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There is some traffic caught by a policy rule which needs to become encrypted or authenticated, but the policy doesn't have any SAs. The policy notifies the IKE daemon about that, and the IKE daemon initiates a connection to a remote host. IKE daemon responds to remote connection. In both cases, peers establish a connection and execute 2 phases:

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  • Phase 2 - The peers establish one or more SAs that will be used by IPsec to encrypt data. All SAs established by the IKE daemon will have lifetime values (either limiting time, after which SA will become invalid, or amount of data that can be encrypted by this SA, or both). This phase should match the following settings:
    • IPsec protocol
    • mode (tunnel or transport)
    • authentication method
    • PFS (DH) group
    • lifetime
Note

There are two lifetime values - soft and hard. When SA reaches it's its soft lifetime tresholdthreshold, the IKE daemon receives a notice and starts another phase 2 exchange to replace this SA with a fresh one. If SA reaches a hard lifetime, it is discarded.

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Diffie-Hellman (DH) key exchange protocol allows two parties without any initial shared secret to create one securely. The following Modular Exponential (MODP) and Elliptic Curve (EC2N) Diffie-Hellman (also known as "Oakley") Groups are supported:

Diffie-Hellman GroupNameReference
Group 1768
bit
bits MODP groupRFC 2409
Group 21024 bits MODP groupRFC 2409
Group 3EC2N group on GP(2^155)RFC 2409
Group 4EC2N group on GP(2^185)RFC 2409
Group 51536 bits MODP groupRFC 3526
Group 142048 bits MODP groupRFC 3526
Group 153072 bits MODP groupRFC 3526
Group 164096 bits MODP groupRFC 3526
Group 176144 bits MODP groupRFC 3526
Group 188192 bits MODP groupRFC 3526
Group 19256 bits random ECP groupRFC 5903
Group 20384 bits random ECP groupRFC 5903
Group 21521 bits random ECP groupRFC 5903

More on standards can be found here.

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EAP Authentication methods

Outer AuthInner Auth
EAP-GTC
EAP-MD5
EAP-MSCHAPv2
EAP-PEAPv0

EAP-MSCHAPv2
EAP-GPSK
EAP-GTC
EAP-MD5
EAP-TLS

EAP-SIM
EAP-TLS
EAP-TTLS

PAP
CHAP
MS-CHAP
MS-CHAPv2
EAP-MSCHAPv2
EAP-GTC
EAP-MD5
EAP-TLS

Authentication Header (AH)

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Transport mode

In transport mode, the AH header is inserted after the IP header. IP data and header is used to calculate authentication value. IP fields that might change during transit, like TTL and hop count, are set to zero values before authentication.

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In tunnel mode, the original IP packet is encapsulated within a new IP packet. All of the original IP packets is are authenticated.

Encapsulating Security Payload (ESP)

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In transport mode, the ESP header is inserted after the original IP header. ESP trailer and authentication value are added to the end of the packet. In this mode only the IP payload is encrypted and authenticated, the IP header is not secured.

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  • AES - 128-bit, 192-bit, and 256-bit key AES-CBC, AES-CTR, and AES-GCM algorithms;
  • Blowfish - added since v4.5
  • Twofish - added since v4.5
  • Camellia - 128-bit, 192-bit, and 256-bit key Camellia encryption algorithm added since v4.5
  • DES - 56-bit DES-CBC encryption algorithm;
  • 3DES - 168-bit DES encryption algorithm;

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IPsec throughput results of various encryption and hash algorithm combinations are published on the MikroTik products page.

