Admin Access Options in pfSense

In this follow-up to a previous article on webConfigurator options, I will look at the other Admin Access options you can configure by navigating to System -> Advanced and clicking on the Admin Access tab.

Admin Access Options: Secure Shell


SSH and serial port options in advanced settings in pfSense 2.0.

Under the “Secure Shell” heading, the first check box, “Enable Secure Shell”, enables you to login to the admin console via SSH. A terminal emulator such as xterm, Konsole, (or Putty under Windows) can be used to login. The next check box, “Disable password login for Secure Shell (RSA/DSA key only)” allows you to login with a public/private key pair instead of a password. Describing in depth how to do this is beyond the scope of this article (I have provided more detailed instructions in my article on SSH server configuration), but there are three basic steps. First, you need to generate a public/private key pair using a utility such as ssh-keygen or PuTTYGen. Second, you need to check the “Disable password login for Secure Shell” check box and save the settings. Third, you need to navigate to System -> User Manager, edit the settings for the admin account, and paste the newly-generated public key into the text box that appears when the “Click to paste an authorized key” check box is checked and save the settings. Finally, “SSH Port” enables you to change the SSH port (leave it blank for the default of 22). Changing the SSH port is often a good idea, as it makes it less likely that the admin account will be hacked via SSH.

Admin Access Options: Serial Port Access

Under the Serial Terminal heading, check the “Serial Terminal” check box to enable console access via the first serial port with settings of 9600 baud/8 bits/no parity/1 stop bit. This will redirect the console output and messages to the serial port, but you can still access the console menu from the internal video card and keyboard. A null modem serial cable or adapter is required to use the serial cable. Finally, under the Console Options heading, checking the “Password protect the console menu” will cause the console to prompt the user for a password (changes to this option will take place after a reboot) before performing admin functions.

External Links:

How to Enable SSH Access at

Secure Shell at Wikipedia

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