Remotely manage a Sonicwall firewall over a VPN tunnel

Earlier I was looking to remotely manage a Sonicwall firewall via HTTPS over a VPN tunnel that I had established to the device. In order to do this firstly select ‘VPN’ in the Sonicwall’s menu, the ‘Settings’ section should then be highlighted. Click the ‘configure’ button for the VPN tunnel that you want to manage the device over, which will open the settings screen for that VPN Policy. Next click the ‘Advanced’ tab, and look for the section labelled ‘Management via this SA’.  Check the boxes for protocols that you wish to manage the device over, and click OK, as shown below.

Allow remote management via HTTPS and SSH over a VPN tunnel on a Sonicwall Firewall

Allow remote management via HTTPS and SSH over a VPN tunnel on a Sonicwall Firewall

Allow telnet, SSH, or HTTPS remote management on a Cisco 800 series using a Zone Based Firewall

I have recently installed some Cisco 877 routers at some of our branch offices, and wanted to allow remote management of these devices from the LAN at our central location over the VPN. With the Zone based firewall enabled there is no access allowed to the ‘Self’ zone from remote locations by default, as you would expect. This process is pretty straightforward when you are using Cisco PIX or ASA firewalls as you can use the management-access inside command, and then easily define which subnets you want to be able to access which remote management tools. There is no equivalent command when using an IOS router, so you need to configure the appropriate access list, class map, and policy map

In this example the site to site VPN is already configured as is the zone based firewall which was configured by SDM. The following subnets are defined for the LANs at each location: – This is the head office LAN subnet which I want to allow access to the remote router over the VPN tunnel – This is the branch office LAN subnet which is attached to the Cisco 877

The ip address of the 877 router at the branch office is:

Firstly, create an access list to define which services you want to allow access to, from the head office subnet:

router(config)# ip access-list extended remote-manage

router(config-ext-nacl)# permit tcp host eq 22

This allows SSH access from the subnet to the router

router(config-ext-nacl)# permit tcp host eq telnet

This allows telnet access from the subnet to the router

router(config-ext-nacl)# permit tcp host eq 443

This allows HTTPS access from the subnet to the router

Next, create the following class maps:

router(config)# class-map type inspect match-any remote-manage

router(config-cmap)# match access-group name remote-manage

router(config)# class-map type inspect match-any router-access

router(config-cmap)# match class-map remote-manage

Finally, add this policy map

router(config)# policy-map type inspect sdm-permit

router(config-pmap)#class type inspect router-access

router(config-pmap-c)# inspect

You should now be able to telnet, SSH and use SDM to access the router from the head office subnet. If you need to allow any other subnets or hosts to access the router remotely simply add them to the access-list you created earlier. It could be that you want to allow SSH access to the external Internet facing IP of the router which you could do by adding the following (where X.X.X.X is the external IP of the router):

router(config)# ip access-list extended remote-manage

router(config-ext-nacl)# permit tcp any host X.X.X.X eq 22

This would allow any Internet host to access the external IP of the router using SSH, although it would be preferable to lock this down to specific IP addresses or subnets that you already own.

Enable ssh on a Cisco PIX firewall

To enable ssh on a Cisco Pix firewall, firstly make sure you have set a hostname and domain name:

pixfirewall(config)#hostname myfirewall

myfirewall(config)# domain-name oasysadmin.local

Set an enable password and telnet password:

myfirewall(config)# enable password 3n48lePa55word

myfirewall(config)# passwd t3ln3tPa55word

Next generate an RSA key pair by issuing the following command:

myfirewall(config)# ca generate rsa key 2048

Then save the key:

myfirewall(config)# ca save all

Next specify the hosts or networks that you want to be able to access the device through ssh:

ssh inside

Finally use an ssh client such as Putty to access your device, specifying pix as the username and your telnet password as the password.


Quick basic configuration of a Cisco ASA firewall for custom IP address and ASDM access

Here are a few quick commands to wipe a Cisco ASA series firewall, resetting it to factory defaults, and then enabling the device for an IP address on your own subnet rather than the default, as well as setting up ASDM and telnet and ssh access. This gives you a very basic configuration from which you can access the device. First connect to the device via the console port and run the following commands to wipe the device:

ciscoasa> enable

ciscoasa# conf t

ciscoasa(config)# configure factory-default

Once the device has loaded the default configuration, disable DHCP on the inside interface to prevent the device dishing out IP addresses. This may not be relevant in your environment but in ours DHCP is provided elsewhere:

ciscoasa(config)# no dhcpd enable inside

ciscoasa(config)# no dhcpd address inside

Set the ip address for the inside LAN on interface vlan1 if this is the vlan you are using for the inside network:

ciscoasa(config)# int vlan1

ciscoasa(config-if)# ip address

ciscoasa(config-if)# exit

Enable the http server, and allow access from the inside subnet

ciscoasa(config)# http server enable

ciscoasa(config)# http inside

Configure the local AAA authentication database and create a new user account to log in to ASDM with:

ciscoasa(config)# aaa authentication http console LOCAL

ciscoasa(config)# username oasysadmin password Pa55word

Enable telnet and/or ssh on the inside interface if required:

ciscoasa(config)# telnet inside

ciscoasa(config)# ssh inside

ciscoasa(config)# aaa authentication ssh console LOCAL

Set the enable password

ciscoasa(config)# enable password Pa55word

Save the configuration and reload

ciscoasa(config)# write mem

ciscoasa(config)# exit

ciscoasa# reload

Enabling root SSH access on an ESX host over the network

This post explains how to enable root SSH access on an VMware ESX host over the network, when you don’t have physical access to the server console. Root SSH access is disabled by default. Before enabling root SSH access please assess any security implications of this action in your environment.

Firstly, use the vSphere client to access the host directly. i.e. connect directly to the IP address or hostname of the host rather than logging in to vCenter. Log in using the root account. Once logged in highlight the ESX host in the left pane of the screen, and then click on the local users and groups tab in the right hand pane of the screen, as shown below:

local users and groups

Right click anywhere in the list of users and choose ‘Add’. Enter the details for your new user account as shown below, making sure that you tick the ‘Grant shell access to this user’ check box. You will also need to specify a password of more than 8 characters:

Add a local user to an ESX host

You can use an SSH client like Putty to connect to your ESX host. You may find that when you initally try to connect to the ESX host via SSH that you are still unable to connect and recieve an ‘Access Denied’ message. If this is the case, you need to give Administrator access to the host to your newly created user. In the vSphere client click on the ‘Permissions’ tab, in the right hand pane of the screen as shown here:

ESX host permissions

Right click in the list of users and choose ‘Add Permission’. Select the user you created and assign Administrator permissions, as shown:

Add local user permissions

Now you should find you can use your SSH client client to successfully log in to the ESX host. Once you are logged in using this user account you can use the su command to elevate your privileges to the root user.

Logging in using SSH

Now you have root access edit the /etc/ssh/sshd_config file by issuing the following command:

nano /etc/ssh/sshd_config

Find the line in the file which says:

PermitRootLogin no

and change it to:

PermitRootLogin yes

Press Ctrl-O, and then press Enter to save the file, and then press Ctrl-X to exit the file. Restart the sshd service by issuing the following command:

/etc/init.d/sshd restart

Quit your SSH session and start a new one , this time logging in as the root user. Root SSH access is now enabled.

Log in as root

You may want to delete the user account (in this example ‘testuser’) you created earlier at this stage, as it is no longer required.