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Connect to NordVPN servers

Project description

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Connect to NordVPN servers secure and fast

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Connord connects to NordVPN servers by wrapping OpenVPN and iptables. Most tools, including the official nordvpn app do not allow customising iptables properly. Often, iptables rules are left in a mess when finished and may even lead to unexpected behaviour. Additionally, the native openvpn application lacks kind of connection profiles, to easily switch between configurations depending on your network you are currently using, for example on your laptop. Connord connects you to NordVPN servers, wrapping openvpn and iptables to provide a rich, powerful and simple to use tool chain orchestrated from the command line.

This tool is not for you, if you want to connect to nordvpn servers via NordLynx or use other special nordvpn technologies. Connord connects you via openvpn over the udp port 1196 or tcp port 443. If openvpn is patched correctly it connects you to obfuscated servers. This should cover the most use cases, but it won't do anything more... Use the official nordvpn tool instead if you wish to use CyberSec etc.

However, compared to other tools, connord can deliver more information about servers, areas, countries etc., easily accessible from the command line, with its extensive filters. It also uses a powerful and yet simple mechanism to determine the fastest NordVPN server for your location without gathering any information about your exact place. It is less intrusive than other tools because there is no need to install systemd services per default and just works within your terminal.

Version/Change notes

If you're already using connord and want to update from an earlier version it is best to completely uninstall connord first. Then follow the Installation instructions from this document. Connord is still under development and each minor version (the x in 0.x.y) difference is not backwards compatible. Save your configuration files and adjust them to the new ones if necessary. Currently, (as of 0.6.0) only the /etc/connord/config.yml file has additional configuration options. Iptables rules and fallback files still follow the same scheme but the variables exposed to .rules and .fallback files have changed. The 'lan' and 'gateway' dictionaries were removed. Instead, there is the new 'gateways' dictionary available. For a complete description see the changed Variables section. The default .rules and .fallback coming with connord have changed to support a wider range of systems and an easy start with connord.

Dependencies

  • iptables
  • openvpn
  • Either resolvconf or systemd-resolved to correctly route the dns traffic
  • and the python package dependencies of connord. See Installation section.

Quick start guide

  • Follow Installation instructions below
  • Download or update the openvpn configuration files for nordvpn with $ sudo connord update.
  • Execute $ sudo connord connect -c YOUR_COUNTRY_CODE and replace YOUR_COUNTRY_CODE with the country code of your current country. List all country codes with $ connord list countries. You will be asked for your username and password which are stored safely in /etc/connord/openvpn/nordvpn/credentials.

Installation

Install the system dependencies depending on your distribution with

Ubuntu/Debian

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install iptables openvpn

Archlinux

$ sudo pacman -Sy iptables openvpn

For the up down scripts of openvpn there needs either resolvconf or systemd-resolved to be installed and configured on your system. Connord automatically detects which one is used. Other systems are currently not natively supported, but by providing own openvpn_up_down scripts this can be circumvented.

Installation from source

This is currently the recommended method to install connord, because it creates all the directories needed in /etc/connord to get the most out of connord.

$ git clone https://github.com/MaelStor/connord
$ cd connord
$ sudo make install

Remark, that this doesn't install the dependencies of connord, since your distribution most likely offers packages for them, and this is usually the best way to go, so you are best advised to install the dependencies of connord with your distribution's package manager. In case you don't want to manage python dependencies with the distribution's package manager, you can still install connord with pip (See below). Installation of the python packages:

Ubuntu/Debian
$ sudo apt-get install python3-cachetools python3-jinja2 python3-netaddr \
    python3-netifaces python3-progress python3-iptables python3-yaml \
    python3-requests python3-setuptools
Archlinux

You need to install the python-iptables package from the aur repository. So for example with pacaur execute:

$ sudo pacaur -Sy python-cachetools python-jinja python-netaddr \
    python-netifaces python-progress python-iptables python-yaml \
    python-requests python-setuptools

You can start right off or customize connord in /etc/connord/config.yml and adjust the iptables rules in /etc/connord/iptables/*.

Installation of connord with pip

$ pip install --user --upgrade connord

You need to run commands that need root access with

$ sudo $(which connord) connect -c de

instead. Global installation although not recommended since this also installs the dependencies of connord globally:

$ sudo pip install --upgrade connord

Configuration

All configuration files since version 0.5.0 reside in the /etc/connord hierarchy. The configuration files are documented with the most recent configuration values. Here just a quick overview to get started.