Policies

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PropertyDescription
action (discard | encrypt | none; Default: encrypt)Specifies what to do with the packet matched by the policy.
  • none - pass the packet unchanged.
  • discard - drop the packet.
  • encrypt - apply transformations specified in this policy and it's SA.
comment (string; Default: )Short description of the policy.
disabled (yes | no; Default: no)Whether a policy is used to match packets.
dst-address (IP/IPv6 prefix; Default: 0.0.0.0/32)Destination address to be matched in packets. Applicable when tunnel mode (tunnel=yes) or template (template=yes) is used.
dst-port (integer:0..65535 | any; Default: any)Destination port to be matched in packets. If set to any all ports will be matched.
group (string; Default: default)Name of the policy group to which this template is assigned.
ipsec-protocols (ah | esp; Default: esp)Specifies what combination of Authentication Header and Encapsulating Security Payload protocols you want to apply to matched traffic.
level (require | unique | use; Default: require)Specifies what to do if some of the SAs for this policy cannot be found:
  • use - skip this transform, do not drop the packet, and do not acquire SA from IKE daemon;
  • require - drop the packet and acquire SA;
  • unique - drop the packet and acquire a unique SA that is only used with this particular policy. It is used in setups where multiple clients can sit behind one public IP address (clients behind NAT).
peer (string; Default: )Name of the peer on which the policy applies.
proposal (string; Default: default)Name of the proposal template that will be sent by IKE daemon to establish SAs for this policy.
protocol (all | egp | ggp| icmp | igmp | ...; Default: all)IP packet protocol to match.
src-address (ip/ipv6 prefix; Default: 0.0.0.0/32)Source address to be matched in packets. Applicable when tunnel mode (tunnel=yes) or template (template=yes) is used.
src-port (any | integer:0..65535; Default: any)Source port to be matched in packets. If set to any all ports will be matched.
template (yes | no; Default: no)Creates a template and assigns it to a specified policy group.

Following parameters are used by template:

  • group - name of the policy group to which this template is assigned;
  • src-address, dst-address - Requested subnet must match in both directions(for example 0.0.0.0/0 to allow all);
  • protocol - protocol to match, if set to all, then any protocol is accepted;
  • proposal - SA parameters used for this template;
  • level - useful when unique is required in setups with multiple clients behind NAT.
tunnel (yes | no; Default: no)Specifies whether to use tunnel mode.

Read-only properties

PropertyDescription
active (yes | no)Whether this policy is currently in use.
default (yes | no)Whether this is a default system entry.
dynamic (yes | no)Whether this is a dynamically added or generated entry.
invalid (yes | no)Whether this policy is invalid - the possible cause is a duplicate policy with the same src-address and dst-address.
ph2-count (integer)A number of active phase 2 sessions associated with the policy.
ph2-state (expired | no-phase2 | established)Indication of the progress of key establishing.
sa-dst-address (ip/ipv6 address; Default: ::)SA destination IP/IPv6 address (remote peer).
sa-src-address (ip/ipv6 address; Default: ::)SA source IP/IPv6 address (local peer).


Warning

Policy order is important starting from v6.40. Now it works similarly to firewall filters where policies are executed from top to bottom (priority parameter is removed).

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This menu shows various IPsec statistics and errors.

Read-only properties

PropertyDescription
in-errors (integer)All inbound errors that are not matched by other counters.
in-buffer-errors (integer)No free buffer.
in-header-errors (integer)Header error.
in-no-states (integer)No state is found i.e. either inbound SPI, address, or IPsec protocol at SA is wrong.
in-state-protocol-errors (integer)Transformation protocol specific error, for example, SA key is wrong or hardware accelerator is unable to handle the
amount
number of packets.
in-state-mode-errors (integer)Transformation mode-specific error.
in-state-sequence-errors (integer)A sequence number is out of a window.
in-state-expired (integer)The state is expired.
in-state-mismatches (integer)The state has a mismatched
option
options, for example, the UDP encapsulation type is mismatched.
in-state-invalid (integer)The state is invalid.
in-template-mismatches (integer)No matching template for states, e.g. inbound SAs are correct but the SP rule is wrong. A possible cause is a mismatched sa-source or sa-destination address.
in-no-policies (integer)No policy is found for states, e.g. inbound SAs are correct but no SP is found.
in-policy-blocked (integer)Policy discards.
in-policy-errors (integer)Policy errors.
out-errors (integer)All outbound errors that are not matched by other counters.
out-bundle-errors (integer)Bundle generation error.
out-bundle-check-errors (integer)Bundle check error.
out-no-states (integer)No state is found.
out-state-protocol-errors (integer)Transformation protocol specific error.
out-state-mode-errors (integer)Transformation mode-specific error.
out-state-sequence-errors (integer)Sequence errors, for example, sequence number overflow.
out-state-expired (integer)The state is expired.
out-policy-blocked (integer)Policy discards.
out-policy-dead (integer)The policy is dead.
out-policy-errors (integer)Policy error.

