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rt-n56u / EN / HowToConfigureOpenvpnServer

How To Configure Bild-In OpenVPN On Asus RT-N56U/RT-N65U Routers


This firmware contains built-in OpenVPN (see Firmware Builds), which can be configured via Web Interface. This HowTo covers questions of certificates creation. Most of users experience problems with this process.


On this page:


First of all, let's assume that persons, who maintain applications on server and client side are two different people. You should never send authentication data in clear (human readable) form. And sensitive authentication data (such as private keys, etc) should not be sent to anybody at all!

Certificates may have different usage purposes, which can be set using certificate extensions. For example, if there is no CA extension in certificate, it can't be used for signature verification of other certificates.

Each side (both server and client) should have at least

  • Private key.
  • Certificate, signed by CA.
  • Diffie–Hellman Key.

Optional (depends on server settings)

  • TLS Authorization Key

Files purpose:

Filename Needed By Purpose Secret
ca.crt server + all clients Root CA certificate NO
ca.key key signing machine only Root CA key YES
server.crt server only Server Certificate NO
server.key server only Server Key YES
client1.crt client1 only Client1 Certificate NO
client1.key client1 only Client1 Key YES
dh{n}.pem server only Diffie Hellman parameters NO
ta.key server + all clients tls-auth HMAC signature YES

Install Server Side Certificates

Common Algorithm

  • Create CA certificate and private key
  • Create server private key and certificate, signed by CA
  • Create Diffie–Hellman Key
  • Optional: Create TLS Key

Change directory to server certificate storage:

 cd /etc/storage/openvpn/server

Create CA certificate and private key

 openssl req -nodes -x509 -days 3650 -newkey rsa:2048 -outform PEM -out ca.crt -keyout ca.key -sha1

This command creates new RSA private key 1024 bits long (ca.key) and self-signed certificate with 'CA:TRUE' extension (ca.crt) valid for 10 years. We will sign other certificates using private key (ca.key). CA certificate (ca.crt) can be sent to anyone for signature verification.


warning.png Note: Common Name field should not be blank!


If you don't want fill all fields by hands, you can use:

 openssl req -nodes -x509 -days 365 -newkey rsa:2048 -outform PEM -out ca.crt -keyout ca.key -sha1 -subj '/CN=My OpenVPN CA'

This certificate will be valid for 1 year (change -days value if needed). Certificate can't be used for its purpose when it is expired. But new caertificate can be generated and signed using the same Key (ca.key). (Keys do not expire.) This can be done with:

 openssl req -nodes -x509 -days 365 -new -outform PEM -out ca.crt -key ca.key -sha1 -subj '/CN=My OpenVPN CA'

Certificate content can be viewed with:

 openssl x509 -text -noout -in ca.crt

As far as private key is a secret:

 chmod 600 ca.key

warning.png Note: CA key (ca.key) is required only for CSR (certificate signing request) sign and most of time it not needed. It is very sensitive component. It is recommended to encrypt and/or put it to more secure storage.

 openssl rsa -aes256 -in ca.key -out ca.key.aes
 mv ca.key.aes ca.key
 chmod 600 ca.key

Password phrase should be 4 to 1024 characters. Next time when you'll sign a certificate this password will be asked.


Create server certificate

Let's create certificate signing request:

 openssl req -nodes -days 365 -newkey rsa:2048 -outform PEM -out server.csr -keyout server.key -sha1 -subj '/CN=example.com'

This command creates a new private key (server.key) and signing request (server.csr), valid for 1 year. Let's sign our server certificate with CA:

 openssl x509 -req -in server.csr -CA ca.crt -CAkey ca.key -CAcreateserial -clrext -out server.crt -sha1

We don't need for request any more:

 rm -f server.csr
 chmod 600 server.key

Create Diffie-Hellman Key

 openssl dhparam -out dh1024.pem 1024

This command creates dh1024.pem file, which contains a l_ooo_ng prime.

