Cisco VPN Client

Configuring Cisco VPN Client 3.5 and the Cisco Integrated Client to Secure Nonencrypted Traffic While Using Split Tunneling


Note: At this time, the Cisco Integrated Client Firewall (CIC) is compatible only with a Cisco VPN Client (versions 3.5.x or later) connecting back to a VPN 3000 Concentrator (versions 3.5.x or later). Cisco Secure PIX Firewall does not currently support this feature.

When a VPN Client connects back to a headend gateway and there is no split tunneling allowed, all traffic must flow to the headend. In such an instance, this client could theoretically be used as a relay agent for some type of security breach, since the security posture set at the headend controls what the client can see when requesting resources other than those available on the private network.

To allow remote clients access to resources on the protected network while not truly enforcing what Internet resources are available, you can implement a split tunnel. A split tunnel allows the VPN Client to access the networks protected by the VPN headend via the VPN tunnel and other resources in clear data (outside the VPN tunnel) simultaneously. A potential drawback is that this VPN Client could be a relay agent if someone on the clear data side compromised the client's workstation and used that workstation to get information from the VPN-protected networks.

To enforce protection of your internal networks when the remote clients are using a split tunnel, you can implement a personal CIC firewall on the VPN Client workstation. A variety of vendors can supply this feature; the examples in this document use the integrated client included in the VPN Client. Note that the VPN Client software must be at least version 3.5. The VPN Client with embedded CIC will accept policies that were defined on the VPN 3000 Concentrator (running at least 3.5.x software) to be pushed down to the client to enforce the non-VPN traffic activity while the tunnel is up. CIC is automatically installed along with the VPN Client; no separate steps are required.

Before You Begin


For more information on document conventions, see the Cisco Technical Tips Conventions.


It is important to keep the following points in mind when you use this document.

  • Use the Cisco VPN Client 3.5.x or later; the CIC feature is not available on earlier versions.

  • There is no end-user configuration on the VPN Client side. Everything is done on the VPN 3000 Concentrator headend.

  • This document assumes that you have users and groups configured. The configuration steps apply only to adding the CIC feature and split tunneling.

  • Policies to be pushed to the VPN Client via Cisco Pushed Policy (CPP) are active only when the tunnel is up. The pushed policies are applied to unencrypted traffic, so CPP should only be configured when split tunneling is enabled.

  • The firewall rules displayed on the VPN Client's statistics screen are listed in order of precedence.

  • Because split tunneling is assumed in use, the first firewall rules displayed are to allow traffic to each of the private networks listed. After these, the rules pushed by the defined policy are listed.

  • The VPN 3000 Concentrator automatically appends the drop all inbound and drop all outbound parameters to the end of the list of rules.

Components Used

The information in this document is based on the software and hardware versions below.

  • Cisco VPN Client 4.0.2(B) with CIC Firewall integrated

  • Cisco VPN 3000 Concentrator running 4.0.1.C

The information presented in this document was created from devices in a specific lab environment. All of the devices used in this document started with a cleared (default) configuration. If you are working in a live network, ensure that you understand the potential impact of any command before using it.


In this section, you are presented with the information to configure the features described in this document.

Note: To find additional information on the commands used in this document, use the Command Lookup tool.

Network Diagram With No VPN Connection

This document uses the network setup shown in the diagram below.


Network Diagram With VPN Connection


Configuring the VPN 3000 Concentrator

Defining Policies and Rules

The following steps describe the defining policies and rules for configuring the VPN 3000 Concentrator.

  1. Define the policy for the non-tunneled traffic. Remember that the CIC Firewall does not apply to the encrypted traffic. The VPN Client in this example is connected through VPN and has a policy that includes the following parameters.

    • Non-CIC

      • Access the VPN-protected network resources – This is allowed by default with the split-tunnel list, as long as there are no filters defined on the VPN group, user ID, or interface that would prohibit the flow of traffic. By default, no filters are defined, so all traffic should pass to the protected network.

    • CIC

      • DNS queries – You must add this rule if the DNS server passed down to the VPN Client is not part of the VPN-protected network. If you don't add the rule, the clients will not be able to reach sites via a DNS name; IP addresses will still work.

      • Web access – The VPN Client can access sites that are not VPN-protected on HTTP (TCP/80).

      • Deny everything else.

  2. Once the policy is defined, you need to create rules that reflect the policy specifications (as defined above). Remember that the filter rules are bidirectional, so you must create one for both the inbound and outbound connections. Unless specified below, values should be left on their default settings.

    To create a filter rule for the inbound connection (DNS queries), open the VPN 3000 Concentrator software and go to Configuration > Policy Management > Traffic Management > Rules. Click Add.


  3. Configure the rule with the values shown below.

    • Rule Name: DNS-inbound

    • Action: Forward

    • Protocol: udp


    Continue configuration as shown below.