Proposals

Proposal information that will be sent by IKE daemons to establish SAs for certain policies.

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PropertyDescription
auth-algorithms (md5|null|sha1|sha256|sha512; Default: sha1)Allowed algorithms for authorization. SHA (Secure Hash Algorithm) is stronger , but slower. MD5 uses a 128-bit key, sha1-160bit key.
comment (string; Default: )
disabled (yes | no; Default: no)Whether an item is disabled.
enc-algorithms (null|des|3des|aes-128-cbc|aes-128-cbc|aes-128gcm|aes-192-cbc|aes-192-ctr|aes-192-gcm|aes-256-cbc|aes-256-ctr|aes-256-gcm|blowfish|camellia-128|camellia-192|camellia-256|twofish; Default: aes-256-cbc,aes-192-cbc,aes-128-cbc)Allowed algorithms and key lengths to use for SAs.
lifetime (time; Default: 30m)How long to use SA before throwing it out.
name (string; Default: )
pfs-group (ec2n155 | ec2n185 | ecp256 | ecp384 | ecp521 | modp768 | modp1024 | modp1536 | modp2048 | modp3072 | modp4096 | modp6144 | modp8192 | none; Default: modp1024)DiffieThe diffie-Helman group used for Perfect Forward Secrecy.


Read-only properties

PropertyDescription
default (yes | no)Whether this is a default system entry.

Groups

In this menu, it is possible to create additional policy groups used by policy templates.


Properties

PropertyDescription
name (string; Default: )
comment (string; Default: )

Peers

Peer configuration settings are used to establish connections between IKE daemons. This connection then will be used to negotiate keys and algorithms for SAs. Exchange mode is the only unique identifier between the peers, meaning that there can be multiple peer configurations with the same remote-address as long as a different exchange-mode is used.

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PropertyDescription
address (IP/IPv6 Prefix; Default: 0.0.0.0/0)If the remote peer's address matches this prefix, then the peer configuration is used in authentication and establishment of Phase 1. If several peer's addresses match several configuration entries, the most specific one (i.e. the one with the largest netmask) will be used.
comment (string; Default: )Short description of the peer.
disabled (yes | no; Default: no)Whether peer is used to match matching remote peer's prefix.
exchange-mode (aggressive | base | main | ike2; Default: main)Different ISAKMP phase 1 exchange modes according to RFC 2408. the main mode relaxes rfc2409 section 5.4, to allow pre-shared-key authentication in the main mode. ike2 mode enables Ikev2 RFC 7296. Parameters that are ignored by IKEv2 proposal-check, compatibility-options, lifebytes, dpd-maximum-failures, nat-traversal.
local-address (IP/IPv6 Address; Default: )Routers local address on which Phase 1 should be bounded to.
name (string; Default: )
passive (yes | no; Default: no)When a passive mode is enabled will wait for a remote peer to initiate IKE connection. Enabled The enabled passive mode also indicates that the peer is xauth responder, and disabled passive mode - xauth initiator. When a passive mode is disabled peer will try to establish not only phase1 , but also phase2 automatically, if policies are configured or created during the phase1.
port (integer:0..65535; Default: 500)Communication port used (when router is initiator) to connect to remote peer in cases if remote peer uses the non-default port.
profile (string; Default: default)Name of the profile template that will be used during IKE negotiation.
send-initial-contact (yes | no; Default: yes)Specifies whether to send "initial contact" IKE packet or wait for remote side, this packet should trigger the removal of old peer SAs for current source address. Usually, in road warrior setups clients are initiators and this parameter should be set to no. Initial contact is not sent if modecfg or xauth is enabled for ikev1.

