• Easy Remote Client VPN Solution with a Cisco ASA

    I’ve posted an article on Client VPN setup using OpenVPN and I noticed I didn’t have one regarding Cisco ASA. A Cisco ASA being a very common Security Appliance used by small and large companies. This article will cover how to setup a standard remote client VPN utilizing IPsec as the crypto carrier. Cisco also has their own proprietary remote client VPN solution called AnyConnect. I will be posting an article after this one on how to set an AnyConnect solution up and include what the differences are between it and the standard IPsec remote client VPN contained in this article.

    A remote client VPN is something very common in workplace now-a-days. It allows users to appear as if they are on the company’s internal network over an insecure medium(e.g. Internet, untrused Network, etc). It does so by using IPsec. IPsec is a tried and true Layer 3 securing technique that requires both parties involved to mutually authenticate each other before passing traffic.

    A few things to keep in mind regarding remote client VPNs.

    • First, a subnet is required for client’s to be put on when successfully authenticated and authorized via the remote client VPN. This can be the same subnet as one already existing on your network or a separate one with a firewall in-between The later being best in practice and security.
    • Secondly, deciding on split-tunneling vs all-tunneling. The difference being on the client would you like all traffic to be forced across the tunnel or allow clients to communicate with both their local network and the networks on the otherside of the VPN. For best practice and security, all-tunneling is recommended.
    • Third, Access Lists and tunneled networks. Here we will decided what Remote VPN users will have access to other networks. We will also, in the case of split-tunneling, create an access-list of what networks to tunnel for the Remote VPN user.
    • Fourth, provisioning standard network services for VPN user’s. Remote VPN user’s will need a default gateway, DNS servers, domain suffix, an address pool, proxy settings, etc.

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  • Transparent SSL Web Proxy redirection using WCCP, Cisco ASA, and Squid 3.4+ with Wireshark Captures

    I’ve posted a few articles on how to set up a Forwarding Proxy using Squid, and using benefits like caching and content blocking (Ads, adult, gambling, etc). This can bring centralized web security and delivery to you and your users.  However, users need to be expliclty configured to use the Proxy service. This means having their web browser like Firefox or even Internet Explorer set with the DNS or IP address of the Proxy server. This can be an issue if youhave little or no management of the user’s Web Browsers configuration.  This is where a content-routing protocol like WCCP(Web Cache Communication Protocol) comes into play. With WCCP we can influence specific user traffic to be encapsulated and re-routed to your Proxy server. The difference between this and some of the other ways to force web traffic to your Proxy server(like iptables redirection) is the original Web packet generated by the user’s device is not altered. Instead it is encapsulated when it reaches your WCCP receiver running on an upstream egress router(user gateway towards Internet). It is then re-routed via this encapsulation to your Proxy server which is WCCP aware.

    Before we begin, you will need a few things:

    • Squid Proxy Server 3.4+ compiled with WCCP
    • Router or Security device capable of running the WCCPv2 service(See vendor list here…)
    • Some knowledge of Web Proxy Technology.
    • A Web Browser to test with.
    • Your favorite beverage and some patients.


    Notice: Cisco ASA only supports having the user subnet(s) and the cache-engine(Squid Proxy server) behind the same Cisco ASA interface(inside,dmz,outside,etc). The reason for this is the WCCP processing on the ASA happens after interface ACL, meaning for example ACL on your inside interface are processed before any WCCP manipulation can begin.

    wccp flow

    1. User requests a web resource on outside interface(usually the Internet) of Router/Firewall.
    2. WCCP Server (Router/Firewall) catches this interesting traffic(traffic we want to redirect) and encapsulates it within a GRE tunnel to the WCCP Client(Squid Proxy Server) on the other end of the tunnel.
    3. WCCP Client (Squid Proxy Server) decapsulates the GRE payload and fetches the original client request just like an ordinary Web Proxy would.
    4. WCCP Client receives a response from the external web server.
    5. WCCP Client (Squid Proxy Server) serves the web page back to the original User by spoofing the source IP address(This is key). Spoofing is done by rewriting the source IP address field of the packet with the External Resource’s IP address. This makes it look like the packet the user receives is from the external web site.

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  • Link Aggregation with LACP and NIC Teaming

    Hi All!, been awhile since I posted an article and I don’t think I have ever posted one on Network Link Aggregation!! Link Aggregation is the physical combining of network links into one logical link. There are two main advantages to this practice. First is the increase throughput that you obtain by combining links, for example combining 2x 1GB links will increase your total bandwidth to 2GB.(Keep in mind this will not change your latency…) Secondly, link aggregation grants the benefits of redundancy. Imagine the setup above. If 1 of the 1GB links fails, you would still have the other 1GB link to fall back on, woot!.

    Wikipedia Image
    –Image From Wikipedia
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