VPNs to Google Cloud Platform (GCP) when FortiGate is behind a NAT gateway

Ran in to problems getting a VPN up and running between GCP and a FortiGate 60-E that was behind a NAT gateway (with ports udp/500 + udp/4500 forwarded). On the GCP side, these messages would show up in the logs:

remote host is behind NAT
generating IKE_AUTH response 1 [ N(AUTH_FAILED) ]
looking for peer configs matching GCP.VPN.GATEWAY.IP[%any]...[]

This error means that GCP connected to the Peer VPN gateway successfully, but it in the IKEv2 headers, it identified itself by the private IP rather than the expected public one. AWS is not picky about this, but with GCP, the Peer VPN gateway must identify itself by using the same external IP address of the NAT device.

Most vendors have long supported an option to manually override the IP address for such scenarios. In Cisco IOS or IOS-XE, this can be controlled in the IKEv2 profile with the identity local address option:

crypto ikev2 profile GCP_IKEV2_PROFILE
 match address local interface GigabitEthernet1
 identity local address MY.PUBLIC.IP.ADDRESS
 authentication remote pre-share
 authentication local pre-share
 keyring local GCP_KEYRING
 lifetime 36000
 dpd 20 5 on-demand

With Palo Alto, this is configured in the IKE Gateway, Local Identification field:

For the sake of argument, we’ll say that CheckPoint uses the “Statically NATed IP” field to influence Local ID, although this doesn’t actually work.

Fortigate does offer “Local ID” field in version 6.4.6 and higher, under the Phase 1 proposal:

Seems nice and straightforward, but even after changing this setting, the VPN tunnel still won’t establish. Logs on the GCP end change slightly and now show this:

looking for peer configs matching GCP.VPN.GATEWAY.IP[%any]...[]

The private IP is no longer showing, so it seems the issue should be solved. Instead, GCP reports a “Peer not responding” message. The Fortigate actually reports Phase 1 success, waits a few seconds, and then starts the negotiation all over. So not very helpful.

I configured a test VPN between the FortiGate and a Palo Alto, which then gave a very specific and extremely useful error message:

IKE phase-1 negotiation is failed. When pre-shared key is used, peer-ID must be type IP address. Received type FQDN

Now this explains the problem! Even though the FortiGate is sending the correct IP address in the IKEv2 header, it’s being sent as the wrong identity type. The 5 identity types are listed in RFC 7815:

  • ID_IPV4_ADDR = 32 bit IPv4 address
  • ID_IPV6_ADDR = 128 bit IPv6 address
  • ID_FQDN = DNS hostname
  • ID_RFC822_ADDR = e-mail address
  • ID_KEY_ID = octet stream

If Fortigate were smart, it would either default to IPv4 address type or auto-determine this based on the text inputted in to the field. But it seems to simply default to FQDN. Oddly, there is a CLI option called “localid-type” under the Phase1-interface that clear is intended to provide this functionality:

FGT60E1234567890 # config vpn ipsec phase1-interface

FGT60E1234567890 (phase1-interface) # edit gcp

FGT60E1234567890 (gcp) # set localid-type 
auto         Select ID type automatically.
fqdn         Use fully qualified domain name.
user-fqdn    Use user fully qualified domain name.
keyid        Use key-id string.
address      Use local IP address.

But, similar to CheckPoint, it just doesn’t work, and can be considered a broken feature.

Since GCP does not support FQDN authentication, VPNs between GCP and FortiGates behind a NAT are not possible at this time.


Rancid: no matching key exchange method found. Their offer: diffie-hellman-group-exchange-sha1,diffie-hellman-group14-sha1

Time to move Rancid to a newer VM again, this time it’s Ubuntu 20. Hit a snag when I tried a test clogin run:

$ clogin myrouter
Unable to negotiate with port 22: no matching key exchange method found.  Their offer: diffie-hellman-group-exchange-sha1,diffie-hellman-group14-sha1

OpenSSH removed SHA-1 from the defaults a while back, which makes sense since the migration to SHA-2 began several years ago. So looks like SSH is trying to use SHA-2 but the Cisco Router is defaulting to SHA-1, and something has to give in order for negotiation to succeed.

My first thought was to tell the Cisco router to use SHA-2, and this is possible for the MAC setting:

Router(config)#ip ssh server algorithm mac ?
  hmac-sha1      HMAC-SHA1 (digest length = key length = 160 bits)
  hmac-sha1-96   HMAC-SHA1-96 (digest length = 96 bits, key length = 160 bits)
  hmac-sha2-256  HMAC-SHA2-256 (digest length = 256 bits, key length = 256 bits)
  hmac-sha2-512  HMAC-SHA2-512 (digest length = 512 bits, key length = 512 bits

Router(config)#ip ssh server algorithm mac hmac-sha2-256 hmac-sha2-512
Router(config)#do sh ip ssh | inc MAC       
MAC Algorithms:hmac-sha2-256,hmac-sha2-512

But not for key exchange, which apparently only supports SHA-1:

Router(config)#ip ssh server algorithm kex ?
  diffie-hellman-group-exchange-sha1  DH_GRPX_SHA1 diffie-hellman key exchange algorithm
  diffie-hellman-group14-sha1         DH_GRP14_SHA1 diffie-hellman key exchange algorithm

Thus, the only option is to change the setting on the client. SSH has CLI options for Cipher and Mac:

-c : sets cipher (encryption) list.

-m: sets mac (authentication) list

But the option for Key Exchange can only be configured via the /etc/ssh/sshd_config file with this line:

KexAlgorithms +diffie-hellman-group14-sha1

I wanted to change the setting only for Rancid and not SSH in general, hoping that Cisco adds SHA-2 key exchange soon. I found out it is possible to set SSH options in the .cloginrc file. The solution is this:

add  sshcmd  *  {ssh\  -o\ KexAlgorithms=+diffie-

Clogin is now successful:

$ clogin myrouter
spawn ssh -oKexAlgorithms=+diffie-hellman-group14-sha1 -c aes128-ctr,aes128-cbc,3des-cbc -x -l myusername myrouter

By the way, I stayed away from diffie-hellman-group-exchange-sha1 as it’s considered insecure, whereas diffie-hellman-group14-sha1 was considered deprecated but still widely deployed and still “strong enough”, probably thanks to its 2048-bit key length.

Sidenote: this only affects Cisco IOS-XE devices. The Cisco ASA ships with this in the default configuration:

ssh key-exchange group dh-group14-sha256