The main configuration file is /etc/connord/config.yml. Iptables rules can be adjusted in /etc/connord/iptables/.

The main configuration file: config.yml

The main configuration file in YAML format. Every variable set within this configuration file is exposed to .rules and .fallback iptables templates.

config.yml: iptables section

This section may look like this:

iptables
  dns:
    # NordVPN
    - '103.86.99.100/32'
    - '103.86.96.100/32'

Use these variables for example in 01-filter.rules:

OUTPUT:
  policy: ACCEPT
  action: None
  rules:
{% for server in iptables.dns %}
  - dst: "{{ server }}"
    protocol: udp
    udp:
      dport: '53'
    target: ACCEPT
{% endfor %}

what creates the following after rendering:

OUTPUT:
  policy: ACCEPT
  action: None
  rules:
  - dst: '103.86.99.100/32'
    protocol: udp
    udp:
      dport: '53'
    target: ACCEPT
  - dst: '103.86.96.100/32'
    protocol: udp
    udp:
      dport: '53'
    target: ACCEPT

Rendering is happening automatically, so no user side intervention is required.

config.yml: openvpn section

The settings which are used to start openvpn can be found in config.yml. For an overview of all possible options see $ man openvpn. You just need to strip off the leading '--' and place it somewhere in the openvpn section. Arguments are written after : or if the option doesn't take any arguments place True after :. Further reading about YAML Syntax. There's the special keyword built-in, which can be applied to:

  • auth-user-pass
  • scripts paths
    • name: up
    • name: down
    • name: ipchange

if you like to use the built-in paths, what is the default behaviour. If you don't like to run a script say when openvpn goes down delete or comment out

    - name: "down"
      path: "built-in"
      stage: "down"
      creates: "down.env"

Iptables rules

The iptables rules reside in /etc/connord/iptables.

rules and fallback files

These files are jinja2 templates which are rendered with the config.yml file and .env files created by the built-in up, down and ipchange scripts when openvpn starts running.

Naming scheme

Let's take for example the rules file which shall be applied to netfilter's filter table. 01-filter.rules. The leading number isn't necessary, but that way you can control the order when to apply the files. After the optional dash follows the table name. The dash isn't needed when there is no leading number. The suffix .rules causes the rules to be applied after successfully establishing a connection to a server. The suffix .fallback causes the rules to be applied when disconnecting from a server or after invocation of connord iptables flush. If you're writing ipv6 rules for the filter table place them in a file like 01-filter6.rules or 01-filter6.fallback.

Variables

Every variable you define or is already defined in config.yml is available in iptables rules files. In addition to that the connord instance exposes the following variables to .rules and .fallback files:

vpn_remote      # the remote server ip address
vpn_protocol    # the protocol in use: udp or tcp
vpn_port        # may be 1194 (udp) or 443 (tcp)

# Furthermore there's the 'gateways' dictionary consisting of
gateways.default = (ip_address, interface)
#  a tuple of ip_address and interface name of the default gateway. Note that
#  the default gateway in rules files is the VPN gateway (most often 'tun0')
#  and in fallback files it is the LAN interface.
gateways.default_inet6
#  like above a tuple of ip_address and interface name but in case the default
#  gateway has ipv6 nature.
gateways.other = [(ip_address, interface), ... ]
#  with a list of ip_address, interface tuples which are not the default
#  gateway. The list may be empty if there are no other interfaces.
gateways.other_inet6
#  like above but if the interface has ipv6 nature.

In fallback files vpn_remote is 0.0.0.0/0, vpn_protocol is udp and vpn_port is set to 1194.

