Installing and using the UCI VPN (Cisco AnyConnect) with Ubuntu/Xubuntu 10, 11, 12, and 13 (either 32 or 64-bit)

(1)

Summary

To get the Cisco VPN client working for an Ubuntu system, you'll need to install both the Cisco AnyConnect client and the Linux Network Manager OpenConnect plugins.(2)

Introduction

OIT has a good general instruction page on setting up the Cisco AnyConnect VPN client software for Linux, but owing to Ubuntu's Network Manager infrastructure being so different, I got tripped up in a couple of places and thought I'd pass on some tips for those who have Ubuntu and want to connect into UCI's VPN. At that time, I was using Ubuntu 10, but in the latest versions (12 & 13), it has gotten much easier.

Installing and Connecting

  1. Install Cisco AnyConnect client licensed to UCI
    1. Go to UCI'S Software licenses page
    2. type vpn in the Free-form query box and hit Go!
      You should be taken to a page for VPN Client by Cisco
    3. Look down to the UCI only information section.
    4. If you're not logged in, click on the Please login... link
    5. Select Linux 32-bit or Linux 64-bit, depending on your system, and click Download my choice
    6. Now, supposing you downloaded this to ~/Downloads, open a terminal and..
      cd ~/Downloads
      tar zxvf anyconnect-3.1.03103.tar.gz
      cd anyconnect-3.1.03103/vpn
      sudo ./vpn_install.sh
      

      (of course by the time you read this, the anyconnect version number -- anyconnect-3.1.03103 -- will probably be different/newer for you -- make the appropriate replacements in the lines above, for yourself.)

      Do you accept the terms in the license agreement? [y/n] y
      You have accepted the license agreement.
      Please wait while Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client is being installed...
      Starting Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client Agent...
      Done!
  2. Install Ubuntu Network Manager plugins

    in a terminal, type:

    sudo apt-get install network-manager-openconnect
    (or install via Synaptic)

  3. Configure a NetworkManager VPN profile for UCI

    1. find the "Network Manager" icon in your System Tray on your desktop. Examples:

      Ubuntu 10.04 with Gnome desktop:


      Xubuntu 13.04 with Xfce desktop:
    2. click on that Network manager icon, and choose VPN Connections->Configure VPN(3)
    3. click Add
    4. choose Cisco AnyConnect Compatible VPN (openconnect) and click Create
    5. Connection name: anything you want, e.g., UCI.
    6. Gateway: vpn.nacs.uci.edu
    7. User name: leave blank.
    8. hit Apply and then Close (or just Save)
  4. Install GoDaddy Certificates (Optional)

    I find that as of 2013, for my Ubuntu home system this is no longer necessary. You can probably skip the installation of the GoDaddy certificates, too. But I leave it here in case you find it necessary.

    Go to ftp://ftp.uci.edu/linux-anyconnect-cert-fix/ and follow the instructions in the README.

  5. Connect/Disconnect

    (From now on, all you should have to do is this section any time you want to connect.)

    Connecting

    1. click on Network Manager icon in your system try and choose VPN Connections->UCI (or whatever you named your connection).
    2. click on the "plug" icon to the right of the vpn.nacs.uci.edu.

    3. choose your Group. this corresponds to the VPN Connection Tunnels documented on UCI's VPN-for-Linux page. For better speed when making non-UCI connections, i usually just choose the UCI (i.e., probably would communicate more if it were called UCI-only) "split tunnel" group.
    4. fill in Username and Password with your UCINETID credentials
    5. click Login

    now all your connections to UCI (web, ssh, ftp, etc.) will be through the VPN until you disconnect.

    Disconnecting

    1. when you're done using the UCI VPN, just left-click on Network Manager icon in your system try and choose VPN Connections->Disconnect VPN.

Feedback

Please email me to let me know how this process went for you, and/or with any suggestions for improvement on this page itself. Thanks.

Footnotes

(1) Tux Cisco image snarfed from Tom Distler's page, How to connect Linux to a Cisco VPN using a PCF file.

(2) ..thanks to a page at Georgia Tech, from which this page was adapted

(3) or from the main desktop menu, click System->Preferences->Network Connections and select the VPN tab. OR from the main desktop menu, click Settings Manager->Hardware->Network Connections. One of these (or something like them) should get you in the ballpark. (Don't you just love the Linux desktop Zoo???)


Last Updated

2013-08-01