I recently had troubles connecting to a VPN provider that pre-generates a password for the user. Configuring PPTP client on Linux following this page was easy, but I could not get authenticated, was getting “E=691 authentication failures”. The keyword “special characters” and the presence of the hash (#) character in my password was too obvious to ignore.

This is the quote from pppd manual:

A secrets file is parsed into words as for a options file, so the client name, server name and secrets fields must each be one word, with any embedded spaces or other special characters quoted or escaped. Note that case is significant in the client and server names and in the secret.

OK, this one was easy: if you have any special characters in your VPN password in /etc/ppp/chap-secrets - escape them individually with a backslash (\) or quote the entire password. Be careful with the quotes in the quoted password :)

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13 April 2013