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Ask the Expert: Configuring and Troubleshooting AnyConnect Client features

Community Manager
Community Manager

Rahul Govindan

Welcome to the Cisco Support Community Ask the Expert conversation. Learn from Cisco expert Rahul Govindanto how to configure and troubleshoot the various AnyConnect client features including features using Anyconnect xml profiles such as Start Before Logon (SBL), on-connect scripting, certificate authentication etc as well as specific features on the Adaptive Security Appliances (ASA) such as Cisco Secure Desktop (CSD) /Hostscan and Dynamic access policies (DAP).

Rahul Govindan has been an engineer with the Security Technical Assistance Center team in Bangalore for more than three years. He works on security technologies such as VPN, Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance firewalls, and authentication authorization & accounting. His particular expertise is in Secure Sockets Layer VPN and IP Security VPN technologies. He holds CCIE certification (#29948) in the Security domain.

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25 Replies 25


I guess the reason you are not seeing the drop down yet is because you are failing certificate authentication and thus it never gets to the stage where it prompts you for the password. So I think the problem lies in the certificate authentcation stage for the connection. Could you post a snippet of your tunnel-group and group-policy to confirm?

The debug should only come up when the certificate is trying to authenticate so should not be too intensive to the ASA. You should probably see this message if it works:

CRYPTO_PKI: Certificate validation: Successful



Hi Rahul,

This is the configuration

tunnel-group ANYCONNECT_GP_CERT type remote-access

tunnel-group ANYCONNECT_GP_CERT general-attributes

address-pool iPhoneGrp

authentication-server-group NET_ACS

default-group-policy ANNYCONNECT_CP_CERT

tunnel-group ANYCONNECT_GP_CERT webvpn-attributes

authentication aaa certificate

group-alias ANYCONNECT_GP_CERT enable

group-policy ANNYCONNECT_CP_CERT internal

group-policy ANNYCONNECT_CP_CERT attributes

vpn-tunnel-protocol svc webvpn

group-lock value ANYCONNECT_GP_CERT

address-pools value iPhoneGrp

Do i have to enable "logging buffered debugging" in order to see logs from command "debug cry ca 255"?

Thank you

Config looks good. If you are on a terminal session, it should show up with terminal monitor enabled. You might just want to turn off logging monitor in case you have a large number of syslogs turning up.





please can you indicate when Cisco AnyConnect client allows native IPv6 VPN connections ?

As I kwon access to IPv6 resources is now done over a public IPv4 connection.

Hi Roberto,

Native ipv6 connection support for Anyconnect should be from the 3.1 release onwards. This release should be available on CCO post July (tentative).





Perfect timing for me. I've recently had the Anyconnect SSL VPN pushed on me. I write down questions as they come up and when I have time I research them. This is a great opportunity to get some knocked off the list. The majority of my questions seem focused around dual-factor authentication using user certificates. I'd love to never use them again! Thank you for the time.

1. When we have multiple client authentication certificates installed in either the computer or user personal folder Anyconnect doesn't prompt for a certificate selection. If we hit the head-end through the browser we are prompted to select any of the client authentication certificates installed.

-Where and What do I modify in some xml file to enable certificate selection using the Anyconect client?

2. When using Windows 7 in a domain we've noticed when installing client authentication certificates into the a users personal folder can create problems. When the user is force to change their password (not when user initiated) the client certificate used in the dual-factor authentication fails. If this same certificate was installed in the machine personal certificate store, when passwords are forced to be changed the certificate continues to be accessible and used.

-Whats up with that? Have you seen any TAC cases like this?

3.So far I've been lucky and all the ASA's I've had to configure I've been able to use the local CA with signed certs. In the future I see this changing. When I use a Certificate Authority (say Thawte) they will issue an ID cert based off my public IP. Now when I go to generate the user certs, for dual-factor authentication will I still need to create a local ca to authenticate the users certs? Correct? Or do I issue client certs off the certificate issued from the Thawte Certificate?

4. Is their a debug document (with a signal flow chart (that would be sweet)) that shows every interaction when using dual-factor authentication with the local CA?  

5. When you mentioned debug crypto ca 255. I began to wonder about the different levels when choosing debug. Should 255 be used with most debug commands?

6. When deploying Anyconnect to mobile devices (Android or Apple IOS) are their any gotchas one should look out for?

-an example from a recent experience I'll give is, when using an Apple device if your importing the ASA head-end ID cert. it has to be in der encoding. I eventually found this in a Cisco Doc and used openssl to convert it.

Those are all for now. Thanks for taking the time.


Hi Newt,

Thanks for your questions. Answers posted below:

1. Yes, you need a setting in the client profile to achieve this and it Automatic certificate Selection is enabled by default (you wont be prompted). In order to change this, check the Disable Automatic Certificate selection option under the Preferences (Part2) section on the ASDM profile editor. The xml tag for the same is


2. Frankly, I haven't seen this sort of issue before. But a few questions I do have. How did you know the password had to be changed, did any logs come up on the ASA? And at point during the connection did it fail, after you entered uname and passwd? And what aaa server did you use?