Optional: Create TLS Key

This key is required if TLS-Auth is set to 'Yes' in server settings.

 openvpn --genkey --secret ta.key
 chmod 600 ta.key

<wiki:comment> FIXME: Not sure about the following </wiki:comment> Note: This key should be known by server and client and should not be seen by any other 3rd parties. This key should be copied over a pre-existing secure channel to the server and all client machines.

To save changes to flash-memory on router:

 mtd_storage.sh save

Install Client Side Certificates

Common Algorithm

  • Create client certificate signing request and send it to the CA (to server)
  • Get signed certificate (client.crt), CA (ca.crt) and install them
  • Optional: Get TLS key over a pre-existing secure channel (depends on server settings)

Create client certificate signing request and send it to the CA (to server)

Change directory to client certificate storage:

 cd /etc/storage/openvpn/client

Let's create CSR:

 openssl req -nodes -days 365 -newkey rsa:2048 -outform PEM -out client.csr -keyout client.key -sha1 -subj '/CN=client1.example.com'
 chmod 600 client.key

This command creates client private key (client.key) and client CSR, which will be valid for 1 year (client.csr) with Common Name = client1.example.com. Common Name is important, for example, if you'd like to access network befind the client.

Get signed certificate (client.crt), CA (ca.crt) and install them

CA (ca.crt), client certificate (client.crt) and client key (client.key) should be installed: * Go to * Turn on VPN client * Change VPN protocol to OpenVPN * Open 'Certificates and Keys' tap and copy-paste all keys to fields Other client settings should be set according to server settings.

If TLS Key is encrypted (as written below) decrypt it with:

 openssl smime -decrypt -aes-256-cbc -inform PEM -in ta.key.aes -inkey client.key -out ta.key
 chmod 600 ta.key

Add a Client

Common Algorithm

  • Sign CSR from client (client.csr)
  • Send signed certificate (client.crt), CA certificate (ca.crt) to client
  • Optional: Send TLS Key (ta.key) over a pre-existing secure channel (depends on server settings)

Sign CSR from client (client.csr)

View CSR with:

 openssl req -text -noout -in client.csr

Sign a request:

 openssl x509 -req -in client.csr -CA ca.crt -CAkey ca.key -CAcreateserial -clrext -out client.crt -sha1

(-clrext option cleans all extensions, which could be set by client on request generation)

Send signed certificate (client.crt), CA certificate (ca.crt) to client

Files can be sent in clear form to client.

If it is required to access local network behind a client, you should add Common Name of this client to Username field in VPN Clients Accounts on .

In the example above client with Common Name = client1.example.com with be assigned with static ip address 192.168.111.23. Also routes will be added to access 172.20.21.0/24.


warning.png Note: Access to resources can be restricted by client.


Optional: Send TLS Key (ta.key) over a pre-existing secure channel (depends on server settings)

TLS Key can encrypted with client certificate. Only that client can decrypt it with client.key.

 openssl smime -encrypt -aes-256-cbc -in ta.key -outform PEM -out ta.key.aes client.crt

Encrypted key (ta.key.aes) can be sent with certificates. Client should be notified with a cipher (aes-256-cbc).

Creating Certificates Using Script

There is the script, which should help you:

 openvpn-cert.sh --help

How to Block Connection if one of certificates was compromised

It is useful to keep serial numbers of signed client certificates.

Let's create directory, where we will put such certificates:

 mkdir /etc/storage/openvpn/server/crl

Add the following line to OpenVPN configuration:

crl-verify /etc/storage/openvpn/server/crl dir

Now we need to create file in this directory. The name of this file should be serial number (in decimal) of compromised certificate.

Let's assume we have a copy of that certificate (or we know its serial number).

 openssl x509 -noout -serial -in client.crt
serial=AA1E3C74A9D241D1

 printf '%lu\n' 0xAA1E3C74A9D241D1
12258301707512070609

 touch /etc/storage/openvpn/server/crl/12258301707512070609

Conclusion

I'd like to say that OpenVPN provides huge amount of opportunities. Its configuration is very flexible. Please find additional information in official documentation.

Updated