Server 3.x

Session Expiry#

The VPN server has the concept of “Session Expiry”. This configures the interval with which users have to again perform application authorization, when using the eduVPN/Let’s Connect! apps, or have to go back to the portal to download a new configuration file.

This will mean that the users have to authenticate as well as part of this authorization, and possibly provide their 2FA credentials/token as well.

The default is 90 days.

What to Choose?#

The default of 90 days, but you may want to deviate from this. Either by setting it to a (much) shorter interval, for example if you want your users to authenticate every day, or possibly much longer.

Generally it is not recommended to lower this value too much if you have VPN users that can’t use the eduVPN / Let’s Connect! applications. This can lead to frustration of the users and possibly lead to their use of “creative” solutions to work around the VPN and thus decreasing security.

On the other hand, setting this too high, requires discipline to disable the users that are no longer eligible to use the VPN from the portal.

It is a bit of a judgment call. We know of organizations that set it to 12 hours, and also organizations that set it to 3 years.

The eduVPN / Let’s Connect! applications will show the user the remaining time of their VPN session and send notifications when the VPN session is about to expire so users can choose a more convenient time to renew their session. See this for more information on session expiry for apps.

NOTE: if you choose to for example 1 day, this will mean that if a user authenticates at 09:30, the next day at 09:30 their session will expire, meaning they may have to authorize/authenticate during a video call.

Changing Session Expiry#

You can change the session expiry by modifying /etc/vpn-user-portal/config.php and set sessionExpiry to the value you wish. Some examples:

NOTE: if you modify this value, it will only take effect the next time the user is forced to authenticate/authorize.

It is highly recommended to choose your sessionExpiry and then “reset” the server in order to make sure that all VPN users/clients will use the same session expiry from then on. NOTE: this will delete all data, including local user accounts, but not the configuration. It will force everyone to reauthorize the VPN apps and/or download a new configuration through the portal.

$ sudo vpn-maint-reset-system

Per User Session Expiry#

NOTE: this has been implemented in vpn-user-portal >= 3.3.4

It is possible to allow an individual sessionExpiry override based on user permissions. The following two are use cases we identified:

  1. You want certain (power)users to be able to forgo regular authentication/authorization and give them e.g. P1Y instead of whatever the default is for your server;
  2. You want certain users with access to sensitive resources to authenticate/authorize e.g. every day and for instance provide their second factor.

In order to configure this, make sure you follow the Permissions documentation and set the permissionAttributeList, or properly configure the “Static” ACL.

We standardized the values required to have per user session expiry to the following format: where VALUE is one of the intervals as discussed in the previous section. Some examples:

From vpn-user-portal >= 3.5.1 we also support AARC-G027 “resource capabilities” with a service specific res prefix Some examples:

The default sessionExpiry is used, when:

  1. There is no override provided through the IdM;
  2. There is >1 override provided;
  3. An unsupported override is provided.

You need to explicitly configure specific values that are to be supported by your server. This is done by setting the supportedSessionExpiry. For example:

'sessionExpiry' => 'P90D',
'supportedSessionExpiry' => ['P1Y', 'PT12H'],

This allows, and or their resource capabilities equivalent. The sessionExpiry value, here P90D is always supported, also when supportedSessionExpiry is not (explicitly) set.

NOTE: these values will only be used from the next user authentication/authorization.

Per Profile Expiry#

We do NOT support per profile expiry, but only per user. The chosen architecture, i.e. the way OAuth is used for application authorization makes this complicated and would result in behavior that is hard to reason about. The chosen expiry now applies to both manual configuration downloads through the VPN portal as well as the application API.

In future server releases we will consider a different approach that would allow for this, or make this functionality obsolete as it becomes possible to “real time” verify user authorization(s).