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Configuring Passwords and Privileges

Configuring Passwords and Privileges

Using passwords and assigning privilege levels is a simple way of providing terminal access control in your network.

This chapter describes the following topics and tasks:

For a complete description of the commands used in this chapter, refer to the "Password and Privileges Commands" chapter in the Security Command Reference. To locate documentation of other commands that appear in this chapter, use the command reference master index or search online.

Protect Access to Privilege EXEC Commands

The following tasks provide a way to control access to the system configuration file and privilege EXEC (enable) commands:

Set or Change a Static Enable Password

To set or change a static password that controls access to privileged EXEC (enable) mode, use the following command in global configuration mode:
Command Purpose

enable password password

Establish a new password or change an existing password for the privileged command level.

For examples of how to define enable passwords for different privilege levels, see the "Multiple Levels of Privileges Examples" section at the end of this chapter.

Protect Passwords with Enable Password and Enable Secret

To provide an additional layer of security, particularly for passwords that cross the network or are stored on a TFTP server, you can use either the enable password or enable secret commands. Both commands accomplish the same thing; that is, they allow you to establish an encrypted password that users must enter to access enable mode (the default), or any privilege level you specify.

We recommend that you use the enable secret command because it uses an improved encryption algorithm. Use the enable password command only if you boot an older image of the Cisco IOS software, or if you boot older boot ROMs that do not recognize the enable secret command.

If you configure the enable secret command, it takes precedence over the enable password command; the two commands cannot be in effect simultaneously.

To configure the router to require an enable password, use either of the following commands in global configuration mode:
Command Purpose

enable password [level level] {password |
encryption-type encrypted-password}

or

enable secret [level level] {password | encryption-type encrypted-password}

Establish a password for a privilege command mode.

Specify a secret password, saved using a non-reversible encryption method. (If enable password and enable secret are both set, users must enter the enable secret password.)

Use either of these commands with the level option to define a password for a specific privilege level. After you specify the level and set a password, give the password only to users who need to have access at this level. Use the privilege level configuration command to specify commands accessible at various levels.

If you have the service password-encryption command enabled, the password you enter is encrypted. When you display it with the more system:running-config command, it is displayed in encrypted form.

If you specify an encryption type, you must provide an encrypted password---an encrypted password you copy from another router configuration.


Note You cannot recover a lost encrypted password. You must clear NVRAM and set a new password. See the sections "Recover a Lost Enable Password" or "Recover a Lost Line Password" in this chapter if you have lost or forgotten your password.

Set or Change a Line Password

To set or change a password on a line, use the following command in global configuration mode:
Command Purpose

password password

Establish a new password or change an existing password for the privileged command level.

Set TACACS Password Protection for Privilege EXEC Mode

You can set the TACACS protocol to determine whether a user can access privileged EXEC (enable) mode. To do so, use the following command in global configuration mode:
Command Purpose

enable use-tacacs

Set the TACACS-style user ID and password-checking mechanism at the privileged EXEC level.

When you set TACACS password protection at the privilege EXEC mode, the enable EXEC command prompts for both a new username and a password. This information is then passed to the TACACS server for authentication. If you are using the extended TACACS, it also passes any existing UNIX user identification code to the TACACS server.

Caution If you use the enable use-tacacs command, you must also specify tacacs-server authenticate enable, or you will be locked out of the privilege EXEC (enable) mode.

Note When used without extended TACACS, the enable use-tacacs command allows anyone with a valid username and password to access the privileged EXEC mode, creating a potential security problem. This occurs because the TACACS query resulting from entering the enable command is indistinguishable from an attempt to log in without extended TACACS.

Encrypt Passwords

Because protocol analyzers can examine packets (and read passwords), you can increase access security by configuring the Cisco IOS software to encrypt passwords. Encryption prevents the password from being readable in the configuration file.

To configure the Cisco IOS software to encrypt passwords, use the following command in global configuration mode:
Command Purpose

service password-encryption

Encrypt a password.

The actual encryption process occurs when the current configuration is written or when a password is configured. Password encryption is applied to all passwords, including authentication key passwords, the privileged command password, console and virtual terminal line access passwords, and BGP neighbor passwords. The service password-encryption command is primarily useful for keeping unauthorized individuals from viewing your password in your configuration file.

