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4. Doing it

4.1 Planning

Before you start to set up your system, you should know the networking details. I assume you have two firewalls protecting one intranet per firewall, and they are both connected to the internet. So now you should have two network interfaces (at least) per firewall. Take a sheet of paper, write down their IP addresses and network mask. You will need one more IP adresses per firewall for the VPN you want to do now. Those addresses should be outside of your existing subnets. I suggest using addresses from the "private" address ranges. They are the followings:

For the sake of example, here's a sample configuration: The two bastions are called fellini and polanski. They have one interface for the internet (-out), one for the intranet (-in), and one for the vpn (-vpn). The addresses and netmasks:

So we have the plan.

4.2 Gathering the tools

You will need a

Current versions:

4.3 Compile and install

Compile or otherwise install the gathered tools. Look at every one's documentation (and the firewall-howto) for details. Now we have the tools.

4.4 Configure the other subsystems

Configure your firewall rules, etc. You need to enable ssh traffic between the two firewll hosts. It means a connection to port 22 on the slave from the master. Start sshd on the slave and verify if you can login. This step is untested, please tell me your results.

4.5 Set up the accounts for the VPN

Create an account on the slave firewall use your favourite tool (e.g. vi, mkdir, chown, chmod) you might create an account on the master also, but I think you want to set up the connection at boot time, so your ordinary root account will do. Can anyone point out risks on using the root account on the master?

4.6 Generate an ssh key for your master account

Use the ssh-keygen program. Set empty password for the private key if you want to do automatic setup of the VPN.

4.7 Set up automatic ssh login for the slave account

Copy the newly generated public key in the slave account under .ssh/authorized_keys, and set up file permissions like the following:

drwx------ 2 slave slave 1024 Apr 7 23:49 ./  
drwx------ 4 slave slave 1024 Apr 24 14:05 ../  
-rwx------ 1 slave slave 328 Apr 7 03:04 authorized_keys  
-rw------- 1 slave slave 660 Apr 14 15:23 known_hosts  
-rw------- 1 slave slave 512 Apr 21 10:03 random_seed  

The first row being ~slave/.ssh, and the second is ~slave.

4.8 Tighten ssh security on the bastions.

It means the followings on my setup in sshd_conf:

PermitRootLogin no  
IgnoreRhosts yes  
StrictModes yes  
QuietMode no  
FascistLogging yes  
KeepAlive yes  
RhostsAuthentication no  
RhostsRSAAuthentication no  
RSAAuthentication yes  
PasswordAuthentication no  
PermitEmptyPasswords no 

Password authentication is turned off, so login is only possible with authorized keys. (You've turned off telnet and the 'r' commands of course).

4.9 Enable execution of ppp and route for both accounts.

As the master account is the root in my case, it has nothing to do. For the slave account, the following lines appear in /etc/sudoers:

Cmnd_Alias VPN=/usr/sbin/pppd,/usr/local/vpn/route  

As you can see, I am using some scripts to set up ppp and the routing tables on the slave host.

4.10 Do the scripting

On the master host there is a full-blown init script I am using:

#! /bin/sh
# skeleton      example file to build /etc/init.d/ scripts.
#               This file should be used to construct scripts for /etc/init.d.
#               Written by Miquel van Smoorenburg <>.
#               Modified for Debian GNU/Linux
#               by Ian Murdock <>.
# Version:      @(#)skeleton  1.6  11-Nov-1996


test -f $PPPD || exit 0

set -e

case "$1" in
        echo setting up vpn
        $REDIR $SSH -o 'Batchmode yes' -t -l $SLAVEACC $SLAVEWALL sudo $PPPAPP >/tmp/device
        TTYNAME=`cat /tmp/device`
echo tty is $TTYNAME
        sleep 10s
        if [ ! -z $TTYNAME ]
                echo FAILED!
                logger "vpn setup failed"
        sleep 5s
        route add -net $TARGETNET gw $TARGETIP
        $SSH -o 'Batchmode yes' -l $SLAVEACC $SLAVEWALL sudo $ROUTEAPP
        ps -ax | grep "ssh -t -l $SLAVEACC " | grep -v grep | awk '{print $1}' | xargs kill
    # echo "Usage: /etc/init.d/$NAME {start|stop|reload}"
    echo "Usage: /etc/init.d/$NAME {start|stop}"
    exit 1

exit 0

The slave uses one script for routing setup (/usr/local/vpn/route):

/sbin/route add -net gw  

and its .ppprc consists of the following:


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