strongSwan - Design by Margo Galas <galas (at) solnet (dot) ch>

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Hochschule für Technik Rapperswil

strongSwan 5.1.0 Released

We are proud to release strongSwan 5.1.0, which brings many new and improved features and fixes a DoS vulnerability.


Denial-of-Service Vulnerability (CVE-2013-5018)

A denial-of-service vulnerability was fixed that could be triggered by special XAuth usernames and EAP identities (affected by this are 5.0.3 and 5.0.4), and local PEM files (all versions since 4.1.11).

More information is provided in a separate blog entry.

Easy-to-Use charon-cmd Command-Line IKE Client

The new charon-cmd command line IKE client can establish road warrior connections using IKEv1 or IKEv2 with different authentication profiles. It does not depend on any configuration files (no ipsec.conf nor ipsec.secrets but may use strongswan.conf options) and can be configured using a few simple command line options.

Support of PKCS#12 Private Key/Certificate Container Format

Extraction of certificates and private keys from PKCS#12 file is now provided by the new pkcs12 plugin or the openssl plugin. charon-cmd (--p12) as well as charon (via P12 token in ipsec.secrets) can make use of this new functionality.

Support of ssh-agent and other Public Key Formats

The sshkey plugin parses SSH public keys, which, together with the --agent option for charon-cmd, allows the use of ssh-agent for authentication.

To configure SSH public keys in ipsec.conf the left|rightrsasigkey options are replaced with left|rightsigkey, which now take public keys in one of three formats: SSH (RFC 4253, ssh: prefix), DNSKEY (RFC 3110, dns: prefix), PKCS#1 (the default, no prefix).

Trusted Network Connect (TNC) Policy Manager Interface

Using a SQL database interface, a TNC Policy Manager can generate specific measurement workitems for an arbitrary number of
Integrity Measurement Verifiers (IMVs), based on the history of the individual VPN users and/or client devices. 

We are currently working on the documentation and some demo examples for the new Python/Django-based strongTNC Policy Manager Tool implemented by the HSR students Stefan Rohner and Marco Tanner as part of their Bachelor Thesis.

IPsec ESP Userland Encryption with libipsec

The new kernel-libipsec plugin uses TUN devices and libipsec to provide IPsec processing in userland on Linux, FreeBSD and Mac OS X.

libipsec now supports AES-GCM, which will be automatically accelerated if the openssl plugin detects the Intel AES NI instruction set. Thus, libipsec is ideally suited for Suite B compliance on Mac OS X where the kernel does not offer ESP AES-GCM support.

Improvements for Mac OS X and FreeBSD

The kernel-pfroute networking backend has been greatly improved. It now can install virtual IPs on TUN devices on Mac OS X and FreeBSD, allowing these systems to act as client in common road warrior scenarios.

The new osx-attr plugin installs configuration attributes (currently DNS servers) via SystemConfiguration on Mac OS X. The keychain plugin provides certificates from the Mac OS X keychain service.

Other Notable Changes

  • The eap-radius plugin can now serve as an XAuth backend called xauth-radius, directly verifying XAuth credentials using RADIUS User-Name/User-Password attributes.
  • IKEv2 can now negotiate transport mode and IPComp in NAT situations.
  • IKEv2 exchange initiators now properly close an established IKE or CHILD_SA on error conditions using an additional exchange, keeping state in sync between peers.
  • Protocol and port can be specified for each individual subnet specified with the left|rightsubnet ipsec.conf options.
  • The closeaction option is now also supported for IKEv1.
  • The leak-detective developer tool has been improved. It works much faster and more stable with multiple threads, does not use deprecated malloc hooks anymore and has been ported to Mac OS X.
  • chunk_hash() is now based on SipHash-2-4 with a random key. This provides better distribution and prevents hash flooding attacks when used with hashtables.
  • All default plugins implement the get_features() method to define features and their dependencies. The plugin loader has been improved, so that plugins in a custom load statement can be ordered freely or to express preferences without being affected by dependencies between plugin features.
  • A centralized thread can take care of watching multiple file descriptors concurrently. This removes the need for dedicated listener threads in various plugins. The number of "reserved" threads for such tasks has been reduced to about five, depending on the plugin configuration.
  • Plugins that can be controlled by a UNIX socket IPC mechanism gained network transparency. Third party applications querying these plugins now can use TCP connections from a different host.
  • Several core classes in libstrongswan are now tested with unit tests.

Download it from here - a more extensive changelog can be found on our wiki.