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IKED.CONF(5) File Formats Manual IKED.CONF(5)

iked.confIKEv2 configuration file

iked.conf is the configuration file for iked(8), the Internet Key Exchange version 2 (IKEv2) daemon for IPsec. IPsec itself is a pair of protocols: Encapsulating Security Payload (ESP), which provides integrity and confidentiality; and Authentication Header (AH), which provides integrity. The IPsec protocol itself is described in ipsec(4).

In its most basic form, a flow is established between hosts and/or networks, and then Security Associations (SA) are established, which detail how the desired protection will be achieved. IPsec uses flows to determine whether to apply security services to an IP packet or not. iked(8) is used to set up flows and establish SAs automatically, by specifying ‘ikev2’ policies in iked.conf (see AUTOMATIC KEYING POLICIES, below).

Alternative methods of setting up flows and SAs are also possible using manual keying or automatic keying using the older ISAKMP/Oakley a.k.a. IKEv1 protocol. Manual keying is not recommended, but can be convenient for quick setups and testing. See ipsec.conf(5) and isakmpd(8) for more information about manual keying and ISAKMP support.

iked.conf is divided into three main sections:

User-defined variables may be defined and used later, simplifying the configuration file.
Global settings for iked(8).
Policies to set up IPsec flows and SAs automatically.

Lines beginning with ‘#’ and empty lines are regarded as comments, and ignored. Lines may be split using the ‘\’ character.

Argument names not beginning with a letter, digit, or underscore must be quoted.

Addresses can be specified in CIDR notation (matching netblocks), as symbolic host names, interface names, or interface group names.

Additional configuration files can be included with the include keyword, for example:

include "/etc/macros.conf"

Macros can be defined that will later be expanded in context. Macro names must start with a letter, digit, or underscore, and may contain any of those characters. Macro names may not be reserved words (for example flow, from, esp). Macros are not expanded inside quotes.

For example:

remote_gw = ""
ikev2 esp from to peer $remote_gw

Here are the settings that can be set globally:

Set iked(8) to active mode. This is the default.
Set iked(8) to passive mode. In passive mode no packets are sent to peers and no connections are initiated by iked(8). This option is used for setups using sasyncd(8) and carp(4) to provide redundancy. iked will run in passive mode until sasyncd has determined that the host is the master and can switch to active mode.
Load the negotiated security associations (SAs) and flows into the kernel. This is the default.
Don't load the negotiated SAs and flows from the kernel. This mode is only useful for testing and debugging.
name password
iked(8) supports user-based authentication by tunneling the Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP) over IKEv2. In its most basic form, the users will be authenticated against a local, integrated password database that is configured with the user lines in iked.conf and the name and password arguments. Note that the password has to be specified in plain text which is required to support different challenge-based EAP methods like EAP-MD5 or EAP-MSCHAPv2.

This section is used to configure policies that will be used by iked(8) to set up flows and SAs automatically. Some examples of setting up automatic keying:

# Set up a VPN:
# First between the gateway machines and
# Second between the networks and
ikev2 esp from to
ikev2 esp from to peer

For incoming connections from remote peers, the policies are evaluated in sequential order, from first to last. The last matching policy decides what action is taken; if no policy matches the connection, the default action is to ignore the connection attempt or to use the default policy, if set. Please also see the EXAMPLES section for a detailed example of the policy evaluation.

The first time an IKEv2 connection matches a policy, an IKE SA is created; for subsequent packets the connection is identified by the IKEv2 parameters that are stored in the SA without evaluating any policies. After the connection is closed or times out, the IKE SA is automatically removed.

The commands are as follows:

The mandatory ikev2 keyword will identify an IKEv2 automatic keying policy. name is an optional arbitrary string identifying the policy. The name should only occur once in iked.conf or any included files. If omitted, a name will be generated automatically for the policy.
The eval option modifies the policy evaluation for this policy. It can be one of quick, skip or default. If a new incoming connection matches a policy with the quick option set, that policy is considered the last matching policy, and evaluation of subsequent policies is skipped. The skip option will disable evaluation of this policy for incoming connections. The default option sets the default policy and should only be specified once.
mode specifies the IKEv2 mode to use: one of passive or active. When passive is specified, iked(8) will not immediately start negotiation of this tunnel, but wait for an incoming request from the remote peer. When active is specified, negotiation will be started at once. If omitted, passive mode will be used.
encap specifies the encapsulation protocol to be used. Possible protocols are esp and ah; the default is esp.
This policy only applies to endpoints of the specified address family which can be either inet or inet6. Note that this only matters for IKEv2 endpoints and does not restrict the traffic selectors to negotiate flows with different address families, e.g. IPv6 flows negotiated by IPv4 endpoints.
The optional proto parameter restricts the flow to a specific IP protocol. Common protocols are icmp(4), tcp(4), and udp(4). For a list of all the protocol name to number mappings used by iked(8), see the file /etc/protocols.
src [port sport] [(srcnat)] to dst [port dport]
Specify one or more traffic selectors for this policy which will be used to negotiate the IPsec flows between the IKEv2 peers. During the negotiation, the peers may decide to narrow a flow to a subset of the configured traffic selector networks to match the policies on each side.

Each traffic selector will apply for packets with source address src and destination address dst. The keyword any will match any address (i.e. If the src argument specifies a fictional source ID, the srcnat parameter can be used to specify the actual source address. This can be used in outgoing NAT/BINAT scenarios as described below.

The optional port modifiers restrict the traffic selectors to the specified ports. They are only valid in conjunction with the tcp(4) and udp(4) protocols. Ports can be specified by number or by name. For a list of all port name to number mappings used by ipsecctl(8), see the file /etc/services.

localip peer remote
The local parameter specifies the address or FQDN of the local endpoint. Unless the gateway is multi-homed or uses address aliases, this option is generally not needed.

The peer parameter specifies the address or FQDN of the remote endpoint. For host-to-host connections where dst is identical to remote, this option is generally not needed as it will be set to dst automatically. If it is not specified or if the keyword any is given, the default peer is used.

auth algorithm enc algorithm prf algorithm group group
These parameters define the mode and cryptographic transforms to be used for the IKE SA negotiation, also known as phase 1. The IKE SA will be used to authenticate the machines and to set up an encrypted channel for the IKEv2 protocol.

Possible values for auth, enc, prf, group, and the default proposals are described below in CRYPTO TRANSFORMS. If omitted, iked(8) will use the default proposals for the IKEv2 protocol.

auth algorithm enc algorithm group group
These parameters define the cryptographic transforms to be used for the Child SA negotiation, also known as phase 2. Each Child SA will be used to negotiate the actual IPsec SAs. The initial Child SA is always negotiated with the initial IKEv2 key exchange; additional Child SAs may be negotiated with additional Child SA key exchanges for an established IKE SA.

Possible values for auth, enc, group, and the default proposals are described below in CRYPTO TRANSFORMS. If omitted, iked(8) will use the default proposals for the ESP or AH protocol. The group option will only be used to enable Perfect Forwarding Security (PFS) for additional Child SAs exchanges that are not part of the initial key exchange.

string dstid string
defines an ID of type “FQDN”, “ASN1_DN”, “IPV4”, “IPV6”, or “UFQDN” that will be used by iked(8) as the identity of the local peer. If the argument is an email address (, iked(8) will use UFQDN as the ID type. The ASN1_DN type will be used if the string starts with a slash ‘/’ (/C=DE/../CN= If the argument is an IPv4 address or a compressed IPv6 address, the ID types IPV4 or IPV6 will be used. Anything else is considered to be an FQDN.

If srcid is omitted, the default is to use the hostname of the local machine, see hostname(1) to set or print the hostname.

dstid is similar to srcid, but instead specifies the ID to be used by the remote peer.

time [bytes bytes]
The optional lifetime parameter defines the Child SA expiration timeout by the time SA was in use and by the number of bytes that were processed using the SA. Default values are 3 hours and 512 megabytes which means that SA will be rekeyed before reaching the time limit or 512 megabytes of data will pass through. Zero values disable rekeying.

Several unit specifiers are recognized (ignoring case): ‘m’ and ‘h’ for minutes and hours, and ‘K’, ‘M’ and ‘G’ for kilo-, mega- and gigabytes accordingly.

Please note that rekeying must happen at least several times a day as IPsec security heavily depends on the frequent key renewals.

