc3RlZCBzdHJvbmdTd2FuIFZQTjEXMBUG
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JJAKOaEm18Vl0ntydZ1BSldekjJNYFCENvCNXp/vRg==
-----END CERTIFICATE-----
_EOF

On certificate authority computer, run:

cat << EOF
cat << "_EOF" > /etc/ipsec.d/private/$STRONGSWAN_CLIENT_NAME.key
$(cat $STRONGSWAN_CLIENT_NAME.key)
_EOF
EOF

On client computer, run output from previous command:

cat << "_EOF" > /etc/ipsec.d/private/bob.key
-----BEGIN RSA PRIVATE KEY-----
MIIJJwIBAAKCAgEAm7IuJck8H0xM9Fa07gh2ZDzSW9NNCUWavhmr+hse4ZcpFbNN
1D6uaa9sWBNReVzd9PRo7cJwzhTqMYsNF5nLrhdeAlIE9ans/maZlIf4EJ4fNZV8
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-----END RSA PRIVATE KEY-----
_EOF

On certificate authority computer, run:

cat << EOF
cat << "_EOF" > /etc/ipsec.d/certs/$STRONGSWAN_CLIENT_NAME.crt
$(cat $STRONGSWAN_CLIENT_NAME.crt)
_EOF
EOF

On client computer, run output from previous command:

cat << "_EOF" > /etc/ipsec.d/certs/bob.crt
-----BEGIN CERTIFICATE-----
MIIFfjCCA2agAwIBAgIJAN19ZfXadJDLMA0GCSqGSIb3DQEBBQUAMEsxCzAJBgNV
BAYTAlVTMSMwIQYDVQQKDBpTZWxmLWhvc3RlZCBzdHJvbmdTd2FuIFZQTjEXMBUG
A1UEAwwOdnBuLXNlcnZlci5jb20wHhcNMjAxMjEwMTE1MjU3WhcNMzAxMjA4MTE1
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UpTExBlA0rjkNBDdlkNfRSRF
-----END CERTIFICATE-----
_EOF

On client computer, run chmod -R 600 /etc/ipsec.d/private

Step 9: restart strongSwan

systemctl restart strongswan

Step 10: confirm strongSwan client is connected

$ ipsec status
Security Associations (1 up, 0 connecting):
       ikev2[1]: ESTABLISHED 3 minutes ago, 10.0.1.248[bob@vpn-server.com]...185.193.126.203[vpn-server.com]
       ikev2{1}:  INSTALLED, TUNNEL, reqid 1, ESP in UDP SPIs: c3fcabed_i c2b0c4cd_o
       ikev2{1}:   10.0.2.171/32 === 0.0.0.0/0

ESTABLISHED

👍

Step 11: confirm client computer public IP matches strongSwan server IP

curl https://checkip.amazonaws.com
185.193.126.203

185.193.126.203

👍

Heads-up: use following steps to assign static IP to strongSwan client

Step 12: log in to server

Replace 185.193.126.203 with IP of strongSwan server.

ssh vpn-server-admin@185.193.126.203 -i ~/.ssh/vpn-server

Step 13: switch to root

su -

Step 14: get virtual MAC address assigned to strongSwan client

Replace 10.0.2.171 with IP assigned to strongSwan client by strongSwan server (see step 10).

$ cat /var/lib/misc/dnsmasq.leases | grep "10.0.2.171" | awk '{print $2}'
7a:a7:9f:c0:9d:b0

Step 15: assign static IP to strongSwan client

echo "dhcp-host=7a:a7:9f:c0:9d:b0,10.0.2.2" >> /etc/dnsmasq.d/01-dhcp-strongswan.conf

Step 16: restart dnsmasq

systemctl restart dnsmasq

Step 17: log in to client computer

Replace pi@10.0.1.248 with SSH destination of client computer and ~/.ssh/pi with path to associated private key.

ssh pi@10.0.1.248 -i ~/.ssh/pi

Step 18: switch to root

su -

Step 19: restart strongSwan

systemctl restart strongswan

Step 20: confirm strongSwan client has IP 10.0.2.2

$ ipsec status
Security Associations (1 up, 0 connecting):
       ikev2[1]: ESTABLISHED 3 minutes ago, 10.0.1.248[bob@vpn-server.com]...185.193.126.203[vpn-server.com]
       ikev2{1}:  INSTALLED, TUNNEL, reqid 1, ESP in UDP SPIs: c3fcabed_i c2b0c4cd_o
       ikev2{1}:   10.0.2.2/32 === 0.0.0.0/0

10.0.2.2/32

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Contributors:Sun KnudsenSun Knudsen
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