Caution The service password-encryption command does not provide a high level of network security. If you use this command, you should also take additional network security measures.

Although you cannot recover a lost encrypted password (that is, you cannot get the original password back), you can recover from a lost encrypted password. See the sections "Recover a Lost Enable Password" or "Recover a Lost Line Password" in this chapter if you have lost or forgotten your password.

Configure Multiple Privilege Levels

By default, the Cisco IOS software has two modes of password security: user mode (EXEC) and privilege mode (enable). You can configure up to 16 hierarchical levels of commands for each mode. By configuring multiple passwords, you can allow different sets of users to have access to specified commands.

For example, if you want the configure command to be available to a more restricted set of users than the clear line command, you can assign level 2 security to the clear line command and distribute the level 2 password fairly widely, and assign level 3 security to the configure command and distribute the password to level 3 commands to fewer users.

The following tasks describe how to configure additional levels of security:

Set the Privilege Level for a Command

To set the privilege level for a command, use the following commands in global configuration mode:
Step Command Purpose

1 . 

privilege mode level level command

Set the privilege level for a command.

2 . 

enable password level level [encryption-type] password

Specify the enable password for a privilege level.

Change the Default Privilege Level for Lines

To change the default privilege level for a given line or a group of lines, use the following command in line configuration mode:
Command Purpose

privilege level level

Specify a default privilege level for a line.

Display Current Privilege Levels

To display the current privilege level you can access based on the password you used, use the following command in EXEC mode:
Command Purpose

show privilege

Display your current privilege level.

Log In to a Privilege Level

To log in to a router at a specified privilege level, use the following command in EXEC mode:
Command Purpose

enable level

Log in to a specified privilege level.

To exit to a specified privilege level, use the following command in EXEC mode:
Command Purpose

disable level

Exit to a specified privilege level.

Recover a Lost Enable Password

You can restore access to enable mode on a router when the password is lost using one of the three procedures described in this section. The procedure you use depends on your router platform.

You can perform password recovery on most of the platforms without changing hardware jumpers, but all platforms require the configuration to be reloaded. Password recovery can be done only from the console port on the router. Table 24 shows which password recovery procedure to use with each router platform.


Table 24: Platform-Specific Password Recovery Procedures
Password Recovery Procedure Router Platform

Password Recovery Procedure 1

Cisco 2000 series

Cisco 2500 series

Cisco 3000 series

Cisco 4000 series with 680x0 Motorola CPU

Cisco 7000 series running Cisco IOS Release 10.0 or later in ROMs installed on the RP card

IGS series running Cisco Release IOS 9.1 or later in ROMs

Password Recovery Procedure 2

Cisco 1003

Cisco 1600 series

Cisco 3600 series

Cisco 4500 series

Cisco 7200 series

Cisco 7500 series

IDT Orion-based routers

AS5200 and AS5300 platforms

Password Recovery Process

Both password recovery procedures involve the following basic steps:

Step 1 Configure the router to boot up without reading the configuration memory (NVRAM). This is sometimes called the test system mode.

Step 2 Reboot the system.

Step 3 Access enable mode (which can be done without a password if you are in test system mode).

Step 4 View or change the password, or erase the configuration.

Step 5 Reconfigure the router to boot up and read the NVRAM as it normally does.

Step 6 Reboot the system.


Note Some password recovery requires that a terminal issue a Break signal; you must be familiar with how your terminal or PC terminal emulator issues this signal. For example, in ProComm, the keys Alt-B by default generates the Break signal, and in a Windows terminal you press Break or CTRL-Break. A Windows terminal also allows you to define a function key as a BREAK signal. To do so, select function keys from the Terminal window and define one as Break by entering the characters ^$B  (Shift 6, Shift 4, and uppercase B).

Password Recovery Procedure 1

Use this procedure to recover lost passwords on the following Cisco routers:

To recover a password using Procedure 1, perform the following steps:

Step 1 Attach a terminal or PC with terminal emulation software to the console port of the router.

Step 2 Enter the show version command and record the setting of the configuration register. It is usually 0x2102 or 0x102.

The configuration register value is on the last line of the display. Note whether the configuration register is set to enable Break or disable Break.

The factory-default configuration register value is 0x2102. Notice that the third digit from the left in this value is 1, which disables Break. If the third digit is not 1, Break is enabled.

