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Cisco ASA IPSec VPN

Last Updated: September 11th, 2019

Duo integrates with your Cisco ASA VPN to add two-factor authentication to any VPN login.

Overview

The Cisco IPSec configuration protects IKE encrypted connections that use Cisco's desktop VPN client.

To protect SSL VPN browser connections with inline self-service enrollment and Duo Prompt or desktop and mobile AnyConnect clients, use our Cisco SSL VPN instructions.

Please refer to the Duo for Cisco AnyConnect VPN with ASA or Firepower overview to learn more about the different options for protecting ASA logins with Duo MFA.

Before starting, make sure that Duo is compatible with your Cisco ASA device. Log on to your Cisco ASDM interface and verify that your Cisco ASA firmware is version 8.4(5) or later.

Connectivity Requirements

This application communicates with Duo's service on TCP port 443. Firewall configurations that restrict outbound access to Duo's service with rules using destination IP addresses or IP address ranges aren't recommended, since these may change over time to maintain our service's high availability. If your organization requires IP-based rules, please review this Duo KB article.

First Steps

Before moving on to the deployment steps, it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with Duo administration concepts and features like options for applications, available methods for enrolling Duo users, and Duo policy settings and how to apply them. See all Duo Administrator documentation.

You should already have a working primary authentication configuration for your Cisco ASA IPSec VPN users before you begin to deploy Duo.

To integrate Duo with your Cisco ASA IPSec VPN, you will need to install a local proxy service on a machine within your network. This Duo proxy server also acts as a RADIUS server — there's usually no need to deploy a separate RADIUS server to use Duo.

Next, locate (or set up) a system on which you will install the Duo Authentication Proxy. The proxy supports these operating systems:

  • Windows Server 2008 R2 or later (Server 2016 or 2019 recommended)
  • CentOS 7 or later
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 or later
  • Ubuntu 16.04 or later
  • Debian 7 or later.

Then you'll need to:

  1. Sign up for a Duo account.
  2. Log in to the Duo Admin Panel and navigate to Applications.
  3. Click Protect an Application and locate Cisco RADIUS VPN in the applications list. Click Protect this Application to get your integration key, secret key, and API hostname. See Getting Started for help.
Treat your secret key like a password

The security of your Duo application is tied to the security of your secret key (skey). Secure it as you would any sensitive credential. Don't share it with unauthorized individuals or email it to anyone under any circumstances!

Install the Duo Authentication Proxy

The Duo Authentication Proxy can be installed on a physical or virtual host. We recommend a system with at least 1 CPU, 200 MB disk space, and 4 GB RAM (although 1 GB RAM is usually sufficient).

  1. Download the most recent Authentication Proxy for Windows from https://dl.duosecurity.com/duoauthproxy-latest.exe. Note that the actual filename will reflect the version e.g. duoauthproxy-3.1.1.exe. View checksums for Duo downloads here.
  2. Launch the Authentication Proxy installer on the target Windows server as a user with administrator rights and follow the on-screen prompts.
  1. Ensure that Perl, Python 2.6 or 2.7 (including development headers and libraries), and a compiler toolchain are installed. On most recent RPM-based distributions — like Fedora, RedHat Enterprise, and CentOS — you can install these by running (as root):

    $ yum install gcc make python-devel libffi-devel perl zlib-devel

    On Debian-derived systems, install these dependencies by running (as root):

    $ apt-get install build-essential python-dev libffi-dev perl zlib1g-dev
  2. Download the most recent Authentication Proxy for Unix from https://dl.duosecurity.com/duoauthproxy-latest-src.tgz. Depending on your download method, the actual filename may reflect the version e.g. duoauthproxy-3.1.1-src.tgz. View checksums for Duo downloads here.

  3. Extract the Authentication Proxy files and build it as follows:

    $ tar xzf duoauthproxy-latest-src.tgz
    $ cd duoauthproxy-version-src
    $ make
  4. Install the authentication proxy (as root):

    $ cd duoauthproxy-build
    $ ./install

    Follow the prompts to complete the installation. The installer creates a user to run the proxy service and a group to own the log directory and files. You can accept the default user and group names or enter your own.

If you ever need to uninstall the proxy, run /opt/duoauthproxy/uninstall.

