RogerBW's Blog

OpenVPN on LineageOS 27 May 2018

Since I have a bunch of useful things on servers at home, I was interested in using OpenVPN on the phone to get at them.

This is not the usual use case, which seems to be a tunnelling of all one's phone traffic to a commercial endpoint. I already have the endpoint, but mostly I'm interested in using the VPN as a firewall/NAT bypass technique for getting at a specific set of servers, as well as hiding traffic from snoopers.

There's a package on F-Droid, which seems like a good start. But it wants to do everything with X.509 certificates, and my existing OpenVPN infrastructure uses pre-shared keys (I'm the only authorised user anyway). And the configuration interface is fairly clumsy. Even the built-in help says you should get the VPN host (me) to supply a .ovpn file. What the heck is one of those?

Turns out, after some searching, it's simply an entirely normal OpenVPN tunnel configuration file. And since OpenVPN 2.3 you can even embed key files in there.

So I abandoned the configuration editor, wrote a perfectly normal file of the same sort that I'd drop onto a laptop, copied it across, and presto, it all works. XMPP and SIP are running quite happily on 4G across the encrypted link to servers at home. (And if I ever manage to get CalDAV working the calendar should be too.)

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