Step 3 Turn off the router, then turn it on.

Step 4 Press the Break key on the terminal within 60 seconds of turning on the router.

The rommon> prompt with no router name appears. If it does not appear, the terminal is not sending the correct Break signal. In that case, check the terminal or terminal emulation setup.

Step 5 Enter o/r0x42 at the rommon> prompt to boot from Flash memory or o/r0x41 to boot from the boot ROMs.


Note The first character is the letter o, not the numeral zero. If you have Flash memory and it is intact, 0x42 is the best setting. Use 0x41 only if the Flash memory is erased or not installed. If you use 0x41, you can only view or erase the configuration. You cannot change the password.

Step 6 At the rommon> prompt, enter the initialize command to initialize the router.

This causes the router to reboot but ignore its saved configuration and use the image in Flash memory instead. The system configuration display appears.


Note If you normally use the boot network command, or if you have multiple images in Flash memory and you boot a non-default image, the image in Flash might be different.

Step 7 Enter no in response to the System Configuration Dialog prompts until the following message appears:

Step 8 Press Return.

The Router> prompt appears.

Step 9 Enter the enable command.

The Router# prompt appears.

Step 10 Choose one of the following options:


Note The enable secret command provides increased security by storing the enable secret password using a non-reversible cryptographic function; however, you cannot recover a lost password that has been encrypted.

Step 11 Enter the configure terminal command at the EXEC prompt to enter configuration mode.

Step 12 Enter the config-register command and whatever value you recorded in Step 2.

Step 13 Press Ctrl-Z to quit from the configuration editor.

Step 14 Enter the reload command at the privileged EXEC prompt and issue the write memory command to save the configuration.

Password Recovery Procedure 2

Use this procedure to recover lost passwords on the following Cisco routers:

To recover a password using Procedure 2, perform the following steps:

Step 1 Attach a terminal or PC with terminal emulation software to the console port of the router.

Step 2 Enter the show version command and record the setting of the configuration register. It is usually 0x2102 or 0x102.

The configuration register value is on the last line of the display. Note whether the configuration register is set to enable Break or disable Break.

The factory-default configuration register value is 0x2102. Notice that the third digit from the left in this value is 1, which disables Break. If the third digit is not 1, Break is enabled.

Step 3 Turn off the router, then turn it on.

Step 4 Press the Break key on the terminal within 60 seconds of turning on the router.

The rommon> prompt appears. If it does not appear, the terminal is not sending the correct Break signal. In that case, check the terminal or terminal emulation setup.

Step 5 Enter the confreg command at the rommon> prompt.

The following prompt appears:

Step 6 Enter yes and press Return.

Step 7 Enter no to subsequent questions until the following prompt appears:

Step 8 Enter yes.

Step 9 Enter no to subsequent questions until the following prompt appears:

Step 10 Enter yes.

The following prompt appears:

Step 11 At this prompt, either enter 2 and press Return if Flash memory or, if Flash memory is erased, enter 1. If Flash memory is erased, the Cisco 4500 must be returned to Cisco for service. If you enter 1, you can only view or erase the configuration. You cannot change the password.

A configuration summary is displayed and the following prompt appears:

Step 12 Answer no and press Return.

The following prompt appears:

Step 13 Enter the reload command at the privileged EXEC prompt or, for Cisco 4500 series and Cisco 7500 series routers, power cycle the router.

Step 14 As the router boots, enter no to all the setup questions until the following prompt appears:

Step 15 Enter the enable command to enter enable mode.

The Router# prompt appears.

Step 16 Choose one of the following options:


Note The enable secret command provides increased security by storing the enable secret password using a non-reversible cryptographic function; however, you cannot recover a lost password that has been encrypted.

Step 17 Enter the configure terminal command at the prompt.

Step 18 Enter the config-register command and whatever value you recorded in Step 2.

Step 19 Press Ctrl-Z to quit from the configuration editor.

Step 20 Enter the reload command at the prompt and issue the write memory command to save the configuration.

Recover a Lost Line Password

If your router has the nonvolatile memory option, you can accidentally lock yourself out of enable mode if you enable password checking on the console terminal line and then forget the line password. To recover a lost line password, perform the following steps:

Step 1 Force the router into factory diagnostic mode.