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Identities are configuration parameters that are specific to the remote peer. Main The main purpose of an identity is to handle authentication and verify the peer's integrity.

Properties

PropertyDescription
auth-method (digital-signature | eap | eap-radius | pre-shared-key | pre-shared-key-xauth | rsa-key | rsa-signature-hybrid; Default: pre-shared-key)Authentication method:
  • digital-signature - authenticate using a pair of RSA certificates;
  • eap - IKEv2 EAP authentication for initiator (peer with a netmask of /32). Must be used together with eap-methods;
  • eap-radius - IKEv2 EAP RADIUS passthrough authentication for the responder (RFC 3579). Server A server certificate in this case is required. If a server certificate is not specified then only clients supporting EAP-only (RFC 5998) will be able to connect. Note that the EAP method should be compatible with EAP-only;
  • pre-shared-key - authenticate by a password (pre-shared secret) string shared between the peers (not recommended since an offline attack on the pre-shared key is possible);
  • rsa-key - authenticate using a an RSA key imported in keys menu. Only supported in IKEv1;
  • pre-shared-key-xauth - authenticate by a password (pre-shared secret) string shared between the peers + XAuth username and password. Only supported in IKEv1;
  • rsa-signature-hybrid - responder certificate authentication with initiator XAuth. Only supported in IKEv1.
certificate (string; Default: )Name of a certificate listed in System/Certificates (signing packets; the certificate must have private key). Applicable if digital signature authentication method (auth-method=digital-signature) or EAP (auth-method=eap) is used.
comment (string; Default: )Short description of the identity.
disabled (yes | no; Default: no)Whether identity is used to match a remote peerpeers.
eap-methods (eap-mschapv2 | eap-peap | eap-tls | eap-ttls; Default: eap-tls)All EAP methods requires whole certificate chain including intermediate and root CA certificates to be present in System/Certificates menu. Also, the username and password (if required by the authentication server) must be specified. Multiple EAP methods may be specified and will be used in a specified order. Currently supported EAP methods:
  • eap-mschapv2;
  • eap-peap - also known as PEAPv0/EAP-MSCHAPv2;
  • eap-tls - requires additional client certificate specified under certificate parameter;
  • eap-ttls.
generate-policy (no | port-override | port-strict; Default: no)Allow this peer to establish SA for non-existing policies. Such policies are created dynamically for the lifetime of SA. Automatic policies allows, for example, to create IPsec secured L2TP tunnels, or any other setup where remote peer's IP address is not known at the configuration time.
  • no - do not generate policies;
  • port-override - generate policies and force policy to use any port (old behavior);
  • port-strict - use ports from peer's proposal, which should match peer's policy.
key (string; Default: )Name of the private key from keys menu. Applicable if RSA key authentication method (auth-method=rsa-key) is used.
match-by (remote-id | certificate; Default: remote-id)Defines the logic used for peer's identity validation.
  • remote-id - will verify the peer's ID according to remote-id setting.
  • certificate will verify the peer's certificate with what is specified under remote-certificate setting.
mode-config (none | *request-only | string; Default: none)Name of the configuration parameters from mode-config menu. When parameter is set mode-config is enabled.
my-id (auto | address | fqdn | user-fqdn | key-id; Default: auto)On initiator, this controls what ID_i is sent to the responder. On responder, this controls what ID_r is sent to the initiator. In IKEv2, responder also expects this ID in received ID_r from initiator.
  • auto - tries to use correct ID automatically: IP for pre-shared key, SAN (DN if not present) for certificate based connections;
  • address - IP address is used as ID;
  • fqdn - fully qualified domain name;
  • key-id - use the specified key ID for the identity;
  • user fqdn - specifies a fully-qualified username string, for example, "user@domain.com".
notrack-chain (string; Default: )Adds IP/Firewall/Raw rules matching IPsec policy to a specified chain. Use together with generate-policy.
password (string; Default: )XAuth or EAP password. Applicable if pre-shared key with XAuth authentication method (auth-method=pre-shared-key-xauth) or EAP (auth-method=eap) is used.
peer (string; Default: )Name of the peer on which the identity applies.
policy-template-group (none | string; Default: default)If generate-policy is enabled, traffic selectors are checked against templates from the same group. If none of the templates match, Phase 2 SA will not be established.
remote-certificate (string; Default: )Name of a certificate (listed in System/Certificates) for authenticating the remote side (validating packets; no private key required). If a remote-certificate is not specified then the received certificate from a remote peer is used and checked against CA in the certificate menu. Proper CA must be imported in a certificate store. If remote-certificate and match-by=certificate is specified, only the specific client certificate will be matched. Applicable if digital signature authentication method (auth-method=digital-signature) is used.
remote-id (auto | fqdn | user-fqdn | key-id | ignore; Default: auto)This parameter controls what ID value to expect from the remote peer. Note that all types except for ignore ignoring will verify remote peer's ID with a received certificate. In case when the peer sends the certificate name as its ID, it is checked against the certificate, else the ID is checked against Subject Alt. Name.
  • auto - accept all ID's;
  • fqdn - fully qualified domain name. Only supported in IKEv2;
  • user fqdn - a fully-qualified username string, for example, "user@domain.com". Only supported in IKEv2;
  • key-id - specific key ID for the identity. Only supported in IKEv2;
  • ignore - do not verify received ID with certificate (dangerous).
remote-key (string; Default: )Name of the public key from keys menu. Applicable if RSA key authentication method (auth-method=rsa-key) is used.
secret (string; Default: )Secret string. If it starts with '0x', it is parsed as a hexadecimal value. Applicable if pre-shared key authentication method (auth-method=pre-shared-key and auth-method=pre-shared-key-xauth) is used.
username (string; Default: )XAuth or EAP username. Applicable if pre-shared key with XAuth authentication method (auth-method=pre-shared-key-xauth) or EAP (auth-method=eap) is used.

