Always On VPN Continue Connecting Prompt

Using the Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP) with client certificates is the recommended best practice for authentication for Windows 10 Always On VPN deployments. EAP, and especially Protected EAP (PEAP), has a lot of settings to configure and it is not uncommon to encounter issues related to some parameters being defined incorrectly. This post covers one of the more common issues related to EAP/PEAP misconfiguration.

Action Needed?

When establishing an Always On VPN user tunnel connection, users may find the connection does not complete automatically, and they are informed that additional action is needed.

Clicking on the VPN connection and then clicking Connect prompts the user with the following message.

“Action needed. Continue connecting? We don’t have enough info to validate the server. You can still connect if you trust this server.”

Common Causes

This message can occur when (EAP) is used and is configured to perform server validation with a restricted set of NPS servers, as shown here.

NPS Server Certificate

The NPS server performing authentication for the connection request must have a certificate that includes a subject name that matches one of the names of the NPS servers defined in the EAP configuration. The certificate must be issued by the organizations private certification authority (CA).

EAP Configuration

Alternatively, the client-side EAP configuration may be incorrect. Although the NPS server may have the correct hostname configured on its certificate, it may not be entered correctly on the client. Ensure the hostname listed in the “Connect to these servers” field matches the subject name or SAN of the NPS server certificate defined in the network policy used for the Always On VPN user tunnel. Look carefully at the syntax when defining multiple NPS servers. Multiple servers are separated by a semi-colon and there are no additional spaces. Missing either one of these critical details will result in connection prompts. Also, ensure that all NPS servers used for authentication (those defined on the VPN server) are included in this list.

Note: Administrators must ensure that all VPN clients have updated their EAP configuration before adding additional NPS servers to the environment. Failure to do so will result in connection prompts.

Security Best Practice

To be clear, the behavior above is not ideal from a security perspective. Validating the NPS server before authenticating is crucial to ensuring the highest level of security and assurance, preventing credential theft from a man-in-the-middle attack. For this reason, it is recommended that users not be given the choice to authorize an NPS server. Authorized NPS servers should be defined by administrators exclusively. This is accomplished by selecting the option “Don’t ask user to authorize new servers or trusted CAs” in the Notifications before connecting drop-down list, and by selecting the option “Don’t prompt user to authorize new servers or trusted certification authorities“.

Additional Information

Always On VPN Network Policy Server (NPS) Load Balancing

Always On VPN and Windows Server 2019 NPS Bug

Troubleshooting Always On VPN Error 691 and 812 – Part 3

Troubleshooting Always On VPN Error 691 and 812 – Part 2When implementing Windows 10 Always On VPN, administrators may encounter errors 691 or 812 when establishing a VPN connection. There are several different configuration issues that will result in these errors. For example they may occur when TLS 1.0 has been disabled on the RRAS server when installed on servers prior to Windows Server 2016. It can also happen if a user’s Active Directory account is configured to deny dial-in access and the NPS server is not configured to ignore user account dial-in properties. Another scenario that can result in 691/812 errors is when the Active Directory security groups are configured as conditions on the Network Policy Server (NPS) Network Policy. See below for more details.

SSTP and Error 691

When attempting to establish an Always On VPN connection using the Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol (SSTP), administrators may encounter the following error message.

“The remote connection was denied because the user name and password combination you provided is not recognized, or the selected authentication protocol is not permitted on the remote access server.”

Troubleshooting Always On VPN Error 691 and 812 – Part 2

In addition, an error 691 with event ID 20227 from the RasClient source can be found in the Application event log on the client.

“The user <domain\user> dialed a connection named which has failed. The error code returned on failure is 691.”

Troubleshooting Always On VPN Error 691 and 812 – Part 2

IKEv2 and Error 812

When attempting to establish an Always On VPN connection using Internet Key Exchange version 2 (IKEv2), administrators may encounter the following error message.

