VPN Client on Linux Mint

I’ve been meaning to post this for a while. This is more for me than for the public so that I will remember what I did to get a VPN client running on my Linux Mint 10.

Since I am a Systems Administrator a lot of my work can be done from my desk, when I am not building new servers or troubleshooting hardware issues. Thanks to the powers where I work I am allowed to work from home from time to time. In the past, before I made the switch to Linux full-time, I used the Cisco VPN client on my Windows machine. Since moving to Linux, I needed a VPN client that worked with our Cisco ASA 5500 and then a good Windows RDP client to remote into my work computer once connected to my work network.

I searched around for a while and finally found a good client for Linux Mint called VPNC. You can find it in the Software Manager or by typing the following at the terminal:

sudo apt-get install vpnc

Of course after installing this I had to work with the Network Engineers in my IT department to configure my profile on the Cisco ASA. Once that was done I needed to edit the config file for VPNC found here:

/etc/vpnc/default.conf

The configuration looked something like this (excerpt of my file):

IPSec gateway IP address goes here
IPSec ID identification goes here
IPSec secret secret password goes here
#IKE Authmode hybrid
Xauth username username goes here
#Xauth password password goes here

Of course, the hash tags comment out the lines. I hashed the password so that I would be prompted once I connected to my corporate network for additional security. Then once I had a connection, validated by having a tun0 interface, I use Gnome-RDP for my remote connection to my work PC. That simple. The only problem is DNS on my personal computer. Since I am on Linux and not Windows my personal machine’s DNS does not get updated to the DNS at work. There are ways to fix this but I know the dynamic IP address of my computer at work so once that Gnome-RDP profile is created with that IP address, I don’t have to remember it. Also, if the IP address of my computer ever changes I know the IP address of our domain controllers/DNS/DHCP servers at work so I can connect to them to get the updated IP address of my workstation.

One issue I found with Gnome-RDP is that there is no clear way to exit out of full screen view of the RDP session. I found you have to select, on your keyboard, Ctrl-Alt-Enter to exit and enter full screen mode of Gnome-RDP.

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