Configure CISCO VPN client on Ubuntu

If you have ever tried the official Cisco VPN client, you might have known that it has a few major flaws and is not a good choice for you daily work. The solution came in the form of Maurice Massar’s vpnc – a relatively little-known and fairly unassuming application which does exactly as it says on the tin.

The installation is quite normal, just run this command on the client side:

sudo apt-get install vpnc

If you are not running ubuntu, you will probably have to compile the program yourself, it should be quite easy as well.

Now, Let’s start configure it. It’s just a little harder than the installation.

There is an configuration example named /etc/vpnc/example.conf, and you can copy it to a new one. The file name would be your connection name. Here is my example:

root@ubuntu:/etc/vpnc# cat newyork.conf
IPSec gateway 209.209.133.133
IPSec ID VPN_Tunnel-US_V2
IPSec secret XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
#IKE Authmode hybrid
Xauth username admon
Xauth password XXXXXXX

As the config file is ready, you can raise the VPN connection by:

root@ubuntu:~# vpnc-connect newyork
Connect Banner:
| WARNING:
| Use of company facilities and networks is restricted
| to employees and authorized third parties only.
| 
| Any other use of computing facilities and
| networks is strictly forbidden.
| 

VPNC started in background (pid: 5769)...

When the connection established, vpnc-connect becomes a daemon instance, and running in background.

Then this command can be used to disconnect from your VPN server:

root@ubuntu:/etc/vpnc# vpnc-disconnect newyork
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