Cisco USB console setup for a 3750/3850/2960 – USB Mini

The other day I needed to use the the blue mini-USB console cable that Cisco will now send. Its been around a long time, but I always have my normal console laying around and just use that. When I attempted to use it I first installed the USB driver provided by Cisco, everything seemed to work, but I could not open the com port. Today I did some research and got it working – I was just missing a small part, but thought I would write up the steps to try and help someone else. My OS is Windows 10.

So first we have to install the USB driver this can be downloaded from , using your CCO account.  Then install according to the computer, and then reboot. The problem comes in after the reboot – Windows will use the Windows USB driver, and not the Cisco one. So you have to manually change it.

So to walk through, after the install/reboot I connected the cable – Went into device manager to see what com port it was associated to. Com3. Great, then I tried to console to that port – and it would not work.


So, after a lot of troubleshooting I found that you need to update the driver to a locally install one, and when you do that Cisco’s driver will pop up. Those steps are below.

So, lets first change the driver.


Select “update driver software”


Then Select “Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer”

driver pick

Bam! Now, select the Cisco driver.


Now, we see that Cisco serial driver is in use.

So, now we should be able to launch Putty and change it to COM3 and it should work.



Thats it!

Cisco BGP UnSuppress Maps

Unsupress maps in Cisco can really be a very helpful tool in situations where you might be summarizing a bunch of /24s to maybe a /20, but you need to leak out one of the /24s without summarization, and still advertise the larger summary route.

By default, once you use summarize all networks that fall under your summary route do not advertise any more.  In my situation I was testing ECMP and needed to advertise one /24 to each of my MPLS neighbors, so my hub router could get back on either path. I couldn’t test this with the full /24 due to outage concerns so we had to do this for a /24 that was not used that often. I am not going to show the layout of the Dual MPLS , but just one.

Below shows the topology


Great, now for config on the Cisco Routers.


  • Created Prefix list of subnets I need to be unsupressed.
  • Create a new route-map to match those subnets.
  • Add the BGP statement referencing my neighbor with the “unsuppress-map” keyword.
  • clear routes soft, to force a refresh.

My Prefix list name will be UMAP and my route-map will be named UMAP-MAP

So lets take a look at our advertised routes to my neighbor before making the changes.


Notice that just the /20 is being advertised. Now check out the config below, and lets apply.

config t

ip prefix-list UMAP seq 5 permit

route-map UMAP-MAP permit 10
 match ip address prefix-list UMAP

router bgp 64551
neighbor unsuppress-map UMAP-MAP

Then clear update BGP

clear ip bgp * soft

So that’s it for the config.  Lets look at the advertised routes now.


Great! we are advertising our /24 and everything is now working perfectly. Unsuppress maps to the rescue!

Ruckus Zonedirector LDAP setup

Within ZD we might need to enable LDAP look ups to facilitate in using Active Directory logins to the firewall for administration, or authentication for Guest pass creation/ZeroIT.

Recently I had to do this, and it had been a while, so I decided to write a short entry on it.

So in this case I am configuring LDAP for use with Guest pass so domain users have to sponsor guest wireless accounts.

Below shows the options for our Test-AD LDAP server. There are some key things here.

Notice in this case we are not using TLS.

The Base DN and admin DN are the location of the user who can perform lookups in AD. The best way to find this info is going to AD user/computers and under “View” enable “Advanced features” then go into the details of the user account- you will have a “attribute editor” tab. The User DN is located, if you double click that attribute you can copy it directly.

Next key attribute is “sAMAccountName” under key attribute – that attribute is really just the windows user login account name.


That’s it! I will do another entry on setting up guest pass where domain users can sponsor accounts.

Accessing the ASA’s inside interface across an IPSEC VPN tunnel

Recently I created a tunnel for a client between two Cisco ASAs, and they monitor VIA PRTG and make automated backups via Solarwinds. After the tunnel creation, all traffic worked great except traffic (SSH,SNMP,PING) directed to the device’s inside interface. There are a few simple command that fix this. In this entry I will point out those commands and explain why the commands actually fix the issue.