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PropertyDescription
dynamic (yes | no)Whether this is a dynamically added entry by a different service (e.g L2TP).

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PropertyDescription
dh-group (modp768 | modp1024 | ec2n155 | ec2n185 | modp1536 | modp2048 | modp3072 | modp4096 | modp6144 | modp8192 | ecp256 | ecp384 | ecp521; Default: modp1024,modp2048) Diffie-Hellman group (cipher strength)
dpd-interval (time | disable-dpd; Default: 2m)Dead peer detection interval. If set to disable-dpd, dead peer detection will not be used.
dpd-maximum-failures (integer: 1..100; Default: 5)Maximum count of failures until peer is considered to be dead. Applicable if DPD is enabled.
enc-algorithm (3des | aes-128 | aes-192 | aes-256 | blowfish | camellia-128 | camellia-192 | camellia-256 | des; Default: aes-128)List of encryption algorithms that will be used by the peer.
hash-algorithm (md5 | sha1 | sha256 | sha512; Default: sha1)Hashing algorithm. SHA (Secure Hash Algorithm) is stronger, but slower. MD5 uses 128-bit key, sha1-160bit key.
lifebytes (Integer: 0..4294967295; Default: 0)Phase 1 lifebytes is used only as administrative value which is added to proposal. Used in cases if remote peer requires specific lifebytes value to establish phase 1.
lifetime (time; Default: 1d)Phase 1 lifetime: specifies how long the SA will be valid.
name (string; Default: )
nat-traversal (yes | no; Default: yes)Use Linux NAT-T mechanism to solve IPsec incompatibility with NAT routers inbetween between IPsec peers. This can only be used with ESP protocol (AH is not supported by design, as it signs the complete packet, including IP header, which is changed by NAT, rendering AH signature invalid). The method encapsulates IPsec ESP traffic into UDP streams in order to overcome some minor issues that made ESP incompatible with NAT.
proposal-check (claim | exact | obey | strict; Default: obey)Phase 2 lifetime check logic:
  • claim - take shortest of proposed and configured lifetimes and notify initiator about it
  • exact - require lifetimes to be the same
  • obey - accept whatever is sent by an initiator
  • strict - if the proposed lifetime is longer than the default then reject proposal otherwise accept a proposed lifetime

