Converting Cisco Easy VPN .pcf files to Linux vpnc configuration format

Since I use Linux exclusively, and have to interface with clients using various Windows technologies, open standards are an important aspect of our tech-life. For example, we use OpenOffice to read Word/Excel/Powerpoint files, and so on.

One thing that comes infrequently is the need to login to a corporate virtual private network (VPN) that uses Cisco's Easy VPN.

The client would send me a .pcf, and since I use Linux and prefer the command line, I have to convert it into vpnc's format.

We found that the easiest way is programmatic, but involves a few steps of preparation.

The steps below assume that you are running Ubuntu 8.04 LTS, but should work pretty much the same for any Debian derived distro. Other distros differ only in the the vpnc configuration path, and the way you install the dependencies needed.

First, we get the pcf2vpnc converter program. This is a perl script.

# Get the pcf to vpnc configuration file converter
# Make it executable
chmod +x pcf2vpnc 
# Move it to a place in our path
mv pcf2vpnc /usr/local/bin/

The above script calls a decrypt program for the group password in the .pcf file. Therefore we need to get the program and compile it. This also involves installing some dependencies for it as well.

# Get the cisco decrypt program
# Get the dependencies needed for it
sudo aptitude install libgcrypt-dev libgpg-error-dev
# Compile it into a binary
gcc -Wall -o cisco-decrypt cisco-decrypt.c $(libgcrypt-config --libs --cflags)
# Move it to a place in our path
sudo mv cisco-decrypt /usr/local/bin

We are now ready to run the script against the .pcf file, and save it to a .conf file

# Run the converter, which will call the decrypt program
pcf2vpnc Client.pcf > client.conf

We then copy the converted configuration file to vpnc's configuration directory:

sudo cp client.conf /etc/vpnc

And finally, we test the configuration file by logging to the VPN:

sudo vpnc client

Further reading




Ubuntu working with easier steps

Hello Again everyone!

First I really appreciate your job, but I would like to make you know also other steps that I found easier in Ubuntu.

Using network-manager is pretty easy with graphical interface, just make these steps:

1 - install vpnc for network-manager:
sudo apt-get install network-manager-vpnc

2 - Restart computer (or network manager)
sudo service network-manager restart

3 - Import .pcf from graphical network manager config
Go to "Edit Connections" clicking on nm-applet icon
Go to VPN
Click Import

Use it from nm-applet!

Thanks very much for the

Thanks very much for the useful info ! Works like a charm.

I get this: vpnc: server

I get this:
vpnc: server requested domain, but none set (use "Domain ..." in config or --domain

I assume this needs to go in conf file? It is in the file but under IPsec gateway

Just comment for those using network-manager

In ubuntu I have installed sudo apt-get install network-manager-vpnc-gnome and then I was able to use "Import" feature in VPN settings for network-manger (nm-applet) to import pcf file (Cisco VPN Profile).
if it does not shows you the "group password", open the file with gedit and copy group password encrypted. Run cisco-decrypt xxxxxxkey (paste the key) it will show you the group password.

Works very nice and easy, you will be able to connect cisco-vpn from the graphical nm-applet.


Thanks for this.
Working fine on Opensuse 12.3

cisco vpn client on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS

Thanks This worked on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS except that I can't get the RSA soft token working on Ubuntu.

Right on!

This advice is still valid, the provided Links work. I have just successfully tried it on a Raspberry PI.
Thanks a lot!