Configure the Proxy

After the installation completes, you will need to configure the proxy.

The Duo Authentication Proxy configuration file is named authproxy.cfg, and is located in the conf subdirectory of the proxy installation. With default installation paths, the proxy configuration file will be located at:

Platform Default Configuration Path
Windows (64-bit) C:\Program Files (x86)\Duo Security Authentication Proxy\conf\authproxy.cfg
Windows (32-bit) C:\Program Files\Duo Security Authentication Proxy\conf\authproxy.cfg
Linux /opt/duoauthproxy/conf/authproxy.cfg

The configuration file is formatted as a simple INI file. Section headings appear as:

[section]

Individual properties beneath a section appear as:

name=value

The Authentication Proxy may include an existing authproxy.cfg with some example content. For the purposes of these instructions, however, you should delete the existing content and start with a blank text file. We recommend using WordPad or another text editor instead of Notepad when editing the config file on Windows.

Configure the Proxy for Your Primary Authenticator

In this step, you'll set up the Proxy's primary authenticator — the system which will validate users' existing passwords. In most cases, this means configuring the Proxy to communicate with Active Directory or RADIUS.

Active Directory

To use Active Directory/LDAP as your primary authenticator, add an [ad_client] section to the top of your config file. Add the following properties to the section:

Required

host

The hostname or IP address of your domain controller.

service_account_username

The username of a domain account that has permission to bind to your directory and perform searches. We recommend creating a service account that has read-only access.

service_account_password

The password corresponding to service_account_username. If you're on Windows and would like to encrypt this password, see Encrypting Passwords in the full Authentication Proxy documentation.

search_dn

The LDAP distinguished name (DN) of an Active Directory container or organizational unit (OU) containing all of the users you wish to permit to log in. For example:

search_dn=DC=example,DC=com

Optional

host_2

The hostname or IP address of a secondary/fallback domain controller. You can add additional domain controllers as host_3, host_4, etc.

security_group_dn

To further restrict access, specify the LDAP distinguished name (DN) of a security group that contains the users who should be able to log in. Other users will not pass primary authentication. For example:

security_group_dn=CN=DuoVPNUsers,OU=Groups,DC=example,DC=com

For example:

[ad_client]
host=1.2.3.4
host_2=1.2.3.5
service_account_username=duoservice
service_account_password=password1
search_dn=DC=example,DC=com
security_group_dn=CN=DuoVPNUsers,OU=Groups,DC=example,DC=com

For advanced Active Directory configuration, see the full Authentication Proxy documentation.

RADIUS

To use RADIUS as your primary authenticator, add a [radius_client] section to the top of your config file. Then add the following properties to the section:

Required

host

The IP address of your RADIUS server. You can add backup servers with host_2, host_3, etc.

secret

A secret to be shared between the Authentication Proxy and your existing RADIUS server. If you're on Windows and would like to encrypt this secret, see Encrypting Passwords in the full Authentication Proxy documentation.

Optional

port

The authentication port on your RADIUS server. Use port_2, port_3, etc. to specify ports for the backup servers.

Default:1812

pass_through_all

If this option is set to true, all RADIUS attributes set by the primary authentication server will be copied into RADIUS responses sent by the proxy.

Default: false

For example:

[radius_client]
host=1.2.3.4
secret=radiusclientsecret

In addition, make sure that the RADIUS server is configured to accept authentication requests from the Authentication Proxy.

For advanced RADIUS configuration, see the full Authentication Proxy documentation.

Configure the Proxy for Your Cisco ASA IPSec VPN

Next, we'll set up the Authentication Proxy to work with your Cisco ASA IPSec VPN. Create a [radius_server_auto] section with the following properties:

Required

ikey

Your Duo integration key, obtained from the details page for the application in the Duo Admin Panel.

skey

Your Duo secret key, obtained from the details page for the application in the Duo Admin Panel. If you're on Windows and would like to encrypt the skey, see Encrypting Passwords in the full Authentication Proxy documentation.

api_host

Your Duo API hostname (e.g. api-XXXXXXXX.duosecurity.com), obtained from the details page for the application in the Duo Admin Panel.