Specify the mode to mutually authenticate the peers. Non-psk modes will require to set up certificates and RSA public keys; see iked(8) for more information.

Use EAP to authenticate the initiator. The only supported EAP type is currently MSCHAP-V2. The responder will use RSA public key authentication.
Use a pre-shared key string or hex value (starting with 0x) for authentication.
Use RSA public key authentication. This is the default mode if no option is specified.
Add a pf(4) tag to all packets of IPsec SAs created for this connection. This will allow matching packets for this connection by defining rules in pf.conf(5) using the tagged keyword.

The following variables can be used in tags to include information from the remote peer on runtime:

The dstid that was proposed by the remote peer to identify itself. It will be expanded to id-value, e.g. FQDN/ To limit the size of the derived tag, iked(8) will extract the common name ‘CN=’ from ASN1_DN IDs, for example ASN1_ID//C=DE/../CN= will be expanded to
Extract the domain from IDs of type FQDN, UFQDN or ASN1_DN.
The name of the IKEv2 policy that was configured in iked.conf or automatically generated by iked(8).

For example, if the ID is FQDN/ or UFQDN/, “ipsec-$domain” expands to “”. The variable expansion for the tag directive occurs only at runtime, not during configuration file parse time.

Send the decapsulated IPsec traffic to the specified enc(4) interface instead of enc0 for filtering and monitoring. The traffic will be blocked if the specified interface does not exist.

IPsec traffic appears unencrypted on the enc(4) interface and can be filtered accordingly using the OpenBSD packet filter, pf(4). The grammar for the packet filter is described in pf.conf(5).

The following components are relevant to filtering IPsec traffic:

external interface
Interface for IKE traffic and encapsulated IPsec traffic.
proto udp port 500
IKE traffic on the external interface.
proto udp port 4500
IKE NAT-Traversal traffic on the external interface.
proto ah | esp
Encapsulated IPsec traffic on the external interface.
Default interface for outgoing traffic before it's been encapsulated, and incoming traffic after it's been decapsulated. State on this interface should be interface bound; see enc(4) for further information.
proto ipencap
[tunnel mode only] IP-in-IP traffic flowing between gateways on the enc0 interface.
Match traffic of IPsec SAs using the tag keyword.

If the filtering rules specify to block everything by default, the following rule would ensure that IPsec traffic never hits the packet filtering engine, and is therefore passed:

set skip on enc0

In the following example, all traffic is blocked by default. IPsec-related traffic from gateways {,} and networks {,} is permitted.

block on ix0
block on enc0

pass  in on ix0 proto udp from to \
	port {500, 4500}
pass out on ix0 proto udp from to \
	port {500, 4500}

pass  in on ix0 proto esp from to
pass out on ix0 proto esp from to

pass  in on enc0 proto ipencap from to \
	keep state (if-bound)
pass out on enc0 proto ipencap from to \
	keep state (if-bound)
pass  in on enc0 from to \
	keep state (if-bound)
pass out on enc0 from to \
	keep state (if-bound)

pf(4) has the ability to filter IPsec-related packets based on an arbitrary tag specified within a ruleset. The tag is used as an internal marker which can be used to identify the packets later on. This could be helpful, for example, in scenarios where users are connecting in from differing IP addresses, or to support queue-based bandwidth control, since the enc0 interface does not support it.

The following pf.conf(5) fragment uses queues for all IPsec traffic with special handling for developers and employees:

altq on ix0 cbq bandwidth 1000Mb \
	queue { deflt, developers, employees, ipsec }
    queue deflt bandwidth 10% priority 0 cbq(default ecn)
    queue developers bandwidth 75% priority 7 cbq(borrow red)
    queue employees bandwidth 5% cbq(red)
    queue ipsec bandwidth 10% cbq(red)

pass out on ix0 proto esp queue ipsec

pass out on ix0 tagged queue developers
pass out on ix0 tagged queue employees

The following example assigns the tags in the iked.conf configuration and also sets an alternative enc(4) device:

ikev2 esp from to peer \
	tag ipsec-$domain tap "enc1"

In some network topologies it is desirable to perform NAT on traffic leaving through the VPN tunnel. In order to achieve that, the src argument is used to negotiate the desired network ID with the peer and the srcnat parameter defines the true local subnet, so that a correct SA can be installed on the local side.