3. Now the CA servers for the client and server need not be the same for authentication. Each side does the validation of the peer certificate independently. So if you use Thwate for the ASAs certificate and local CA server for clients, the clients will be able to validate the ASA cert because it already has the Thwate root certs in its cert store (for most public CAs) and the ASA wil be able to validate the clients cert because it has the root cert that you created when you enabled the LOCAL CA feature. So this is most definately possible. Most common deployments have internal CAs generating client certs and a public cert for the ASA from a well known CA. In the case of SSL, Local CA server serves as a good substitute for internal CA server.

4. Unfortunately there isn't one. But I will soon be posting a doc on pki on CSC, where I will cover details on certificate and dual factor authentication also. For now this document will help to understand a bit more on the dual factor auth process

5. I had this question long ago So basically the levels are different for different commands. But in most cases the debug level 255 gives you the most detailed ( sometimes packet dumps ) . I would not recommend you to run 255 levels for all commands because in many case you probably would end up having too many debugs which doesn make sense. I would say a level of 11 should suffice in most cases (any value between 11-254 is the same level for most debugs)

6. You might want to check out the details on devices supported for Android, coz there are a few which aren't supported. Also there was an issue with certificates not visible on the apple Anyconnect store in a recent app release. But I believe that should be fixed in the latest release. So you might just want to make sure everyone is one the new release for Anyconnect. Othere than these, there is nothing that is a major standout in these devices for Anyconnect. But again, with changes made to devices and OS, there might be issues as some of these changes don't go well with the Anyconnect app.


Thanks for answering my questions. About question 2.

2. It was a situation where the customer needed it to work and they didn't care about me understanding why it wasn't working. I made it work as described, just installing the certs on the machine store. I have no logs, but I could probably reproduce problem. I'll run through the scenario.

I login to a laptop with a user account (say Newt). I setup the laptop with Anyconnect. The ID cert goes into users Trusted Root folder and the user certificate went into users Personal folder. They open Anyconnect and get their group pre-populated (because it has checked for the user cert) and they can log in. I close out Anyconnnect and logout. I login as admin and go to users I then force the user (Newt) to change their password on next login. I log out and login (as Newt) and the have to change the password on next login. I change the password and have the desktop. I then open Anyconnect. My group is not pre-populating indicating my user certificate is not being located from my personal folder. I try to login, but the prompt is just returned with no error message. If I went through the process and reinstalled the user cert with the OTP it works.

7. I've noticed Anyconnect 3.0 seems more independent than 2.5 when it comes to IE settings. For example if you don't have Use SSL 3.0, TLS 1.0, TLS 1.1 or TLS 1.2 selected in the Advanced Tab of IE you can still connect using TLSv1 if your running Anyconnect 3.0. If you were running Anyconnect 2.5 you get a message in Anyconnnect indicating “Connection attempt failed. Please try again.”

-is Anyconnect 3.0 completely independent of IE settings?

8. When you are working any Anyconnect problem connecting to the VPN head end and it's a couple of machines, but not the majority. How do you organize your troubleshooting? Are you best serve by mastering the understanding of what a good connection looks like in the event logs?

Hi Newt,

2. Now I am able to understand the issue better. But unfortunately I haven't seen this issue before .It would be interesting to see if the AC is able to access the user certificate store after the password change. A good way to start troubleshooting is we can disable auto Cert selection and if we are getting any certs back at all. Also another step would be to try the same with the machine store on the laptop and see if we are still not able to detect the cert. IMHO, even with passwd change, there should be no restriction in cert access on any store. If you still have access to the setup , it would be good to open up a TAC case on this issue.

7. Yes. I believe this behavior has changed with the bug CSCtk08899. During the vpn connection process, there are multiple ssl sessions open (you probably would have noticed multiple cert prompts when using untrusted certs) and one of the them is the one for vpn downloader where checks are made to see if there is any change in image/xml file etc. Now this connection required the IE settings  that you mentioned and hence the failure. These settings are used as default as a part of the downloader process using Anyconnect connection with the 3.0 client (basically forces its use).

8. Good question. We do get a lot of issues where only few (sometimes even just one ) machines are affected. Now a good step always to go by with the DART of the working vs the non-working machine. In most cases, its usually when the end user installs certain applications or makes specific changes to the settings. The best way to understand what a good connection is to go through the Anyconnect files in the DART logs. The more you look into the steps that take place during a connection, the easier it is to figure out where exactly it is failing.




Afternoon Rahul,

Thanks for stepping up to answer our questions it is a great services to us.  We started using the AnyClient 3 client at the beginning of the year as part of SSL VPN and had no problem using our IP Communicators.  We have migrated to AnyClient with certificate authenication and now the IP Communicator sit at Configuring IP.  So far we can not find anything that would cause a certificate to break the IP phone stream.  Do you have any ideas to point us in the correct direction?


Hi pgustafson,

Hmm sounds interesting. Ideally, the certificate authentication should not have anything to the ip communicator control flow. Now a good way to start would be collect Wireshark captures on the vpn adapter to see where exactly the connectioin is broken. Is there any usage of certificates with the CM and the ip communicator itself? I am looking more into the direction that maybe the wrong certificate is being used for the connection between client and CM. But that again is with the limited knowledge with the CIPC call flow. IMO comparing good vs bad captures are the way to go for this one.  Have you done this already?



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