So the above images shows a simple layout of what I have going on. All is working with the VPN, its up and functioning everything is great accept access to the ASA itself from the remote subnet. The ASA in question is

There are really two commands here. First:

Management access <Inside interface>

As Cisco States it:

“If your VPN tunnel terminates on one interface, but you want to manage the ASA by accessing a different interface, you can identify that interface as a management-access interface. For example, if you enter the ASA from the outside interface, this feature lets you connect to the inside interface using ASDM, SSH, Telnet, or SNMP; or you can ping the inside interface when entering from the outside interface”.

Awesome, so that allows us to actually use the inside for management when connecting through a different interface (VPN). For me this did not work, still could not access the device from the remote subnet.

The next command that resolved the issue for me had to do with my nat statement. The firmware version of this device is 9.x, so we use object based nat to do our NO-NAT statements.

nat (inside,outside) source static LOCAL-NETWORKS LOCAL-NETWORKS destination static route-lookup

to note, local networks is a group that has my subnet in it.

The route-lookup command on top of the NO-NAT resolve the issue. The reason being is that when packets are sent to a destination the device looks for the needed egress interface or in this case the interface specified in our NAT rule which is “outside”.  This makes a lot of sense. But, we don’t want to send this traffic out of the WAN interface, we want to send it out of the tunnel. So specifying the command route-lookup tells the firewall to look at the routing table for the entry and then forward the packet accordingly, basically overriding the identity NAT statement interface (interface listed int the NO-NAT). According to Cisco the ASA looked at the routing table by default in older firmwares but to make this more flexible with NAT, now you have to specify the keyword.

That’s it all communication to your ASA should now work.



Upgrading a Cisco ASA firmware in CLI

I decided to write up the steps so I could always refer back to this if I get hit in the head really hard and forget, which is very likely to happen. Remember to always read the release notes of the firmware you are installing.

In this case I have Cisco ASA 5505 running newer 9.X firmware, and just want both the ASA and ASDM images to be the latest suggested. In this scenario I am using TFTP64 to copy the files over but if I had a Flash drive handy I would have went that route.

First I downloaded the newest images from Cisco, both for the ASDM and the ASA firmware.

Then I moved those over to my TFTP server directory. On the ASA I will run these commands to copy the files to flash, then set options to boot to those images.

VIP-ASA# copy tftp flash
Address or name of remote host:
Source filename: asa917-12-k8.bin
Destination filename:asa917-12-k8.bin

Accessing tftp://…!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!                                                                           !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
26709020 bytes copied in 33.860 secs (809364 bytes/sec)

Now to copy over the ASDM image

VIP-ASA# copy tftp: flash
Address or name of remote host:
Source filename: asdm-771.bin
Destination filename: asdm-771.bin
Accessing tftp://…!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
26709020 bytes copied in 33.860 secs (809364 bytes/sec)

Great, our images are on the flash, now we need to set our boot variables.

VIP-ASA(config)# boot system flash:/asa917-12-k8.bin
INFO: Converting flash:/asa917-12-k8.bin to disk0:/asa917-12-k8.bin

Remove the old boot variable

VIP-ASA# show boot

BOOT variable = disk0:/asa917-12-k8.bin
Current BOOT variable = disk0:/asa917-12-k8.bin;disk0:/asa821-k8.bin
CONFIG_FILE variable =
Current CONFIG_FILE variable =
VIP-ASA# config t
VIP-ASA(config)# no boot system disk0:/asa821-k8.bin
VIP-ASA(config)# show boot

BOOT variable = disk0:/asa917-12-k8.bin
Current BOOT variable = disk0:/asa917-12-k8.bin
CONFIG_FILE variable =
Current CONFIG_FILE variable =

Set your ASDM image to the new one, and then check your ASDM boot image

config t
VIP-ASA(config)# asdm image disk0:/asdm-771.bin

VIP-ASA# show asdm image
Device Manager image file, disk0:/asdm-771.bin

Now save config, and reboot – That’s it!  Reading the release notes is super important to know what has changed, and if there is a certain firmware you need to be at before upgrading. In this example I upgraded to 9.1.7 and ASDM 7.7.1. If you were upgrading VIA USB it is basically the same config, except replace tftp with usb.


Fortinet – Common PCI/Security audit issues

This is an ongoing blog, and one that I will update often will things that come up in security audits.

Companies are always getting external audits to make sure they comply with policies and have no outstanding vulnerabilities with their systems. This is great, but sometime the Fortigate will get pinged on SSL/SSH encryption level issues. The following blog is a few helpful commands that can get the Fortinet to pass inspection by disabling the lowest or least secure SSL and SSH protocols. Also below I have put in excerpts from a few scans.

