How to Enable SSH on Cisco Switch, Router and ASA (Cisco 3750 Catalyst Switch)

By default, when you configure a Cisco device, you have to use the console cable and connect directly to the system to access it. Follow the steps mentioned below, which will enable SSH access to your Cisco devices. Once you enable SSH, you can access it remotely using PuTTY or any other SSH client.

1. Setup Management IP

First, make sure you have performed basic network configurations on your switch. For example, assign default gateway, assign management ip-address, etc. If this is already done, skip to the next step.

In the following example, the management ip address is set as in the 101 VLAN. The default gateway points to the firewall, which is

# ip default-gateway
# interface vlan 101
(config-if)# ip address

2. Set hostname and domain-name

Next, make sure the switch has a hostname and domain-name set properly.

# config t
(config)# hostname myswitch
(config)# ip domain-name

3. Generate the RSA Keys

The switch or router should have RSA keys that it will use during the SSH process. So, generate these using crypto command as shown below.

myswitch(config)# crypto key generate rsa
 The name for the keys will be:
 Choose the size of the key modulus in the range of 360 to 2048 for your
   General Purpose Keys. Choosing a key modulus greater than 512 may take
   a few minutes.

How many bits in the modulus [512]: 1024
 % Generating 1024 bit RSA keys, keys will be non-exportable...[OK]

Also, if you are running on an older Cisco IOS image, it is highly recommended that you upgrade to latest Cisco IOS.

4. Setup the Line VTY configurations

Setup the following line vty configuration parameters, where input transport is set to SSH. Set the login to local, and password to 7.

# line vty 0 4
(config-line)# transport input ssh
(config-line)# login local
(config-line)# password 7
(config-line)# exit

If you have not set the console line yet, set it to the following values.

# line console 0
(config-line)# logging synchronous
(config-line)# login local

5. Create the username password

If you don’t have an username created already, do it as shown below.

myswitch# config t
Enter configuration commands, one per line.  End with CNTL/Z.
myswitch(config)# username ramesh password mypassword

Note: If you don’t have the enable password setup properly, do it now.

myswitch# enable secret myenablepassword

Make sure the password-encryption service is turned-on, which will encrypt the password, and when you do “sh run”, you’ll seee only the encrypted password and not clear-text password.

myswitch# service password-encryption

5. Verify SSH access

From the switch, if you do ‘sh ip ssh’, it will confirm that the SSH is enabled on this cisco device.

myswitch# sh ip ssh
SSH Enabled - version 1.99
Authentication timeout: 120 secs; Authentication retries: 3

After the above configurations, login from a remote machine to verify that you can ssh to this cisco switch.

In this example, is the management ip-address of the switch.

remote-machine# ssh
login as: ramesh
Using keyboard-interactive authentication.




Posted on February 23, 2014, in Security - CCNA / CCNP Security. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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