Mikrotik OpenVPN Server

The purpose of this post is to describe, step by step, my attempt to set up an OpenVPN server on a Mikrotik RouterBOARD 750 and create a working tunnel from an outside machine (AWS EC2 Windows Server 2008 R2) to this OpenVPN server so that an SMB server on the local network can be accessed from said outside machine. The following diagram gives an overview of the setup:

I am going to decribe how to:

  • generate certificates to be used with OpenVPN
  • set up OpenVPN server on Mikrotik router
  • set up a tunnel with OpenVPN client on Windows
I am not going to describe the following:
  • setting up and connecting to an EC2 Windows instance
  • setting up a Samba Server
A few things worth mentioning about Mikrotik OpenVPN server implementation (that will likely bite if not known in advance):
  • only supports TCP mode, UDP is not supported
  • username/password pair is also required even though certificates are being used for authentication

Generate certificates to be used with OpenVPN

root@inhouse-debian:~# apt-get install openvpn
root@inhouse-debian:~# mkdir ovpn-cert
root@inhouse-debian:~# cd ovpn-cert/
root@inhouse-debian:~/ovpn-cert# cp -r /usr/share/doc/openvpn/examples/easy-rsa/2.0/* .
root@inhouse-debian:~/ovpn-cert# emacs vars
In the file vars I set the following values:
export KEY_PROVINCE="Etela-Suomi"
export KEY_CITY="Kotka"
export KEY_ORG="Async.fi"
export KEY_EMAIL="joni.kahara@async.fi"
export KEY_CN="kahara.dyndns.org"
export KEY_NAME="kahara.dyndns.org"
export KEY_OU="kahara.dyndns.org"
If I have understood correctly, of these only CN (Common Name) is obligatory. I may be wrong. Anyway, continuing:
root@inhouse-debian:~/ovpn-cert# source vars
root@inhouse-debian:~/ovpn-cert# ./clean-all
root@inhouse-debian:~/ovpn-cert# ./build-ca
root@inhouse-debian:~/ovpn-cert# ./build-key-server kahara.dyndns.org
root@inhouse-debian:~/ovpn-cert# openssl rsa -in keys/kahara.dyndns.org.key -out keys/kahara.dyndns.org.pem
root@inhouse-debian:~/ovpn-cert# ./build-key ec2 
root@inhouse-debian:~/ovpn-cert# apt-get install ncftp
root@inhouse-debian:~/ovpn-cert# ncftpput -u admin / keys/kahara.dyndns.org.crt keys/kahara.dyndns.org.pem keys/ca.crt

Set up OpenVPN server on Mikrotik router

All the stuff here can also be made through Mikrotik's admin interface; textual form without screen shots is used just to keep thing terse.
root@inhouse-debian:~/ovpn-cert# ssh admin@
[admin@MikroTik] > /certificate
[admin@MikroTik] /certificate> import file=kahara.dyndns.org.crt
[admin@MikroTik] /certificate> import file=kahara.dyndns.org.pem
[admin@MikroTik] /certificate> import file=ca.crt
[admin@MikroTik] /certificate> decrypt
[admin@MikroTik] /certificate> ..
[admin@MikroTik] > /interface bridge add name=ovpn-bridge
[admin@MikroTik] > /interface bridge port add interface=ether2-master-local bridge=ovpn-bridge
[admin@MikroTik] > /ip address add address= interface=ovpn-bridge 
[admin@MikroTik] > /ip pool add name=ovpn-pool ranges=
[admin@MikroTik] > /ppp profile add bridge=ovpn-bridge name=ovpn-profile remote-address=ovpn-pool
[admin@MikroTik] > /ppp secret add service=ovpn local-address= name=user1 password=pass1 profile=ovpn-profile
[admin@MikroTik] > /interface ovpn-server server set auth=sha1,md5 certificate=cert1 cipher=blowfish128,aes128,aes192,aes256 default-profile=ovpn-profile enabled=yes keepalive-timeout=disabled max-mtu=1500 mode=ethernet netmask=24 port=1194 require-client-certificate=yes
[admin@MikroTik] > /ip firewall filter add action=accept chain=input disabled=no protocol=tcp dst-port=1194
[admin@MikroTik] > /ip firewall filter move 5 destination=1
That last step moves the new rule to the front of the chain; numbers ("5", "1") will likely be something else on your configuration. Firewall rule listing can be printed with the following command:
[admin@MikroTik] > /ip firewall filter print

Setup up a tunnel with OpenVPN client on Windows

After installing OpenVPN, create a config file for it. Here it's called "kahara.dyndns.org.ovpn":
dev tap
proto tcp
remote kahara.dyndns.org 1194
resolv-retry infinite
ca ca.crt
cert ec2.crt
key ec2.key
verb 3
auth-user-pass userpass.txt
Also, create a file called "userpass.txt" and put the following to it:
Of course in an IRL situation one should use a real password. Make sure you copied the .crt and .key files over to the Windows machine, after which you can run OpenVPN client with:
PS C:\Users\Administrator\Desktop> openvpn.exe .\kahara.dyndns.org.ovpn
And here we have an EC2 client connected to a local SMB resource over the tunnel:

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Windows Server 2008 R2 on Amazon EC2

Plan to use an in-house box to run a XenServer to host XP instances (I need multiple Windows desktops for "testing" purposes if anyone asks) had to be scrapped because the box was simply too loud and I couldn't get the wireless bridge to work – not that the latter would have helped anyway because like I said the box really is loud and relocating it anywhere inside our flat just wouldn't lower the noise level enough for it to not disturb sleep. Which brings us here: launching a Windows Server 2008 R2 instance on Amazon EC2 and setting up Remote Desktop Services to enable multiple simultaneous client sessions. Below we can see Alice, Bob, Charlie and Dave each happily running their own Remote Desktop session at the same time:   The whole thing runs "tolerably" smoothly even on the severely memory-limited Micro Instace: At $0.035 per hour this can be considered cheap. And, the server can be shut down when it's not needed in which case the only charge will be for the admittedly humonguos (35 gigabytes) Windows root partition. And of course those clients would need Client Access Licenses which adds a one time cost of roughly $100 per client. Now, to directly compare this kind of setup with having an actual physical server would indicate poor judgement as both have their strong and weak points but costs can be compared. So here we have an estimate of what the total cost of running a server like this for a three-year period would be, sans CALs:
On-Demand EC2 Reserved EC2 (1-year Contract) Reserved EC2 (3-year Contract)
One-time costs $0.00 $54.00 $82.00
Compute $922.32 $421.56 $421.56
Storage (35 GB) $138.60 $138.60 $138.60
I/O (10 IOPS) $103.00 $103.00 $103.00
Transfer In (1 GB/m) $3.60 $3.60 $3.60
Transfer Out (10 GB/m) $48.60 $48.60 $48.60
Total Cost (Euros) 849.69 € 613.00 € 557.11 €
Per Month (Euros) 23.60 € 17.03 € 15.48 €
Source: http://calculator.s3.amazonaws.com/calc5.html Then again, that 600 € would get you two HP Proliant MicroServers. Yet, then again, that price does not include Windows licenses and they would need a physical location, electricity, an Internet connection – an so on.

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