For example, if the local subnet is and all the traffic for a specific VPN peer should appear as coming from, the following configuration is used:

ikev2 esp from ( to \

Naturally, a relevant NAT rule is required in pf.conf(5). For the example above, this would be:

match on enc0 from to nat-to

From the peer's point of view, the local end of the VPN tunnel is declared to be and all the traffic arrives with that source address.

The following authentication types are permitted with the auth keyword:

128 bits 96 bits
160 bits 96 bits
256 bits 128 bits
384 bits 192 bits
512 bits 256 bits

The following pseudo-random function types are permitted with the prf keyword:

128 bits [IKE only]
160 bits [IKE only]
256 bits [IKE only]
384 bits [IKE only]
512 bits [IKE only]

The following cipher types are permitted with the enc keyword:

56 bits [ESP only]
168 bits
128 bits
192 bits
256 bits
160 bits [ESP only]
224 bits [ESP only]
288 bits [ESP only]
160 bits [ESP only]
224 bits [ESP only]
288 bits [ESP only]
160 bits [ESP only]
224 bits [ESP only]
288 bits [ESP only]
160 bits [ESP only]
128 bits [ESP only]
[ESP only]

Use of DES as an encryption algorithm is not recommended (except for backwards compatibility) due to the short key length.

DES requires 8 bytes to form a 56-bit key and 3DES requires 24 bytes to form its 168-bit key. This is because the most significant bit of each byte is used for parity.

The keysize of AES-CTR is actually 128-bit. However as well as the key, a 32-bit nonce has to be supplied. Thus 160 bits of key material have to be supplied. The same applies to AES-GCM and AES-GMAC.

Using AES-GMAC or NULL with ESP will only provide authentication. This is useful in setups where AH can not be used, e.g. when NAT is involved.

The following group types are permitted with the group keyword:

grp1 768 MODP
grp2 1024 MODP
grp3 155 EC2N [insecure]
grp4 185 EC2N [insecure]
grp5 1536 MODP
grp14 2048 MODP
grp15 3072 MODP
grp16 4096 MODP
grp17 6144 MODP
grp18 8192 MODP
grp19 256 ECP
grp20 384 ECP
grp21 521 ECP
grp22 2048 MODP, 160 bit Prime Order Subgroup
grp23 2048 MODP, 224 bit Prime Order Subgroup
grp24 2048 MODP, 256 bit Prime Order Subgroup
grp25 192 ECP
grp26 224 ECP

The currently supported group types are either MODP (exponentiation groups modulo a prime), EC2N (elliptic curve groups over GF[2^N]), or ECP (elliptic curve groups modulo a prime). Please note that the EC2N groups are considered as insecure and only provided for backwards compatibility.

The first example is intended for clients connecting to iked(8) as an IPsec gateway, or IKEv2 responder, using mutual public key authentication and additional challenge-based EAP-MSCHAPv2 password authentication:

user "test" "password123"

ikev2 "win7" esp \
	from to \
	peer local \
	eap "mschap-v2" \
	config address \
	tag "$name-$id"

The next example allows peers to authenticate using a pre-shared key ‘foobar’:

ikev2 "big test" \
	esp proto tcp \
	from port 23 to port 40 \
	from to \
	peer any local any \
	ikesa enc 3des auth hmac-sha1 group modp1024 \
	childsa enc aes-128 auth hmac-sha1 \
	srcid \
	dstid \
	psk "foobar"

The following example illustrates the last matching policy evaluation for incoming connections on an IKEv2 gateway. The peer will always match the first policy because of the quick keyword; connections from the peers and will be matched by one of the last two policies; any other connections from will be matched by the ‘subnet’ policy; and any other connection will be matched by the ‘catch all’ policy.

ikev2 quick esp from to \
ikev2 "catch all" esp from to \
	peer any
ikev2 "subnet" esp from to \
ikev2 esp from to peer
ikev2 esp from to peer

enc(4), ipsec(4), ipsec.conf(5), pf.conf(5), ikectl(8), iked(8)

The iked.conf file format first appeared in OpenBSD 4.8.

The iked.conf program was written by Reyk Floeter ⟨⟩.

January 8, 2013 OpenBSD-5.3