    • Source Port / Port: DNS (53)

    • Destination Port / Port: Range

    • Range: 1024 to 65535

    Click Apply when you have finished entering the values.


  4. Repeat the steps above to create a filter rule for the outbound connection (DNS requests). Use the values shown below to configure this rule.

    • Rule Name: DNS-outbound

    • Direction: outbound

    • Action: Forward

    • Protocol: udp

    • Source Port / Port: Range

    • Range: 1024 to 65535

    • Destination Port / Port: DNS (53)

    Click Apply when you have finished entering the values.

Note: The configurations in steps 1 – 3 above apply only to the DNS properties. Web HTTP requests are already defined as "outgoing HTTP in" and "outgoing HTTP out". The rule "outgoing HTTP out" matches all IP packets with TCP destination port 80 (www) and any source port, while "outgoing HTTP in" matches all IP packets with TCP source port 80 and any destination port. The rules "incoming HTTP in" / "incoming HTTP out" match any IP packet with TCP source port any / 80 and destination port 80 / any, respectively. The name tags "in" and "out" refer to the directions (inbound and outbound) from the perspective of the of the VPN Client. If you are unsure, you can take a closer look at the rules by using the Modify function to check the source and destination ports.

Defining Filters

After the rules are defined, you must define a filter that will group all of the rules into one statement.

  1. Open the VPN 3000 Concentrator software and go to Configuration > Policy Management > Traffic Management > Filters. Click Add Filter.

  2. Give the filter a descriptive name. The following example uses a filter named "client_fw_rule".

  3. Leave the filter's default action as Drop. If the design calls for source-routing, check the Source Routing box; to disable fragmentations, uncheck the Fragments. Click Add when you are finished.


  4. To add rules to the filter, select the applicable rules from the "Available" column (on the right) and click Add to move them to the Current Rules in Filter column (on the left). Click Done when you are finished.

    The example below for the filter named "client_fw_rule" shows four current rules.

    • DNS-inbound

    • Outgoing HTTP In

    • DNS-outbound

    • Outgoing HTTP Out


  5. To apply the filter to the group, go to Configuration > User Management > Groups. Select the group that you want to modify and click Modify Group.

  6. On the Client FW tab, select the "Firewall Setting" value of Firewall Required, and use the pull-down menu to set the "Firewall" value to Cisco Integrated Client Firewall.


  7. For the "Firewall Policy" attribute, select Policy Pushed (CPP) and select <filter_name> from the pull-down menu. The example below shows the filter "client_fw_rule".

    When you are finished, click Apply, then click Save Needed (in the top right of the window).


    The firewall policy has now been defined.

Configuring Split Tunneling

The following steps explain how to configure split tunneling.

  1. To define the networks that you want to be tunneled, go to Configuration > Policy Management > Traffic Management > Network Lists. Click Add, then define a name for the list and specify what networks are to be included.

    Note that the mask is a wild-card mask. To protect the network, the inverse mask (required in this network list) is


  2. To apply the network list as a split tunnel, you need to modify the group that will have the tunnel applied. Go to Configuration > User Management > Group ><group name>. Click Modify Group and select the Client Config tab. Under Split Tunneling Policy, select the option for Only tunnel networks in list. Under Split Tunneling Network List, select the network list you defined earlier; in this example, the list is called VPN_Protected_Network.



This section provides information you can use to confirm your configuration is working properly.

To verify that the configuration was successful, you can check the Firewall settings in the VPN Client Connection Status window.

Open the VPN Client Connection Status window and click on the Firewall tab to display the pushed policy. Remember that the policy is read from top to bottom and should have bidirectional definitions—one for the outbound connection and one for the inbound connection. The example below shows the outbound flow of DNS (port 53 protocol 17) sourcing from a random high port of the VPN Client.

Note: If there is no Firewall tab, then the Firewall policy was not implemented successfully. You will need to run some debugs to determine what went wrong.


The last two statements in the list of Firewall Rules are "Drop" and "Inbound/Outbound Packet".



This section provides information you can use to troubleshoot your configuration.

  • If you are running Cisco VPN Client 3.5.x or later and the policy is not being pushed properly, verify the configuration (as shown in steps 6 and 7) by making sure that the Client FW tab has the following settings.

    • Firewall Setting: Firewall Required (recommended) or anything other than No Firewall

    • Firewall: Cisco Integrated Client Firewall

    • Firewall Policy: Policy Pushed (CPP) and pointed to <filter_name> (the name of the filter to enforce)

  • If you are experiencing problems accessing or pinging when the tunnel is active between the VPN Client and the local LAN, go to the VPN Client, select the connection entry, and choose Modify. Click the Transport tab and check Allow local LAN Access. This must match the configured group on the VPN Concentrator end to allow local LAN access.

Related Information