Issue 1:


Error: TLS Version 1 Protocol Detection – So the above was an issue with TLS Version 1.0 being enabled on port 443 (My SSL VPN port). So, we need to remove TLS 1.0 from the accepted protocols on the VPN.

The commands to do that are:

config vpn ssl settings
    set tlsv1-1 disable

The disables TLSv1 from the SSL VPN

Next issue

  • Vulnerability Details 116818

This host is susceptible to the SSL version 3 POODLE (Padding Oracle On Downgraded Legacy Encryption) attack. By using SSL version 3 and CBC Mode ciphers this host can allow an attacker to expose encrypted data in a connection between the client and server. Impact: Over time, an attacker can steal sensitive information between the client and the server using this man in the middle attack. Hosts may default to a more secure protocol (TLS 1.2, for example), but a network attacker could potentially trigger a reconnection causing the browser to retry older protocols (SSL version 3).

The above error basically says that SSL Version 3 was enabled on SSL VPN port. Just like before we will disable that

config vpn ssl settings
    set sslv3 disable
set tlsv1-0 disable
set tlsv1-1 disable

This turns of SSLV3 from the SSL VPN supported protocols.

This Entry will be updated as I find more from going through audits.

Fortigate – Simple device hardening

As always has the best information.

Firewalls almost always interface with the internet, and most of the time we enable remote access from the internet to make our lives easier when troubleshooting an issue, and maybe not being behind the firewall at the time. The best why to secure the device is just not enable access from insecure locations, but some times we have to enable it.

There are a few simple things we can do to help elevate vulnerable spots when allowing access from the internet.

  • Enable a password policy
  • Modify lockout policy/duration if needed
  • Allow admin access from only Trusted hosts
  • Modify default access TCP ports
  • Create a new admin account named something different, and then delete the default admin account.
  • Make sure a log in banner is active – Certain cyber laws need explicit notification that the user attempting login should have authorization.
  • Use dual factor authentication to gain admin access to the device.
  • Logging , always logging!

This blog is written with both 5.2 and 5.4 firmwares.

Enabling a password policy

This is great to do if you have multiple accounts on the device. This way a user cannot change their super complex password to something with 3-4 letters. A password policy enforces certain specifics to the password. For example you can set the character requirements as well as password reuse/expiration. Check out the below images for 5.2 and 5.4. Notice you can enable this for VPN accounts and admin accounts.





Login failure lockout duration and Threshold

When you mistype your password 3 times by default you are locked out of the firewall for 5 minutes (All docs say 60 seconds though). This is a great defense against applications that attempts to brute for the firewall user/pass. Increasing the time the user is locked out can be a good idea to keep the bad guys from knocking, but could also really put a damper in your day if you lock yourself out for X amount of time.

But the commands to lower or increase it are the same in both firmware’s:

config sys global

set admin-lockout-duration X (seconds)


To increase the threshold (how many incorrect login attempts you can have)

config sys global

set admin-lockout-threshold (1-10 attempts)


Only allow logins from Trusted hosts

Why allow logins from anywhere on the internet, when you know if you logged in it would come from only a few sources.


Under the administrators options, you can select the trusted hosts (IP networks) that can login with the Mirazon account in this case. You could also modify the default admin account.




Change default port numbers used for logins

I was in a debate one time about the security of changing default port numbers, and a friend said “Changing your login port numbers is as secure as hiding your keys under the front door mat.” He was most certainly correct, but security by obscurity is better than nothing. By changing the default port numbers from 443,80 some bots that try to log in will not find the open login due to different ports that are not in its scanning script.

In the following examples I am changing the default port of 443 to 8081.






In summary there are tons of things to do to increase device security. One of the most important, if you don’t need to allow remote logins to the device, why even enable it? Disable the login options under the interface. I believe the best practice is to have an out of band management PC that might connect directly into the MGMT port. To access the FW you have to access this machine.

Changing Port numbers and implementing the other options are great ways to help reduce login failure attempts, or unauthorized access. Another great option, not explained here is using dual factor authentication. By default you get two licenses for two factor – why not use it for admin access!

The importance of logging is one thing that cannot be underestimated. When logging is enabled you know exactly what happened – if someone tried to log in, from where, what username, and if they failed or were successful.

