Citrix Access Gateway 5.0 VPX two-factor authentication with SafeWord 2008

As part of a XenApp implementation I was asked to implemented two-factor authentication for the Citrix Access Gateway 5.0 VPX with SafeWord 2008.

I had configured different authentications with the Access Gateway before, but had not yet faced the combination of SafeWord and the Access Gateway 5.0 VPX, so I started with some research on the net. Even though I did find some guides for the Access Gateway 4.6 VPX implementation, it took me some time (and additional explaination from a RADIUS expert) to get all the components working together.

So here’s my blog to share the knowledge and provide an implementation guide for the configuration of two-factor authentication with SafeWord 2008 on the Citrix Access Gateway 5.0 VPX.

Required CAG VPX Licenses

Let’s start with the required licenses for the Citrix Access Gateway VPX that are required to support the two-factor authentication. As the Access Gateway is part of a XenApp implementation, it will solely be used as an ICA proxy, providing user access to published XenApp applications and/or desktops.

As can be read in this eDocs article and this knowledgebase article you only require the Platform license (which comes with the purchase of the VPX appliance) to create a Basic Logon Point that will support the required two-factor authentication (based upon RADIUS).



To combine SafeWord2008 with the Citrix Access Gateway VPX, you’ll need to implement a Basic Logon Point that uses RADIUS authentication. You’ll also need to install the Network Policy Server (NPS) role on your Windows 2008 R2 server to to combine it with the SafeWord 2008 components.


SafeWord2008 components

As the SafeWord components installation was performed by another team member I did not write down the entire installation process, so for now I will refer you to the provided manuals and a quick list of the installed components, which can be found on the SafeNet product Manuals site. The following SafeWord2008 components were installed on a Domain Controller (allowing for the required Schema update):

  • Active Directory integration – to assign tokens to user accounts through the AD Users & Computers mmc.
  • SafeWord server – Encrypted database to store configuration information.
  • IAS/NAS Agent – required for RADIUS integration.

Ensure that you configure the SafeWord2008 components to work with the Windows Network Policy Server.


Configure Windows Network Policy Server (NPS)

Microsoft offers a good NPS portal on TechNet to find additional product information.

The main component for the two-factor authentication is the RADIUS server, with is configured through the NPS. As it took me some time (and help) to get all components working together, I’ll elaborate in more details on the NPS configuration. Citrix does offer a good knowledge base article CTX124420 on the configuration of the required NPS rules. You can follow the direction in this article for the configuration of the NPS, but you’ll need a different configuration on the Access Gateway than the one described in the article as we are not implementing the Access Control component for the Access Gateway.


Keep track of the value entered for the Vendor specific Attribute value (Step 24 of knowledge base article CTX124420) as you’ll need to add the exact same String value in the configuration of the Access Gateway Authentication Profile. The configured string value is returned to the Access Gateway by the RADIUS server when the provided credentials are successfully authenticated.


Configure the Access Gateway

To get RADIUS and Citrix Access Gateway to work together correctly, without using additional Access Control components, you’ll need to apply the following configuration for your authentication profile:

Screens Actions

Access Gateway Authentication Profile to support RADIUS/SafeWord2008

The most important thing for this configuration is to check the given value for the Attribute value prefix, as this needs to match the exact value entered in the NPS configuration (Step 24 of knowledgebase article CTX124420). This is the returned string from the RADIUS server the Access Gateway is accepting as a successful authentication result upon which it will continue to process the logon procedure for the logon point.

Access Gateway Basic Logon Point configuration

To correctly configure the logon point, you’ll have to that into account that: authentication will take place at the Access Gateway, not the Web Interface, the Web Interface uses the primary authentication profile to authenticate users, configure a primary authentication profile for LDAP (check this eDocs article), use SafeWord2008 as the secondary authentication profile.


Esther Barthel
Solutions Architect at cognition IT

Esther has been working in different roles and functions as an IT consultant ever since she finished her Masters degree in Computer Science in 1997. She has worked as a web developer, database administrator, and server administrator until she discovered how Server-Based Computing ( SBC ) combined servers, desktops, and user experience in one solution. Esther has been specializing in virtualization solutions such as SBC, VDI, application, and server virtualization for over eight years now and is currently working as a Senior Consultant at PepperByte, where she designs and implements Citrix® solutions for both small-business and large-enterprise infrastructures scaling from 100 to 15,000 users.
In january 2014 her first book Citrix XenApp 6.5 Expert Cookbook was published by Packt Publishing.

Esther is awarded as a Citrix Technology Professional (CTP) from 2015 - 2017.
Esther is awarded as a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) in 2017.

Esther is a Citrix Certified Expert – Virtualization (CCE-V), Citrix Certified Professional – Mobility (CCP-M), Citrix Certified Professional – Networking (CCP-N) and RES Software Certified Professional (RCP).

16 thoughts on “Citrix Access Gateway 5.0 VPX two-factor authentication with SafeWord 2008

  1. Pingback: virtuEs.IT

  2. Pingback: Kees Baggerman

  3. Pingback: Andrew Morgan

  4. Pingback: Louis Göhl

  5. Pingback: Bram Wolfs

  6. Pingback: Wout Tigelaar

  7. Pingback: Ingmar Verheij

  8. Pingback: RobB

  9. Pingback: Patrick Kaak

  10. Pingback: Jarian Gibson

  11. Pingback: Christopher McMillan

  12. Pingback: Arti Cijntje

  13. Pingback: Citrix Info Group

  14. Pingback: Sigurd Felix

  15. Pingback: Albert Willemsen

  16. Pingback: Wout Tigelaar