Connecting the world…


Import PKCS12 certificate on IOS router

Nowadays IOS routers can be configured with WebVPN (Clientless SSL VPN) functionalities. WebVPN allows a user to securely access resources on the corporate LAN from anywhere with an SSL-enabled Web browser. To secure the connection you should use a SSL certificate to encrypt all transferred data. There are different ways of creating and importing SSL certificates on an IOS router, but I always use the same method:

  1. 1. I generate a CSR and private key on my own laptop with Cygwin and OpenSSL;
  2. 2. I sent the CSR to a CA for signing, like VeriSign or GeoTrust;
  3. 3. I create a PKCS12 certificate with the signed cert and the private key;
  4. 4. Import the PKCS12 certificate on the router;

With this procedure I always have the “real” certificate, and all related files, on my own laptop for backup purposes. Mostly you can also generate a CSR on an appliance and import the signed certificate to the appliance and you are also done. But sometimes you don’t have the opportunity to export the certificate for backup purposes. So what if the appliance crashes or needs to be replaced?

Now I will show you how to import the PKCS12 to an IOS router. First we need to create a trustpoint on the router. The trustpoint contains the certificate authority that signed the certificate in use.

router(config)#crypto pki trustpoint trustpoint_www
router(ca-trustpoint)#revocation-check crl
router(ca-trustpoint)#rsakeypair trustpoint_www

Next I will import the certificate. There are multiple ways for importing the certificate, but I just use TFTP to transfer the certificate from my laptop to the router.

router(config)#crypto ca import trustpoint_www pkcs12 tftp: passphrase
% Importing pkcs12…
Address or name of remote host []?
Source filename [trustpoint_home]? www-booches-nl.pfx
Reading file from tftp://
Loading www-booches-nl.pfx from (via BVI1): !
[OK – 2629 bytes]

CRYPTO_PKI: Imported PKCS12 file successfully.

The certificate is now successfully imported into the router and can be associated with the WebVPN configuration. Useful commands to verify your trustpoints and certificates are:

show crypto pki certificates
show crypto pki trustpoints

ID Control

Ictivity received via via an e-mail about strong authentication products from ID Control. Strong authentication is authentication were you need multiple factors (what you have, what you know, what you are) to actual authenticate to a system, network or something else. We, as Connectivity Consultant, were asked to look at the different products and start a discussion about these products. Are they interesting for us or some of our customers??

The main focus is on three different authentication products. In this post you can read MY OPINION about the three different authentication items.


HandyID is the leading mobile authentication method which provides a One Time Password (OTP) token-based, two-factor authentication solution on your mobile phone (handy), PDA, Blackberry and/or smart phone. HandyID turns your mobile device into a hardware token enabling a cost-effective, easy, convenient and user-friendly strong authentication solution for online banking, government and ecommerce. In combination with ID Control Server the set up and deployment is easy and fast.

Reading the text above I am thinking what HandyID brings extra in comparison to tokens like the ones from RSA. In my opinion I only see disadvantages. According to ID Control, you can use HandyID on every mobile device. I will not run it on my device, because the Nokia I am using isn’t that stable. I see crashing mobile phones, mobile phones with empty batteries and no charger nearby. I see incompatibilities with some tropical applications. In general, I like the concept of HandyID, but I would prefer a decent token from RSA (RSA SecurID).


KeystrokeID is the biometric solution based on behaviour traits that are acquired over a certain time period the user is typing on his or her keyboard (versus a physiological characteristic or physical trait). KeystrokeID monitors and analyses all keyboard behaviour performed by the user during his/her access. Based on this keystroke behaviour performed in comparison to the user’s normal behaviour access is granted when this user is also authorized.

Huh?? So reading this, the keyboard is learning the way you type and grants you access on that process. Sounds cool, but again I see a lot of customers having problems accessing the stuff they would like to access. I can image that KeystrokeID would work for a private secretary who finds the keys blindly on the keyboard, but what about people who cannot type that well and what when you are typing at night in bed, without decent light. I guess you won’t type the same as during normal day time. Summarizing, I would advise OUR customers to use KeystrokeID, because I THINK that the product brings more authentication problems than solving authentication problems.

USB Token

ID Control’s USB Token is a portable end-user authentication token that can replace user name and password for workstation, website, VPN, file, email, network, file and/or disk access security. ID Control USB Token plugs into any standard USB port and can even run without any software.

After reading the documentation about USB Token, I definitely imagine advising USB Token to customers and even use one for my own. The USB Tokens ease of use looks really better in comparison to smart-cards or biometrics. Nowadays USB keys are common usage and the price for USB keys won’t be that high. Another advantage of the USB Token is that you only need an enabled USB port on a workstation and that’s it. For smart-cards and biometrics, you normally need extra equipment before you can actually use the smart-cards.

The USB Token can be used for different reasons like Secure VPN Authentication, File and Disk Encryption, Web (Application) Sign-on, Secure Password Manager, Computer and Network Sign-on, Email Encryption & Signing and PKI. I would definitely use the USB Token for File and Disk Encryption and Secure Password Manager. In my line of work and our customers, I can also imagine using the USB Token for Secure VPN Authentication.