Engineer from Télécom Paris
Ph.D Thesis from UPMC

Network & Security IT - MI
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Split tunneling with Cisco VPN software

Enabling split tunneling with Cisco IPsec VPN client software on Linux, even if it is forbidden by the VPN concentrator !

patch for vpnclient-linux-x86_64- vpnclient-linux-x86_64-
Platform : Linux kernel module
Documentation : Split tunneling on the client side of a VPN tunnel is a potential security flaw. For instance, viruses can propagate easily from the public client LAN to the private internal area at the other end of the VPN tunnel. On Cisco routers and VPN concentrators, the client IPsec software is informed by the IPsec concentrator to enable or not split tunneling. The default concentrator configuration is to disable split tunneling on the client host.
Since this configuration is only enforced by the client software, a VPN administrator should not rely on the concentrator configuration. One may think it is far difficult to modify the client software, but in fact, it is very simple: for technical reasons dealing with the too many linux kernel versions available, Cisco systematically includes the sources of the kernel module in the vpnclient linux distribution. The user-space daemon is only distributed in binary format, and this is this daemon that decides or not to enable split tunneling. But the daemon makes use of the kernel module to apply this policy, so you just need to modify the kernel sources to enable split tunneling even if the user-space daemon does not want it ! More over, it is sufficient to add only one line in the linux kernel module sources to enable split tunneling. This patch, named vpnclient-linux-x86_64-, enables split tunneling on a client host, even if the concentrator uses the default configuration.
This patch works the following way: So, to use the patch, you only need to perform "ifdown eth1; ifup eth1" just after having set up the VPN. Any host that is not on eth1 will be reached by the VPN tunnel, and hosts on eth1 will be reached directly.

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