Connect to Cisco VPN Using PCF file on Ubuntu

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You want to connect to Cisco VPN using Cisco Systems VPN Client and you have been provided with a profile configuration file (PCF) file. How do you connect to the VPN using the PCF file on Ubuntu/Linux? In this guide, you will learn how to Connect to Cisco VPN Using PCF file on Ubuntu or other Debian based Linux systems.

Connect to Cisco VPN Using PCF file on Ubuntu

Install Cisco-compatible VPN client

To use PCF file while connecting to Cisco VPN Ubuntu and other Debian derivatives, you need to install Cisco-compatible VPN client (vpnc) and GNOME GUI plugin for VPNC. This can be done by simply executing the command below;

apt install vpnc network-manager-vpnc-gnome

Connect to Cisco VPN using PCF File from Command Line

Well, we have installed two Cisco-compatible VPN clients above. vpnc, can be used to connect to the Cisco VPN from command line? How is this possible?

Convert .PCF file to .CONF file

If you have a preconfigure Cisco VPN profile configuration file (PCF), you just need to convert it to .conf file by using the pcf2vpnc command. (Replace the names of the configuration files accordingly).

pcf2vpnc kifarunix-demo.pcf kifarunix-demo.conf

Connect to Cisco VPN from Command Line

Once you have the profile configuration file in .conf format, you can simply initiate the connect to the VPN by executing the command below if you are in the directory where the configuration file is located;

sudo vpnc ./kifarunix-demo.conf

Otherwise, you can specify a path to the configuration file;

sudo vpnc /path/to/kifarunix-demo.conf

When run, you will be prompted to enter the password for the connection username.

Enter password for [email protected]: ENTER PASSWORD
VPNC started in background (pid: 25502)...

You can verify that you have the VPN IP address assigned.

ip add show dev tun0
8: tun0: <POINTOPOINT,MULTICAST,NOARP,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 1412 qdisc pfifo_fast state UNKNOWN group default qlen 500
    link/none 
    inet 192.168.30.139/32 scope global tun0
       valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever
    inet6 fe80::2a8b:fd6e:c8da:cb45/64 scope link flags 800 
       valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever

You can as well run the command interactively;

sudo vpnc

To disconnect the VPN connection, simply run;

sudo vpnc-disconnect

Connect to Cisco VPN using PCF File from GUI

Create Cisco VPN Connection Profile

Create the Cisco VPN connection profile by clicking the Network connection icon and Edit the Connections.

Connect to Cisco VPN Using PCF file on Ubuntu


Next, on the Network connection settings, Click Add and choose Import a saved VPN configuration under the VPN connections section.

Cisco VPN client PCF file VPNC

Click Create to import your Cisco PCF configuration file. Choose the PCF file and click it to import.

Once imported, you are presented with a Wizard to edit your connection. Make the necessary changes like setting the connection name, etc and click Save to save the changes.

Cisco VPN connection settings

For the password settings, click the question mark on the password bar and choose how you want to be entering the connection password.

Your profile is now created. Proceed to connect to the VPN.

Connect to Cisco VPN on Ubuntu Linux

To connect to the VPN after creating the profile connection, click on the Network connections icon and under the VPN Connections, choose the newly created VPN profile to connect to it.

If you choose to enter the username password every time a connection is initiated, you will be prompted to enter a connection user password.

Cisco VPN client connection password

If the provided credentials work, then the connection to the VPN will be established.

Cisco VPN connection Client VPNC

Once the connection is successful, you should now be able to see a tunneling interface created with IP address assigned.

ip add
...
10: tun0: <POINTOPOINT,MULTICAST,NOARP,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 1412 qdisc pfifo_fast state UNKNOWN group default qlen 500
    link/none 
    inet 192.168.30.141/25 brd 192.168.30.255 scope global tun0
       valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever
    inet6 fe80::90e4:ec12:6c22:3e62/64 scope link flags 800 
       valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever

And that is all it takes to connect to Cisco VPN Using PCF file on Ubuntu. Enjoy!

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