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How to protect public and private keys

Posted on 2008-10-30
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Last Modified: 2012-05-05
Hi there,

I've recently set up open vpn.

On my windows box (the client) I have put a ca.crt and client1.crt and client1.key into the config directory. These keys were made on a totally seperate server (different from the openVPN server).

If someone got a hold of my ca.crt, what would stop them from creating their own client keys on a server of their own, and using them to connect to my vpn?

Cheers
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Question by:jonnytabpni
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by:rpkhare
ID: 22848226
It is recommended to keep the Private Keys on a separate disk like USB Drives etc. But why you want to protect the Public Keys?
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Author Comment

by:jonnytabpni
ID: 22848233
can't someone just create their own private keys themselves?

All I had to do was use easy-rsa and run ./build-key client1

Is ca.crt a public or private key?
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Expert Comment

by:rpkhare
ID: 22848247
Even if someone creates a private key, they will not be able to decrypt. Creation of keys includes randomly generated data which is continuously refreshed. It will always be unique.
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Author Comment

by:jonnytabpni
ID: 22848256
I'm really sorry but my knowledge of PKI is very bad!

I understand that no one will be able to decrypt unless they use the correct private key.

But my question is that, if someone creates their own private key, will they be able to connect to the vpn and use my resources?
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rpkhare earned 500 total points
ID: 22848291
I have no knowledge of VPN. But in case your VPN requires your Private Key for login then no other private key will work.
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Author Comment

by:jonnytabpni
ID: 22848302
hmm that's the thing I'm not sure about. I generated all my certs and keys on a totaly seperate server.

The openVPN server didn't have an option to specify *which* private keys are allowed..
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Expert Comment

by:rpkhare
ID: 22848318
Here you can find how it works:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenVPN
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