Active Peers

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PropertyDescription
dynamic-address (ip/ipv6 address)Dynamically assigned IP address by mode config
last-seen (time)Duration since last message received by this peer.
local-address (ip/ipv6 address)Local address on the router used by this peer.
natt-peer (yes | no)Whether NAT-T is used for this peer.
ph2-total (integer)Total amount of active IPsec security associations.
remote-address (ip/ipv6 address)Remote peer's ip/ipv6 address.
responder (yes | no)Whether the connection is initiated by remote peer.
rx-bytes (integer)Total amount of bytes received from this peer.
rx-packets (integer)Total amount of packets received from this peer.
side (initiator | responder)Shows which side initiated the Phase1 negotiation.
state (string)State of phase 1 negotiation with the peer. For example, when phase1 and phase 2 are negotiated it will show state "established".
tx-bytes (integer)Total amount of bytes transmitted to this peer.
tx-packets (integer)Total amount of packets transmitted to this peer.
uptime (time)How long peers are in established state.

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ISAKMP and IKEv2 configuration attributes are configured in this menu.


Properties

PropertyDescription
address-pool (none | string; Default: )Name of the address pool from which the responder will try to assign address if mode-config is enabled.
address-prefix-length (integer [1..32]; Default: )Prefix length (netmask) of the assigned address from the pool.
comment (string; Default: )
name (string; Default: )
responder (yes | no; Default: no)Specifies whether the configuration will work as an initiator (client) or responder (server).
Initiator
The initiator will request for mode-config parameters from the responder.
split-include (list of IP prefix; Default: )List of subnets in CIDR format, which to tunnel. Subnets will be sent to the peer using CISCO UNITY extension, remote peer will create specific dynamic policies.
src-address-list (address list; Default: )Specifying an address list will generate dynamic source NAT rules. This parameter is only available with responder=no. RoadWarrior client with NAT
static-dns (list of IP; Default: )Manually specified DNS server's IP address to be sent to the client.
system-dns (yes | no; Default: )When this option is enabled DNS addresses will be taken from /ip dns.


Read-only properties

PropertyDescription
default (yes | no)Whether this is a default system entry.


Note

Not all IKE implementations support multiple split networks provided by the split-include option.

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This menu provides information about installed security associations including the keys.


Read-only properties

PropertyDescription
AH (yes | no)Whether AH protocol is used by this SA.
ESP (yes | no)Whether ESP protocol is used by this SA.
add-lifetime (time/time)Added lifetime for the SA in format soft/hard:
  • soft - time period after which ike will try to establish new SA;
  • hard - time period after which SA is deleted.
addtime (time)Date and time when this SA was added.
auth-algorithm (md5 | null | sha1 | ...)Currently used authentication algorithm.
auth-key (string)Used authentication key.
current-bytes (64-bit integer)Number of bytes seen by this SA.
dst-address (IP)Destination address of this SA.
enc-algorithm (des | 3des | aes-cbc | ...)Currently used encryption algorithm.
enc-key (string)Used encryption key.
enc-key-size (number)Used encryption key length.
expires-in (yes | no)Time left until rekeying.
hw-aead (yes | no)Whether this SA is hardware accelerated.
replay (integer)Size of replay window in bytes.
spi (string)Security Parameter Index identification tag
src-address (IP)Source address of this SA.
state (string)Shows the current state of the SA ("mature", "dying" etc)


Commands

PropertyDescription
flush ()Manually removes all installed security associations.

Keys

This menu lists all imported public andprivate and private keys, that can be used for peer authentication. Menu has several commands to work with keys.


Properties

PropertyDescription
name (string; Default: )


Read-only properties

PropertyDescription
key-size (1024 | 2048 | 4096)Size of this key.
private-key (yes | no)Whether this is a private key.
rsa (yes | no)Whether this is a RSA key.

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