radius_ip_1

The IP address of your Cisco ASA IPSec VPN. Only clients with configured addresses and shared secrets will be allowed to send requests to the Authentication Proxy.

radius_secret_1

A secret to be shared between the proxy and your Cisco ASA IPSec VPN. If you're on Windows and would like to encrypt this secret, see Encrypting Passwords in the full Authentication Proxy documentation.

client

The mechanism that the Authentication Proxy should use to perform primary authentication. This should correspond with a "client" section elsewhere in the config file.

ad_client

Use Active Directory for primary authentication. Make sure you have an [ad_client] section configured.

radius_client

Use RADIUS for primary authentication. Make sure you have a [radius_client] section configured.

duo_only_client

Do not perform primary authentication. Make sure you have a [duo_only_client] section configured.

This parameter is optional if you only have one "client" section. If you have multiple, each "server" section should specify which "client" to use.

Optional

port

Port on which to listen for incoming RADIUS Access Requests.

Default: 1812

failmode

Either safe or secure:

Failmode

Description

safe

In the event that Duo's service cannot be contacted, users' authentication attempts will be permitted if primary authentication succeeds.

secure

In the event that Duo's service cannot be contacted, all users' authentication attempts will be rejected.

Default: safe

radius_ip_2

The IP address of your second Cisco ASA IPSec VPN, if you have one. You can specify additional devices as as radius_ip_3, radius_ip_4, etc.

radius_secret_2

The secrets shared with your second Cisco ASA IPSec VPN, if using one. You can specify secrets for additional devices as radius_secret_3, radius_secret_4, etc. If you're on Windows and would like to encrypt this secret, see Encrypting Passwords in the full Authentication Proxy documentation.

A completed config file that uses Active Directory should look something like:

[ad_client]
host=1.2.3.4
service_account_username=duoservice
service_account_password=password1
search_dn=cn=Users,dc=example,dc=com
 
[radius_server_auto]
ikey=DIXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
skey=XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
api_host=api-XXXXXXXX.duosecurity.com
radius_ip_1=5.6.7.8
radius_secret_1=radiussecret1
client=ad_client
port=1812
failmode=safe

Make sure to save your configuration file when done.

Note

View video guides for proxy deployment at the Authentication Proxy Overview or see the Authentication Proxy Reference Guide for additional configuration options.

Start the Proxy

Open an Administrator command prompt and run:

net start DuoAuthProxy

Alternatively, open the Windows Services console (services.msc), locate "Duo Security Authentication Proxy Service" in the list of services, and click the Start Service button.

If the service starts successfully, Authentication Proxy service output is written to the authproxy.log file, which can be found in the log subdirectory.

If you see an error saying that the "service could not be started", open the Application Event Viewer and look for an Error from the source "DuoAuthProxy". The traceback may include a "ConfigError" that can help you find the source of the issue.

Stop and restart the Authentication Proxy service by either clicking the Restart Service button in the Windows Services console or issuing these commands from an Administrator command prompt:

net stop DuoAuthProxy & net start DuoAuthProxy

Open a root shell and run:

# /opt/duoauthproxy/bin/authproxyctl start

To ensure the proxy started successfully, run:

# /opt/duoauthproxy/bin/authproxyctl status

Authentication Proxy service output is written to the authproxy.log file, which can be found in the log subdirectory.

To stop and restart the Authentication Proxy, open a root shell and run:

# /opt/duoauthproxy/bin/authproxyctl restart

If you modify your authproxy.cfg configuration after initial setup, you'll need to stop and restart the Duo Authentication Proxy service or process for your change to take effect.

Configure Your Cisco ASA

  1. Log in to the Cisco ASA ASDM.
  2. Navigate to Configuration → Remote Access VPN in the left panel of the ASDM, and then go to Network (Client) Access → IPsec(IKEv1) Connection Profiles.

  3. Select your existing Connection Profile, and then click Edit. If you would prefer, you can also create a new Connection Profile if you would like to keep this separate for testing purposes.
  4. In the Edit IPsec Remote Access Connection Profile dialog, select the Basic tab.

