Posts Tagged ‘DPD’

Recently I’ve had the opportunity of playing a bit with a CheckPoint UTM NGX R65 – ze mighty solution from the CheckPoint guys. Ignoring the obvious impediments (Romanian posts) I had when configuring the device from GUI, it left me a nice impression.

These guys are not quite the interop gurus ever, but they strive to implement the crankiest drafts that ever appeared from IETF. Running this on my own, the interop even with this device worked well, but trying to make it work with StrongswanI’ve got into big trouble.

Why? Well, let’s take a look at the most common IPsec – IKEv1 implementations. They usually pick one/more of the following standards:

– RFC 2407

– RFC 2408

– RFC 2409

– RFC 3706 – should you like DPD – Dead Peer Detection

– RFC 3947 and RFC 3948 for NAT-T

mode-cfg-02 draft – for the most common Mode-Configuration operations (perfectly inter-operable by Cisco, Juniper’s ScreenOS, Strongswan, Sonicwall, Stoke and Clavister) – as you may have guessed, NO, NOT with CheckPoint

draft-beaulieu-ike-xauth-02 – for xAuth authentication of clients – inter-operable on Cisco, NetScreen, Stoke and Sonicwall (not sure about Clavister – haven’t tried it yet) – and, yes, not on CheckPoint

As a nice old guy would say: “Security through obscurity” , not quite my favorite idea of _security_. Still, a good to follow idea for CheckPoint. Why? Because, even though they implement the RFC 2407, 2408 and 2409, they have decided not to implement the most common xAuth draft (presented above), feeling that symmetrical authentication is just too lame, so they have implemented draft-zegman-ike-hybrid-auth-01, which defines how to do uni-directional independent authentication on the remote-access scenarios – procedure enforced by the CheckPoint VPN Client (only, if you ask me, though I haven’t tried too many others).

Once you bypass this authentication procedure, configuring the UTM to authenticate the clients using X.509 certificates, you end up in yet another dead-end: the so-called Office-Mode, which is the CheckPoint way of saying “Mode-Configuration”, with a significant difference: the actual packet exchange is not standard. We have tried, me and my programmer fellows (by the way: thanks for enduring this by my side), to “reverse-engineer” this mighty exchange, but even with the CheckPoint debug and hacking into our friend pluto, we didn’t manage to get it right.

I have talked to a tech-support guy from CKP, a very nice person, still incapable of saying anything about their solution without first asking for permission from his PM/Management/whatever. So, up until today, I haven’t been able to pull this through. This is why the things I’m going to describe below are only ALMOST CheckPoint IPsec…