Hrmm my ISP used to give me this problem sometimes when dialing with my "unsupported" (i.e. not Windows9x, one Win 3.1 box and the Linux box) dialers that actually allowed me to see the exchange. I don't know if the 95 DUN dialler got hung up on it, or if it knows some trick to get in anyhow. At any rate the ISP tech support people are quite clueless - they swore that this was impossible, that I couldn't be seeing this, that nothing on their network put out such a prompt. Digging around myself a bit I found that ascend was a hardware manufacturer (www.ascend.com, now absorbed into Lucent Internetworking,) presumably it was their hardware I was talking to, and it was misconfigured - I think that what you are seeing is actually a login prompt for administrators to remotely configure the hardware. I remember when I searched on it I found a CERT advisory (pretty sure it was CERT) about ascend hardware of some sort (routers?) having a problem with sticking up a login prompt when they shouldn't, and using a default password that was often not changed. I never tried to crack them though. And I am no networking hardware guru, I could be totally wrong.
The only fix I ever found was to just keep dialing. Eventually I would get the proper prompt and my ppp connection. The strange thing is, I haven't seen the ascend% prompt in months, but instead I see this prompt roughly as often (unlike the ascend% prompt this one doesn't follow the user/password login, but comes up straight away:
I can only guess that they have different hardware now, and it is misconfigured as well. The tech support people are just as baffled as before, and still claim that what I am describing is impossible. These people scare me - they really can't conceive of a computer that isn't running Windows9x-or 2000. Any mention of it goes right over their heads. But they are confident they are technical gods, networking gurus of the highest order, and are not shy about telling you so.
Anyhow, I have to think there must be a real networking hardware guru, or at least a li'l guru's assistant around here, please, someone, fill us in on this.
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