See the hardware installation and maintenance publication for your product for specific information about setting the processor configuration register to factory diagnostic mode. Table 25 summarizes the hardware or software settings required by various products to set factory diagnostic mode.

Step 2 Enter Yes when asked if you want to set the manufacturers' addresses.

The following prompt appears:

Step 3 Issue the enable command to enter enable mode:

Step 4 Enter the more nvram:startup-config command to review the system configuration and find the password. Do not change anything in the factory diagnostic mode.

Step 5 To resume normal operation, restart the router or reset the configuration register.

Step 6 Log in to the router with the password that was shown in the configuration file.


Note All debugging capabilities are turned on during diagnostic mode.

See the hardware installation and maintenance publication for your product for specific information about configuring the processor configuration register for factory diagnostic mode. Table 25 summarizes the hardware or software settings required by the various products to set factory diagnostic mode.


Table 25: Factory Diagnostic Mode Settings for the Configuration Register
Platform Setting

Modular products

Set jumper in bit 15 of the processor configuration register, then restart; remove the jumper when finished.

Cisco AS5100

Cisco AS5200

Cisco AS5300

Cisco 1600 series

Cisco 2500 series

Cisco 3000 series

Cisco 3600 series

Cisco 4000 series

Cisco 4500 series

Cisco 7000 series

Cisco 7200 series

Cisco 7500 series

Use the config-register command to set the processor configuration register to 0x8000, then initialize and boot the system. Use the reload command to restart and set the processor configuration register to 0x2102 when finished.

Configure Identification Support

Identification support allows you to query a Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) port for identification. This feature enables an unsecure protocol, described in RFC  1413, to report the identity of a client initiating a TCP connection and a host responding to the connection. With identification support, you can connect a TCP port on a host, issue a simple text string to request information, and receive a simple text-string reply.

To configure identification support, use the following command in global configuration mode:
Command Purpose

ip identd

Enable identification support.

Passwords and Privileges Configuration Examples

This section describes multiple privilege level and username authentication examples and contains the following sections:

Multiple Levels of Privileges Examples

This section provides examples of using multiple privilege levels to specify who can access different sets of commands.

Allow Users to Clear Lines Examples

If you want to allow users to clear lines, you can do either of the following:

privilege exec level 1 clear line


enable password level 2 pswd2
privilege exec level 2 clear line

Define an Enable Password for System Operators Examples

In the following example, you define an enable password for privilege level 10 for system operators and make clear and debug commands available to anyone with that privilege level enabled.

enable password level 10 pswd10
privilege exec level 10 clear line
privilege exec level 10 debug ppp chap
privilege exec level 10 debug ppp error
privilege exec level 10 debug ppp negotiation

The following example lowers the privilege level of the more system:running-config command and most configuration commands to operator level so that the configuration can be viewed by an operator. It leaves the privilege level of the configure command at 15. Individual configuration commands are displayed in the more system:running-config output only if the privilege level for a command has been lowered to 10. Users are allowed to see only those commands that have a privilege level less than or equal to their current privilege level.

enable password level 15 pswd15
privilege exec level 15 configure
enable password level 10 pswd10
privilege exec level 10 more system:running-config

Disable a Privilege Level Example

In the following example, the show ip route command is set to privilege level 15. To keep all show  ip and show commands from also being set to privilege level 15, these commands are specified to be privilege level 1.

privilege exec level 15 show ip route
privilege exec level 1 show ip
privilege exec level 1 show

Username Examples

The following sample configuration sets up secret passwords on Routers A, B, and C, to enable the three routers to connect to each other.

To authenticate connections between Routers A and B, enter the following commands:

On Router A:

username B password a-b_secret

On Router B:

username A password a-b_secret

To authenticate connections between Routers A and C, enter the following commands:

On Router A:

username C password a-c_secret

On Router C:

username A password a-c_secret

To authenticate connections between Routers B and C, enter the following commands:

On Router B:

username C password b-c_secret

On Router C:

username B password b-c_secret

For example, suppose you enter the following command:

username bill password westward

The system displays this command as follows:

username bill password 7 21398211

The encrypted version of the password is 21398211. The password was encrypted by the Cisco-defined encryption algorithm, as indicated by the "7."

However, if you enter the following command, the system determines that the password is already encrypted and performs no encryption. Instead, it displays the command exactly as you entered it:

username bill password 7 21398211
username bill password 7 21398211


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