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Deploying Cisco ASA AnyConnect Remote-Access SSL VPN Solutions

  • Sample Chapter is provided courtesy of Cisco Press.
  • Date: Oct 19, 2012.


  1. Deploying a Basic Cisco AnyConnect Full-Tunnel SSL VPN Solution

Chapter Description

This chapter shows how to deploy and manage client-based Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) virtual private networks (VPN) on Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) as the VPN gateway using AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client software.

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CCNP Security VPN 642-648 Quick Reference

CCNP Security VPN 642-648 Quick Reference

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As you’ll see, you can initiate a client-based SSL VPN session from a broad range of devices and operating systems that support the install of AnyConnect Client (desktops, laptops, mobile devices), as shown in Figure 3-1.

Figure 3-1

Figure 3-1 AnyConnect SSL VPN

Deploying a Basic Cisco AnyConnect Full-Tunnel SSL VPN Solution

Basic Cisco AnyConnect full-tunnel SSL VPN uses user authentication by username and password, provides IP address assignment to the client, and uses a basic access control policy. The client also authenticates the ASA with identity certificate-based authentication. Deployment tasks for this scenario are as follows:

  1. Configure the basic ASA SSL VPN gateway features.
  2. Configure local user authentication.
  3. Configure IPv4/IPv6 address assignment.
  4. Configure basic access control.
  5. Install the Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client.

Initially, AnyConnect was an SSL-only VPN client. Starting with Version 3.0, AnyConnect became a modular client with additional features (including IPsec IKEv2 VPN terminations on Cisco ASA), but it requires a minimum of ASA 8.4(1) and ASDM 6.4(1).

Configuring Basic Cisco ASA SSL VPN Gateway Features

To initially prepare the ASA for SSL VPN termination, complete the following steps:

  • STEP 1. Provision the ASA with an identity certificate. Your options are as follows:
    • Use a self-signed certificate.
    • Enroll ASA in Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) with Simple Certificate Enrollment Protocol (SCEP).
    • Enroll ASA in PKI with manual cut-and-paste method enrollment.

    To install a self-signed certificate using the ASDM, navigate to Configuration > Remote Access VPN > Certificate Management > Identity Certificates and click Add. Give the PKI trustpoint a name, choose Add a New Identity Certificate, check Generate Self-Signed Certificate, and then click Add Certificate. To configure a self-signed certificate via the command-line interface (CLI), use the following commands:

    ciscoasa(config)# crypto key generate rsa label SELF-SIGNED modulus 2048
    ciscoasa(config)# crypto ca trustpoint TEST-CA
    ciscoasa(config-ca-trustpoint)# id-usage ssl-ipsec
    ciscoasa(config-ca-trustpoint)# subject-name CN=cisco.com
    ciscoasa(config-ca-trustpoint)# enrollment self
    ciscoasa(config-ca-trustpoint)# keypair SELF-SIGNED
    ciscoasa(config)# crypto ca enroll TEST-CA noconfirm

    To enroll with SCEP by using the ASDM, navigate to same section as for self-signed certificates. Give the PKI trustpoint a name, choose Add a New Identity Certificate (do not check Generate Self-Signed Certificate), and click the Advanced button for enrollment options. From here, you have two options:

    • For SCEP enrollment, navigate to Enrollment Mode and choose the Request from a CA method and complete the URL (which is in the form http://IP_ADDRESS/certserv/mscep/mscep.dll). Navigate to SCEP Challenge Password and provide the challenge in case the certificate authority (CA) requires it.
    • For manual enrollment, navigate to Enrollment Mode and choose Request by Manual Enrollment. This requires an additional step: After the certificate is issued, it needs to be imported onto the ASA from a file. For this, select the created trustpoint and click Install. In the new window, choose Install from a File and provide the full path to the base64-encoded certificate.

    To configure SCEP enrollment via the CLI, use the following commands:

    ciscoasa(config)# crypto key generate rsa label SELF-SIGNED modulus 2048
    ciscoasa(config)# crypto ca trustpoint TEST-CA
    ciscoasa(config-ca-trustpoint)# id-usage ssl-ipsec
    ciscoasa(config-ca-trustpoint)# subject-name CN=cisco.com
    ciscoasa(config-ca-trustpoint)# enrollment url
    ciscoasa(config-ca-trustpoint)# keypair SELF-SIGNED
    ciscoasa(config)# crypto ca authenticate TEST-CA nointeractive
    ciscoasa(config)# crypto ca enroll TEST-CA
  • STEP 2. Load the AnyConnect image onto the ASA.
  • There are different AnyConnect web deployment packages (PKG files) for different client operating systems. Choose the one you need, download it from Cisco.com, and load it into ASA flash memory. To make the transfer using the ASDM, navigate to Tools > File Management.
  • STEP 3. Enable SSL VPN termination on desired interfaces.
  • To enable SSL using the ASDM, navigate to Configuration > Remote Access VPN > Network (Client) Access > AnyConnect Connection Profiles and check the Enable Cisco AnyConnect VPN Client Access on the Interfaces Selected in the Table Below check box. In the pop-up window, select the AnyConnect image. Choose Allow Access and, optionally, Enable DTLS for desired interfaces.
  • To enable SSL via the CLI, use the following commands:

    ciscoasa(config)# webvpn
    ciscoasa(config-webvpn)# enable outside
    ciscoasa(config-webvpn)# anyconnect enable
    ciscoasa(config-webvpn)# anyconnect image disk0:/ anyconnect-win-3.0.1047-k9.pkg 1
  • STEP 4. Configure and optionally tune SSL Transport Layer Security (TLS) settings. Here, you can tune SSL VPN by allowing only certain SSL/TLS versions and algorithms and by specifying the identity certificate used (if many exist). To configure it using the ASDM, navigate to Configuration > Remote Access VPN > Advanced > SSL Settings (see Figure 3-2).
    Figure 3-2

    Figure 3-2 SSL VPN Tuning

    To configure it via the CLI, use the following commands:

    ciscoasa(config)#ssl trust-point TEST-CA outside
    ciscoasa(config)# webvpn
    ciscoasa(config-webvpn)#ssl server-version tlsv1
    ciscoasa(config-webvpn)#ssl encryption aes128-sha1 aes256-sha1 3des-sha1 des-sha1

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