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Old 04-20-2014, 03:14 PM   #1
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Revoking vs. deleting OpenVPN certificate; & should I also delete the CA cert + key?

I recently revoked my client.crt. I had a heck of a time actually stopping my client machine from connecting to the OpenVPN server, though - it took me hours to finally realize that I could continue to connect because server.conf did not have the appropriate line referencing crl.pem. I'm putting that line below in case others have overlooked this, particularly considering it doesn't seem to be addressed in many of the step-by-step guides that I have seen. Hopefully this helps those, who don't know why they can still connect to their OpenVPN even though they've revoked their certs, to eliminate this as being a possible source of the problem.

So, in /etc/openvpn/server.conf, I inserted the line:

crl-verify /etc/openvpn/crl.pem

I have two questions. First, now that I have revoked the client.crt, what else should I purge? Should I delete the CA.crt and CA.key (just an rm)?

My second question is why I should revoke the certificate and not simply delete it. What's the benefit? Maybe I don't understand how OpenVPN authenticates or retains the certificates.

Thanks for any feedback or advice!

Last edited by ziphem; 04-21-2014 at 07:37 PM. Reason: Spelling mistakes and a non-sensical phrase or two.
Old 04-21-2014, 10:05 AM   #2
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This is excellent information which you should, please, forward to some of those sites that host those tutorials that you speak of. Encourage them to revise their content.

I believe that the idea behind "revoking" a key is that it declares that this particular key should no longer be accepted in a web-of-trust. I'm also not 100% sure how this applies in the case of VPN and therefore I will be actively following the other replies in this thread.


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