Always On VPN and Blast-RADIUS

Microsoft released an update for the Windows Server Network Policy Server (NPS) to address recently disclosed vulnerabilities in the Remote Access Dial-In User Service (RADIUS) protocol in the July 2024 security updates. RADIUS is an industry-standard authentication protocol widely used for remote access, including Always On VPN. The RADIUS protocol was first introduced in the early 1990s and, unfortunately, still relies on the deprecated MD5 cryptographic hash function. The good news is that this vulnerability does not affect Always On VPN. Read on to learn more.


Blast-RADIUS is an attack on the RADIUS protocol that allows an attacker to alter network authentication packets to gain access to a service relying on RADIUS for authentication by exploiting the weakness of MD5 integrity checks in RADIUS. In the absence other controls, an attacker could alter an authentication response and change the reply from Access-Reject to Access-Accept.


It’s important to note that leveraging this attack is not trivial. It requires local network access, so the attacker must have a presence on the target network to carry out this attack. However, cloud-hosted RADIUS services are inherently more vulnerable. In addition, the attack is mostly academic today because the default timeout for authentication requests is typically short, usually between 5 and 30 seconds. This is not enough time (today) for an attacker to mount the attack. However, this attack could become more feasible if authentication timeouts are increased (sometimes required to support MFA) or if an attacker has access to vast computing resources.

Affected Protocols

Although Blast-RADIUS is a vulnerability in the RADIUS protocol itself, not all authentication protocols are affected. Specifically, this vulnerability affects services leveraging PAP, CHAP, MS-CHAP, and MS-CHAPv2. Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP) and Protected Extensible Authentication Protocol (PEAP) are not vulnerable to this attack. Since Always On VPN requires EAP authentication, it is not susceptible to this attack.


Microsoft has published guidance in KB5040268 for mitigating Blast-RADIUS attacks on Windows NPS servers. Specifically, administrators are encouraged to enable the Message-Authenticator attribute in Access-Request packets sent by the network access server and to ensure the NPS server requires the Message-Authenticator attribute in any Access-Request messages it receives.

Note: The following changes are not required for Always On VPN or any other workload using EAP-TLS or Protected EAP, as these protocols use TLS natively to protect the authentication exchange.


To configure this setting in the UI, open the NPS management console (nps.msc) and perform the following steps.

  1. Expand RADIUS Clients and Servers.
  2. Highlight RADIUS Clients.
  3. Right-click the RADIUS client to configure and choose Properties.
  4. Select the Advanced tab.
  5. Check the box next to Access-Request messages must contain the Message-Authenticator attribute.


To configure this setting using PowerShell, open an elevated PowerShell command window and run the following command.

Set-NpsRadiusClient -Name <RADIUS client name> -AuthAttributeRequired $True

Additional NPS Settings

Administrators should also run the following commands on their NPS servers to further protect their infrastructure from Blast-RADIUS attacks.

netsh.exe nps set limitproxystate all = enable

netsh.exe nps set requiremsgauth all = enable


When using Windows Server Routing and Remote Access (RRAS) without EAP, ensure the RADIUS server configuration always includes the Message-Authenticator. To configure this setting, open the Routing and Remote Access console (rrasmgmt.msc) on the RRAS server and perform the following steps.

  1. Right-click the VPN server and choose Properties.
  2. Select the Security tab.
  3. Click the Configure button next to the Authentication provider drop-down list.
  4. Highlight the RADIUS server and choose Edit.
  5. Check the box next to Always use message authenticator.

Repeat these steps for any additional configured RADIUS servers.


Administrators can implement this change at the command line by opening an elevated command window and entering the following command.

netsh.exe ras aaaa set authserver name = <name of RADIUS server> signature = enabled

For example:

netsh.exe ras aaaa set authserver name = signature = enabled

New NPS Events

After installing the KB5040268 update on NPS servers, the NPS server will record event ID 4421 from the NPS source after a service start if the RequireMsgAuth or LimitProxyState settings are not configured.

“RequireMsgAuth and/or limitProxyState configuration is in Disable mode. These settings should be configured in Enable mode for security purposes.”

Optional Mitigation

If administrators cannot configure the above settings, consider using IPsec to secure network traffic at the transport layer. IPsec will protect all RADIUS traffic at the network layer to mitigate Blast-RADIUS attacks. Unfortunately, Windows Server NPS does not support TLS or DTLS, so IPsec is your only option.


Always On VPN is not vulnerable to the Blast-RADIUS attack. However, NPS is commonly a shared service in many organizations, and other workloads may use older, vulnerable protocols. Consider implementing the changes detailed in KB5040268 as outlined in above to ensure the integrity of your environment and mitigate these potential attacks.

More Information

Microsoft KB5040268: how to manage Access-Request packets attack vulnerability associated with CVE-2024-3596

RADIUS Protocol Vulnerability Exposes Networks to MitM Attacks

New Blast-RADIUS attack breaks 30-year-old protocol used in networks everywhere

Overview of Microsoft Protected Extensible Authentication Protocol (PEAP)

Always On VPN NPS Auditing and Logging

Always On VPN May 2024 Security Updates

Always On VPN RasMan Errors in Windows 10 1903

Once again, Microsoft has released its monthly security updates. For May 2024, there are several vulnerabilities in services related to Always On VPN that administrators will want to pay close attention to. Microsoft has identified known issues in the Routing and Remote Access Service (RRAS) and the Remote Access Connection Manager (RasMan) service for this release cycle.


This month, Microsoft published seven security fixes for vulnerabilities discovered in RRAS. All seven are Remote Code Execution (RCE) vulnerabilities rated Important. In addition, all vulnerabilities in RRAS require specific information about the environment for compromise, mitigating some of the exposure.









In addition to the updates for vulnerabilities in RRAS, Microsoft also released a security fix for issues identified in the Remote Access Connection Manager (RasMan) service. This update is marked Important but is not an RCE.



Although the vulnerabilities in RRAS are remotely exploitable, they will require specific information for an attacker to compromise. The risk of targeted attacks is lower than opportunistic ones, but administrators are still urged to update as soon as possible.

Additional Information

May 2024 Security Updates

Always On VPN April 2024 Security Updates

Microsoft has released its security updates for April 2024. This month, a few vulnerabilities are potentially impacting Always On VPN administrators. Specifically, three updates address issues with the Windows Server Routing and Remote Access Service (RRAS). In addition, vulnerabilities affect the Remote Access Connection Manager (RasMan) service, affecting both VPN servers and clients.


Windows Server Routing and Remote Access (RRAS) has three security updates available this month. All three are Remote Code Execution (RCE) vulnerabilities but require user interaction to exploit the vulnerability. All three updates are rated as Important.





In addition to the vulnerabilities in RRAS, Microsoft announced numerous updates for vulnerabilities discovered in the Remote Access Connection Manager (RasMan) service. These vulnerabilities are related to information disclosure via buffer overruns. These updates affect both Windows RRAS servers and Windows Always On VPN clients. All updates are rated as Important.









While none of these vulnerabilities are critical, Always On VPN administrators are urged to update their affected systems soon.

Additional Information

April 2024 Security Updates