Mac, a racoon, and no more VPN connection

cisco VPN client for Mac stops working

A configuration error occured when connecting to Cisco VPN with Mac

On too many occasions my new MacBook Pro will no longer connect to my work’s  Cisco IPSec VPN.  The error message displayed is not very helpful, it simply says:

“A configuration error occured. Verify your settings and try reconnecting”

I have been unable to determine a pattern of when this happens, but it seems to occur quite often when bringing the laptop out of sleep.  Although, it does happen at other times as well.  Rebooting has appeared to help, but the whole reason I bought a Mac was because I was sick of having to reboot my PC everyday.

After a little investigation, I determined that there is a process called “racoon” which is responsible for the VPN connection.  – it performs key exchange operations to set up IPSec tunnels. The Apple MAN pages say that racoon speaks the IKE (ISAKMP/Oakley) key management protocol, to establish security associations with other hosts.  If you Kill it (using kill or activity monitor), your VPN will start working again.

You can also do :

~ :? ps -ef | grep racoon
0  5861     1   0   0:00.09 ??         0:00.15 /usr/sbin/racoon
~ :? sudo kill 5861
~ :? ps ax | grep racoon
<wait until it shuts down. sometimes you may need to SIGKILL it (kill -9 <pid>)>
~ :? sudo /usr/sbin/racoon
~ :? ps -ef | grep racoon
0  6786     1   0   0:00.08 ??         0:00.15 /usr/sbin/racoon -x

Some folks have also reported that running multiple copies of racoon can also cause the problem.  In that case, kill all.  The Mac VPN client will auto-restart as needed.

Works on OSX 10.6.5 and 10.6.6


3 thoughts on “Mac, a racoon, and no more VPN connection

  1. Paul

    You can use this command to stop

    “sudo launchctl stop ”


    “sudo launchctl stop ”

    to start. Hope that helps

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