Feeds

VPN security - if you want it, come and get it

Attention WiFi hotspotters: You want it

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Step 3: Installing and configuring OpenVPN

Navigate to OpenVPN's downloads page and download the software that fits your machine. In most instances, you'll want to download the most recent stable release of the installer, which for Windows, at time of writing, was the OpenVPN-2.1_rc9-install.exe.

OpenVPN download screen

Download the most recent stable release

Install the program on both the server and client. Be sure to accept all defaults options during installation. If Windows XP displays a message warning that a "TAP-Win32" adapter or "ZRTP Miniport" haven't passed logo testing, don't worry. Just click "Continue anyway" each time the message is shown.

Time to Manage the Keys

OpenVPN gives you the option to use a symmetrical key for the server to authenticate itself to the client and vice versa. This makes the key management significantly easier, but it also diminishes significantly the security of the entire system by eliminating a powerful feature known as perfect forward secrecy. So whatever you do, DON'T USE THE SYMMETRICAL KEY OPTION.

Instead, use OpenVPN's public key infrastructure (PKI), which is much harder for intruders to break. You'll need to generate a certificate authority and separate keys for the server and each client that connects, but the increased security far outweighs the extra work.

Generating and distributing the SSL keys needed for OpenVPN isn't the most intuitive of tasks but thanks to the set of key management scripts included with the OpenVPN package you just installed, you have everything needed to get the job done. To access them, go to the machine that will act as the server and open up a command window (by choosing Start > Run and typing cmd and hitting enter) and type "cd \Program Files\OpenVPN\easy-rsa" (minus the quotes, here and throughout this manual). Your command prompt should now read: "C:\Program Files\OpenVPN\easy-rsa>". Now type the following commands:

init-config
vars
clean-all
build-ca

The first three commands will generate little in the way of a response from your computer. But after typing the last command, you'll be prompted for all kinds of information including your two-letter country code, and state or province. Feel free to enter in the correct information, or leave most of it as is. The only field that must be entered is the Common Name. Enter something like OpenVPN-CA. Congratulations, you have just created your certificate authority key.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about
NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
'Regin': The 'New Stuxnet' spook-grade SOFTWARE WEAPON described
'A degree of technical competence rarely seen'
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.