Secure Remote Access: Connect with Cisco (Mac)


The Secure Remote Access service can be used by University students, faculty, and staff to access restricted University online resources when off campus or while using Wireless PittNet. These resources include data on departmental servers or databases.

A separate, supplemental VPN service is also available to meet more specialized needs. It provides the same functionality as the Secure Remote Access service but requires installation of the Cisco IPSec VPN client.

The instructions in this document explain how to configure your Mac OS 10.5 or higher to use the built-in IPSec VPN client.

Connection Requirements

You must be approved by your Responsibility Center Account Administrator to access restricted network resources using Secure Remote Access with the IPSec VPN client. Contact the Technology Help Desk at 412-624-HELP [4357] to request the service.

Prior to using the built-in IPSec VPN application, you must obtain the following:

•  a network connect role (configured by the Technology Help Desk)

•  a pre-shared text key (provided by your department’s IT administrator or  Responsibility Center administrator)

•  group name information (provided by your department’s IT administrator or  Responsibility Center administrator)

 Your computer must be running Mac OS 10.5 or higher.

Configure the IPSec VPN Client

1.  Click the Apple menu and select System Preferences. In the Internet and Wireless category, select Network.


2.  Click the plus sign option in the bottom left-hand corner to add a new network connection.


3.  Enter the following:

a.  Interface: VPN

b.  VPN Type: Cisco IPSec

c.  Service Name: PittNet VPN


4.  Click the Create button.

5.  Enter the following:

a.  Server Address:

b.  Account Name:  your University Computing Account username

c.  Password: Leave this set to “Server will prompt for password”

d.  Make sure the box next to Show VPN status in menu bar is checked.

6.  Click the Authentication Settings… button.

7.  Enter the following:

a.   Shared Secret: Your department’s pre-shared text key or shared password

b.  Group Name: Your department’s group name

8.  Click the OK button.

9.  Click the check box for Show VPN status in menu bar.


10.  The IPSec VPN option will display in your list of network connections.

Establish a Secure Connection

1.  Click the VPN icon in the menu bar. Select Connect PittNet VPN, where PittNet VPN is the service name you selected in step 3 above.


2.  Enter your University Computing Account username and password when prompted and click the OK button.


 3.  A VPN icon will display in your menu bar once the connection has been established.

4.  Start the application that requires a secure connection, such as a database client or Web application.

Disconnect from the Service

1.  Close any applications that are using the secure connection.

2.  Click the VPN icon in your menu bar. Select Disconnect MY VPN, where MY VPN is the service name you selected.


Note: You may use the Secure Remote Access Service for up to four hours at a time or may be idle up to 30 minutes before you will be automatically disconnected from the service.

Tags: Secure Remote Access Mac