“The connection as prevented because of a policy configured on your RAS/VPN server. Specifically, the authentication method used by the server to verify your username and password may not match the authentication method configured in your connection profile. Please contact the Administrator of the RAS server and notify them of this error.”

Troubleshooting Always On VPN Error 691 and 812 – Part 2

In addition, an error 812 with event ID 20227 from the RasClient source can be found in the Application event log on the client.

Troubleshooting Always On VPN Error 691 and 812 – Part 2

NPS Event Log

On the NPS server the administrator will find an entry in the application event log with event ID 6273 from the Microsoft Windows security auditing source and the Network Policy Server task category indicating the network policy server denied access to the user. Looking closely at this event log message shows Reason Code 48 and the following reason.

“The connection request did not match any configured network policy.”

Troubleshooting Always On VPN Error 691 and 812 – Part 2Group Membership

As stated earlier, another scenario in which administrators will encounter errors 691 and/or 812 is when the Network Policy on the NPS server is configured incorrectly. Specifically, and administrator may wish to grant access to more than one group but intend for access to be granted to users who are a member of any of them. Conversely, they may wish to require access in all specified groups to gain access to the VPN. Configuring each of these conditions is subtly different, however.

Open the NPS management console on the NPS server and follow the steps below to configure user group conditions correctly for the following scenarios.

Any Group

1. Right-click the Always On VPN network policy and choose Properties.
2. Click on the Conditions tab.
3. Click the Add button.
4. Click User Groups.
5. Click Add.
6. Click Add Groups.
7. Enter the name of the group you want to grant access to.
8. Click Ok.
9. Repeat the steps 6-8 above to specify additional groups.

Troubleshooting Always On VPN Errors 691 and 812

All Groups

1. Right-click the Always On VPN network policy and choose Properties.
2. Click on the Conditions tab.
3. Click the Add button.
4. Click User Groups.
5. Click Add.
6. Click Add Groups.
7. Enter the name of the group you want to grant access to.
8. Click Ok.
9. Repeat steps 3-8 above to specify additional groups (you must go back to the Add button on step 3!).

Troubleshooting Always On VPN Errors 691 and 812

Additional Information

Troubleshooting Always On VPN Error 691 and 812 – Part 1

Troubleshooting Always On VPN Error 691 and 812 – Part 2

Always On VPN Device Tunnel Only Deployment Considerations

Always On VPN Device Tunnel Only Deployment ConsiderationsRecently I wrote about Windows 10 Always On VPN device tunnel operation and best practices, explaining its common uses cases and requirements, as well as sharing some detailed information about authentication, deployment recommendations, and best practices. I’m commonly asked if deploying Always On VPN using the device tunnel exclusively, as opposed to using it to supplement the user tunnel, is supported or recommended. I’ll address those topics in detail here.

Device Tunnel Only?

To start, yes, it is possible to deploy Windows 10 Always On VPN using only the device tunnel. In this scenario the administrator will configure full access to the network instead of limited access to domain infrastructure services and management servers.

Is It Recommended?

Generally, no. Remember, the device tunnel was designed with a specific purpose in mind, that being to provide pre-logon network connectivity to support scenarios such as logging on without cached credentials. Typically, the device tunnel is best used for its intended purpose, which is providing supplemental functionality to the user tunnel.

Deployment Considerations

The choice to implement Always On VPN using only the device tunnel is an interesting one. There are some potential advantages to this deployment model, but it is not without some serious limitations. Below I’ve listed some of the advantages and disadvantages to deploying the device tunnel alone for Windows 10 Always On VPN.

Advantages

Using the device tunnel alone does have some compelling advantages over the standard two tunnel (device tunnel/user tunnel) deployment model. Consider the following.

