eduVPN 2.0 Server

2019-04-01

Today eduVPN 2.0 server has been released. This new server version has been engineered to be more robust. Based on experiences in the field, like how we managed group-membership, we have decided to change a few components. The current eduVPN client apps (Windows, macOS, Android, iOS) are fully compatible with the new server.

Two factor (2FA) authentication has been moved from the VPN-layer to the authentication layer, e.g. SAML, LDAP. 2FA will be part of the authentication flow, so whenever a new device wants to get access to the VPN, the second factor must be provided. Furthermore it is possible to configure an "expiry", which means the user will need to authenticate, and thus provide their 2FA periodically. The main reason to do this is to no longer depend on the VPN technology itself to provide support for 2FA and to have the ability to use other 2FA mechanisms, like 3rd party 2FA services and U2F/FIDO2/WebAuthn in the future.

eduVPN supports user-groups. Basically you can configure a VLAN/IP range and specific VPN session time per user group. For example a group for sysadmins with network access to consoles of servers, and a normal user group with limited access. Users can join multiple groups. Per group a profile will be shown in the eduVPN client. With the eduVPN 1.x server we were using VOOT and LDAP for group membership. The VOOT protocol allowed us to dynamically query which groups an user has. So the eduVPN server had direct awareness if an user was added or removed to a certain group. Unfortunately we found out VOOT doesn't and didn't gain enough traction in the international NREN community. To convey authorization information for access to VPN profiles, we decided to use LDAP / SAML attributes. For example the memberOf, eduPersonEntitlement or eduPersonAffiliation attributes. This means eduVPN server only retrieves group membership information after IdP login. Since we moved 2FA to the browser, the 2FA trigger is a re-login too and will refresh group membership information.

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