Variables exposed from OpenVPN scripts can be seen when starting connord not in daemon mode. The list given here may be incomplete or too exhaustive for your network and is therefore just an incomplete preview. Look at the output of connord for your environment. For example here the variables from up.env when the connection is started by openvpn.

connord 'up' environment variables: '/var/run/connord/up.env'
up_args:
  - 'init'
  - '255.255.255.0'
  - '10.8.1.10'
  - '1590'
  - '1500'
  - 'tun1'
  - '/var/run/connord/up.env'
dhcp_option:
  dns:
    - '103.86.99.100'
    - '103.86.96.100'
dev: 'tun1'
ifconfig_broadcast: '10.8.1.255'
ifconfig_local: '10.8.1.10'
ifconfig_netmask: '255.255.255.0'
link_mtu: '1590'
route_net_gateway: '200.200.200.200'
route_vpn_gateway: '10.8.1.1'
script_context: 'init'
tun_mtu: '1500'
trusted_ip: '100.100.100.100'
trusted_port: '1194'
untrusted_ip: '100.100.100.100'
untrusted_port: '1194'
redirect_gateway: 1

Variables from OpenVPN scripts are only available in .rules files, not .fallback files.

Usage

Command-line options overwrite the configuration in config.yml. This is mostly important for the openvpn command line options passed through to openvpn. To connect to nordvpn servers and alter iptables rules connord needs to be executed as root. Most subcommands, especially the list subcommand, do not need root access.

Subcommands

First, list all possible commands with $ connord --help. Any sub command has a help and can be accessed with $ connord SUBCOMMAND --help. Before connecting to a server and execute connord with root rights, you may wish to play around with connord commands and start with listing servers $ connord list servers. See below for more information about the list subcommand.

Connect to NordVPN servers

Connecting to nordvpn servers is done with $ sudo connord connect. No further options are required, but limiting the possible servers may be what you want if you want a faster connection. However, connord tries its best to figure out the best server. Internally it sorts the servers by load and then by their ping. Then it tries to connect to the server with the lowest load and lowest ping.

For instance, if limiting servers to the country you're living in is what you want, pass the --country COUNTRY_CODE to the connect command. The country code is a two letter abbreviation of a country. All possible country codes can be listed with $ connord list countries.

There are many other options to filter the servers connord tries to connect to. See $ connord connect --help for all possible options.

Manage Iptables

Managing iptables with connord can be done with $ connord iptables ACTION where valid ACTIONs can be listed with $ connord iptables --help. Before taking any action make sure to save your original iptables rules. This can be done for example with $ sudo iptables-save > /etc/iptables/iptables.rules. For your safety any connord command modifying system files and iptables rules needs root access for example with sudo.

Listings

List all possible countries, features, categories (types), servers, iptables rules etc. See what is possible with $ connord list --help. All sub commands to the list command try to help with the usage of connord or provide additional information about a topic.

Servers

Listing servers can be done with $ connord list servers. As with the connect command, there are a lot of options to limit the servers in the output. The output of the list command may help in figuring out which servers are available or help with the connect command. Most options here are also available in the connect command, so running the list servers command beforehand helps to reduce the servers to the servers you really want to wish to connect to. More help can be seen with $ connord list servers --help.

Update NordVPN server configuration files and the location database

Updating the configuration files and database must be done once after installation and after that on a regular basis to ensure connord uses the latest possible servers and correct openvpn configuration.

To do so, just execute $ connord update

Supported FEATUREs:

Have a look at the output of $ connord list features

Supported TYPEs:

All supported types are listed with $ connord list categories. The term types and categories are used interchangeably

General section

If you experience problems running connord, first try the same command in verbose mode with

connord -v COMMAND

or

connord --verbose COMMAND

You should see in most cases where the error occurred. There may be still hard to track bugs, please report them to the Issue board on Github.

Error messages are written to stderr in your shell. You can suppress error messages with -q or --quiet if you like to.

Verbose mode of openvpn can be set in config.yml in the openvpn section or at the command-line when using connord connect adding it to the openvpn command with -o '--verb 3'.

Obfuscated servers

In order to be able to connect to obfuscated servers you need to patch OpenVPN. For example the repository of Tunnelblick includes the patches in third_party/sources/openvpn. How this can be done is described here . I haven't patched my openvpn client, so I can't share experiences but above solution is reported to work.

You can list obfuscated servers with $ connord list servers -t obfuscated. Same scheme to finally connect to an obfuscated server for example located in HongKong: $ sudo connord connect -c hk -t obfuscated.

Development

Make sure to have poetry installed. Clone the repo and install the development environment:

$ git clone git@github.com:MaelStor/connord.git
$ cd connord
$ make develop

Thanks

Thanks to Jonathan Wright @ https://github.com/jonathanio for his great update-systemd-resolved script (https://github.com/jonathanio/update-systemd-resolved)

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