  5. Under IKE Peer Authentication, enter a Pre-shared Key. This is a key which will be entered in each end-user's VPN client, so it should not be a sensitive password, but should be cryptographically strong, as this will be the key used to secure user's credentials in transit from their VPN client to the Cisco ASA.
  6. Under the User Authentication section, click Manage. This is where we will point the ASA towards the Duo Authentication Proxy you configured previously.
  7. Under AAA Server Groups, click Add. Enter a name for the new AAA Server Group, make sure the type is set to RADIUS, and then click OK.

  8. Make sure your new AAA Server Group is selected, and then click Add in the section below that titled Servers in the selected group.
  9. In the Add AAA Server dialog, enter the following information:

    Interface Name The ASA interface where your Duo Authentication Proxy can be reached
    Server Name or IP Address The hostname or IP address of your Duo Authentication Proxy
    Timeout 60 seconds should be sufficient to complete authentication; see the FAQ item about timeouts.
    Server Authentication Port 1812
    Server Accounting Port 1813 (Technically this setting does not matter because the Duo Authentication Proxy does not support RADIUS Accounting)
    Retry Interval 10 seconds
    Server Secret Key Shared Secret used in Authentication Proxy configuration
    Microsoft CHAPv2 Capable Unchecked

  10. Click OK, and then OK again.
  11. Next, select the PPP tab in the left panel, and make sure that PAP is the only authentication protocol selected.
  12. Under Client Address Assignment, click Select.

  13. Select the DHCP pool you wish to use, or create one if you haven't already, then click OK.
  14. Under the Default Group Policy section, select the policy you wish to use for this connection, and then make sure both Enable IPsec Protocol and Enable L2TP over IPsec Protocol are checked.
  15. Click OK to get back to the main ASDM configuration.

Configure the Client

The Cisco VPN client has to be configured properly for this configuration to work. The client first performs group authentication, using the name of the connection profile and the Pre-shared Key. This secret is used to encrypt the user's password in transit from their client to the ASA.

The VPN client first performs group authentication, using the name of the connection profile and the Pre-Shared Key (PSK) or Shared Secret. This secret is used to encrypt the user's password in transit from their client to the ASA. Once they have completed group authentication, it will then prompt them for their username and password, where they will complete primary authentication against your AD or RADIUS server. Once primary authentication has been completed, the Duo Authentication Proxy will handle secondary authentication through our service.

  1. Open the connection's properties and find the Authentication tab.
  2. Click the Group Authentication radio button.
  3. Type the name of the Connection Profile in the Name field.
  4. Type the shared secret (Pre-shared Key) for both password fields.
  5. Click Save to save your changes.

Test Your Setup

To test your setup, attempt to log in to your newly-configured system as a user enrolled in Duo with an authentication device.

When you enter your username and password, you will receive an automatic push or phone callback.

Alternatively you can add a comma (",") to the end of your password, followed by a Duo passcode. For example, given a username 'bob', with password 'password123' and a Duo passcode '123456', you would enter:

username: bob
password: password123,123456

In addition, you may also enter the name of an out-of-band factor in lieu of a passcode. You may choose from the following factor names:

push Perform Duo Push authentication
You can use Duo Push if you've installed and activated Duo Mobile on your device.
phone Perform phone callback authentication.
sms Send a new batch of SMS passcodes.
Your authentication attempt will be denied. You can then authenticate with one of the newly-delivered passcodes.

Returning to the previous example, if you wanted to use Duo Push (rather than a passcode) to authenticate, you would enter:

username: bob
password: password123,push

You can also specify a number after the factor name if you have more than one device enrolled (as the automatic push or phone call goes to the first capable device attached to a user). So you can enter phone2 or push2 if you have two phones enrolled and you want the authentication request to go to the second phone.

Troubleshooting

Need some help? Take a look at the Cisco Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page or try searching our Cisco Knowledge Base articles or Community discussions. For further assistance, contact Support.

Network Diagram

  1. Primary authentication initiated to Cisco ASA
  2. Cisco ASA sends authentication request to Duo Security’s authentication proxy
  3. Primary authentication using Active Directory or RADIUS
  4. Duo authentication proxy connection established to Duo Security over TCP port 443
  5. Secondary authentication via Duo Security’s service
  6. Duo authentication proxy receives authentication response
  7. Cisco ASA VPN access granted