These were just a few of the many ways to increase device security.

Link to login banner blog:


Recently we were troubleshooting some network issues with a Cisco 1242  AP that suddenly stopped communicating with our WLC.

Controller firmware is 8.0.133

We consoled into the AP and found logs that looked like below. Then we logged into the WLC and saw similar logs.

*spamApTask0:  %LWAPP-3-PAYLOAD_MISSING: spam_lrad.c:6433  Join request does not contain BOARD_DATA payload
*spamApTask5:  %CAPWAP-3-DECODE_ERR: capwap_ac_sm.c:4702 Error decoding Join request from AP 00:26:0b:10:34:70
*spamApTask6:  %DTLS-3-HANDSHAKE_FAILURE: openssl_dtls.c:844 Failed to complete DTLS handshake with peer
*spamApTask2:  %DTLS-3-HANDSHAKE_FAILURE: openssl_dtls.c:844 Failed to complete DTLS handshake with peer
*spamApTask6:  %CAPWAP-3-DECODE_ERR: capwap_ac_sm.c:4702 Error decoding Join request from AP 00:26:0b:10:34:70
*spamApTask5:  %DTLS-3-HANDSHAKE_FAILURE: openssl_dtls.c:844 Failed to complete DTLS handshake with peer
*spamApTask0:  %LWAPP-3-DECODE_ERR: spam_lrad.c:2364 Error decoding join request from AP 00:19:aa:35:10:88
*spamApTask0:  %LWAPP-3-KEY_ERR3: spam_crypto.c:1630 The system is unable to free public key for AP 00:19:aa:35:10:88
*spamApTask0:  %LWAPP-3-PAYLOAD_ERR: spam_lrad.c:7931 Join request does not contain valid certificate in certificate payload – AP 00:19:aa:35:10:88

Seems the AP cert had expired. To get around this we had to enable a command in the WLC that ignored the AP cert. The happened because the Manufacturer Installed Certificate (MIC) has now become older than ten years and has expired. This will not be accepted now.

I SSH’d into the controller and ran the below command:

config ap cert-expiry-ignore mic enable

This allowed the AP to come back online immediately.


Brocade MGMT Vlan

I recently installed quite a few Brocade 6450 switches. Great switches by the way, easy to use, very full CLI, great hardware. Most of Brocades (given its a L3 switch) switches support both routing code and switching code. I mostly deploy the Routing code, just my preference. But, in this scenario the 6450 was being deployed for a very small classroom, and no need to setup the routing interface, etc. so the instructions are for a switch running Switching code – you can check VIA show version command.

In this case we have a very specific vlan for management of networking gear, so I need the IP/GW to be on the vlan – in this case vlan 255. Below is how

Lets first create the vlan in CLI:

config t

vlan 255 name MGMT
 tagged ethe 1/2/1   (My uplink port)
 ip address
 default-gateway 1

Lets run over a few things here.

  • First the vlan has to be tagged on a port, or untagged to actually show up in the config. Here I am tagging my uplink port 1/2/1
  • The management-vlan command has to be used on the Vlan you want for management, otherwise its the default vlan setup in the switch which by default is 1.
  • the default gateway commands needs the metric of the IP at the end. You can specify a value from 1 – 5. There is no default. The software uses the gateway with the lowest metric.

Fortigate 5.4 – Named policies

Fortigate has done a great job with the 5.4 firmware. Its a big change from 5.2 but once you get going with it, you will find things are structured very well. For example the “Monitor” category is a great way to get everything you need, instead of going through each individual category.

One feature of 5.4 that really “Grinds my gears” is the named policy feature. The feature itself is awesome, great way to put in a name on a policy such as “Students to internet”.. etc.  But, they make it mandatory to put in a name by default. What’s so aggregating about this is that if you upgrade to 5.4 from 5.2 all of your policies are unnamed, so when you modify one of those existing policies you HAVE to put in a name. The following will show how to turn that feature off, so it is not mandatory you put in a name. You still can, just don’t have to.

Below you will see what happens when you try to create that policy , and the the feature has not been disabled. You get the “This field is required.” error. It will not let you create or modify the policy until that is filled in.


To disable this feature, go to system-Feature select- then check “Allow unnamed policies”. Once you press Apply this will let you bypass the mandatory name feature.