  • Single VPN Connection – Deploying the device tunnel alone means a single VPN connection to configure, deploy, and manage on the client. This also results in less concurrent connections and, importantly, less IP addresses to allocate and provision.
  • Reduced Infrastructure – The device tunnel is authenticated using only the device certificate. This certificate check is performed directly on the Windows Server Routing and Remote Access Service (RRAS) VPN server, eliminating the requirement to deploy Network Policy Server (NPS) servers for authentication.
  • User Transparency – The device tunnel does not appear in the modern Windows UI. The user will not see this connection if they click on the network icon in the notification area. In addition, they will not see the device tunnel connection in the settings app under Network & Internet > VPN. This prevents casual users from playing with the connection settings, and potentially deleting the connection entirely. It’s not that they can’t delete the device tunnel however, it’s just not as obvious.
  • Simplified Deployment – Deploying the device tunnel is less complicated than deploying the user tunnel. The device tunnel is provisioned once to the device and available to all users. This eliminates the complexity of having to deploy the user tunnel in each individual user’s profile.

Disadvantages

While there are some advantages to using the device tunnel by itself, this configuration is not without some serious limitations. Consider the following.

  • IKEv2 Only – The device tunnel uses the IKEv2 VPN protocol exclusively. It does not support SSTP. While IKEv2 is an excellent protocol in terms of security, it is commonly blocked by firewalls. This will prevent some users from accessing the network remotely depending on their location.
  • Limited OS Support – The device tunnel is only supported on Windows 10 Enterprise edition clients, and those clients must be joined to a domain. Arguably the device tunnel wouldn’t be necessary if the client isn’t domain joined, but some organizations have widely deployed Windows 10 Professional, which would then preclude them from being able to use the device tunnel.
  • Machine Certificate Authentication Only – The device tunnel is authenticated using only the certificate issued to the device. This means anyone who logs on to the device will have full access to the internal network. This may or may not be desirable, depending on individual requirements.
  • No Mutual Authentication – When the device tunnel is authenticated, the server performs authentication of the client, but the client does not authenticate the server. The lack of mutual authentication increases the risk of a man-in-the-middle attack.
  • CRL Checks Not Enforced – By default, RRAS does not perform certificate revocation checking for device tunnel connections. This means simply revoking a certificate won’t prevent the device from connecting. You’ll have to import the client’s device certificate into the Untrusted Certificates certificate store on each VPN server. Fortunately, there is a fix available to address this limitation, but it involves some additional configuration. See Always On VPN Device Tunnel and Certificate Revocation for more details.
  • No Support for Azure Conditional Access – Azure Conditional Access requires EAP authentication. However, the device tunnel does not use EAP but instead uses a simple device certificate check to authenticate the device.
  • No Support for Multifactor Authentication – As the device tunnel is authenticated by the RRAS VPN server directly and authentication requests are not sent to the NPS server, it is not possible to integrate MFA with the device tunnel.
  • Limited Connection Visibility – Since the device tunnel is designed for the device and not the user it does not appear in the list of active network connections in the Windows UI. There is no user-friendly connection status indicator, although the connection can be viewed using the classic network control panel applet (ncpa.cpl).

Summary

The choice to deploy Windows 10 Always On VPN using the device tunnel alone, or in conjunction with the user tunnel, is a design choice that administrators must make based on their individual requirements. Using the device tunnel alone is supported and works but has some serious drawbacks and limitations. The best experience will be found using the device tunnel as it was intended, as an optional component to provide pre-logon connectivity for an existing Always On VPN user tunnel.

Additional Information

Windows 10 Always On VPN Device Tunnel with Azure VPN Gateway

Windows 10 Always On VPN Device Tunnel and Certificate Revocation

Windows 10 Always On VPN Device Tunnel Configuration with Microsoft Intune

Windows 10 Always On VPN Device Tunnel Does Not Connect Automatically

Windows 10 Always On VPN Device Tunnel Missing in Windows 10 UI

Deleting a Windows 10 Always On VPN Device Tunnel

Windows 10 Always On VPN Device Tunnel Configuration using PowerShell

Windows 10 Always On VPN IKEv2 Features and Limitations

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