Linux: PrivateInternetAccess Using OpenVPN and Squid Proxy – Part 1

This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series PrivateInternetAccess Using Squid Proxy and OpenVPN

PrivateInternetAccess Using OpenVPN and Squid Proxy – Introduction

This series of articles describes how to set up a VPN connection to PrivateInternetAccess using OpenVPN and squid proxy to share the VPN connection and overcome the 5 device limit on the PIA account.

We will be using:

  • Debian Wheezy netinstall ISO
    • webmin – to configure our server
    • OpenVPN – to create our VPN connection
    • squid proxy – to route specific traffic or applications through the VPN

Our network diagram for this example is as follows:

The client is sitting on the network and accessing the proxy in the DMZ subnet. Outgoing traffic will then be routed out through the VPN interface (tun0) encrypted and anonymised.

This series is organised as follows:

  1.  Installing Debian using the netinstall method and making sure we have the correct software installed
  2. Configuring squid proxy
  3. Installing and configuring OpenVPN to connect to the PrivateInternetAccess VPN
  4.  Final words

Enjoy and comments welcome!


Checkpoint: Long Delay When Logging In Via SSH or Console

How to mitigate the issue where this a long delay when logging in via SSH or console.

When an SSH session is initiated to a linux box, the SSH server tries to perform a lookup on the client’s IP; in certain situations this is not going to be possible, e.g.:

  • the configured DNS server is offline
  • the firewall / smartcentre cannot talk to the configured DNS because of a policy
  • the external internet connection is down etc.etc.

This DNS timeout manifests itself as an incredibly long delay for the user trying to log in – fortunately there is a very quick fix for this:

  • delete the nameservers entirely!
  • configure nameservers that the machine is able to reach
  • use internal nameservers if your internet connection is flaky

This is the case for all Checkpoint linux-based machines as well as IPSO and Gaia.

Checkpoint: How To Reset “expert” Mode Password On SecurePlatform

This article describes how to reset the expert mode password on SecurePlatform for your Checkpoint appliance or open server.

For Open Servers

Obtain the live linux distribution Knoppix. You can download the current version from the Knoppix website:

1. Boot the machine from the Knoppix CD – you can use a built-in CD/DVD drive or an external one.

2. Once the desktop appears, click on the icon to open a terminal window, the run the following commands. See also the “Notes” section below.

$ su
# mkdir /checkpoint
# mount /dev/hda2 /checkpoint
# mount /dev/hda1 /checkpoint/boot
# chroot /checkpoint
# /bin/expert_passwd

3. At this point you are prompted to enter a password – type in the new password twice.

4. To change the regular cpshell admin users’s password:

# passwd admin

You are prompted to enter a password.

Type in the new password twice.

5. Run the “exit” and then the “reboot” command.

6. Remove the Knoppix CD and boot normally.

You can now log in as the user ‘admin’ and log in to Expert mode with each of the new passwords you just assigned.


Notes for Point 2:

If the mount /dev/hda2/checkpoint command fails, use the following command instead:


If the system has SATA drives then use the following command:

mount /dev/sda8 /checkpoint and /dev/sda2 /checkpoint/boot

An easy way to find drive mappings is to use gparted from Knoppix “K menu” > system > gparted.

Knoppix will not let you run this unless you have root and a password for root.

To create valid passwords use sudo passwd, i.e.

# sudo passwd root

You need to mount the root partition on /checkpoint, and the boot partition on /checkpoint/boot


For UTM-1 Appliances *AND* Open Servers

1. Obtain the Red Hat boot CD. (The current Fedora Core boot CD will as also work).

2. At the boot prompt, boot from the Red Hat boot CD with the following command: “linux rescue

3. When prompted, answer the questions presented by the boot process.

4. The system is mounted on the hard drive, and its location is indicated. Write down the system location (which should be: /mnt/sysimage/, or /mnt/sysimage/).

5. When the command prompt is displayed again, edit the following file (Vi editor should be available): /mnt/sysimage/boot/grub/grub.conf

Find the line that looks like this:

password --md5 <a bunch of scrambled numbers, letters, and symbols>

Add a ‘#‘ at the very beginning of that line. It should then look like this:

#password --md5 <a bunch of scrambled numbers, letters, and symbols>

6. Find a line that opens with the word ‘lock‘ and add a ‘#’ at the very beginning of that line.

7. Save and exit the editing session.

8. Reboot the machine.

9. Remove the boot CD from the CD-ROM drive before it boots from the CD (again).

10. When the following prompt appears:

GRUB … (the dots increase in number until it boots the default kernel)

Press the ‘Space‘ key. This should display the GRUB menu.

11. Select the line that has the word ‘Maintenance‘ in it and press ‘Enter‘ key.Note: if this step fails to boot into the Maintenance mode, do the following:

Select the line that contains ‘maintenance‘ and press ‘e‘ key.You are allowed to edit the GRUB options for this boot option.

  • Press ‘b‘ key to boot this option.
  • SecurePlatform boots until a prompt similar to the following appears:sh-bash 2.0.5#
  • Change the passwords for:
    • A user, like ‘admin‘, run:
      \ passwd admin
    • For Expert mode, run:
  • Reboot.




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