Port Forwarding on the Cisco ASA in 8.3 from the CLI made easy
So it’s been a month and a half since I posted an update, and it’s 4:15 am right now. I can’t sleep and I found out there’s another networking blog out there using the same WP theme as me, so I figured I better put something up here since it was fresh in my mind. Well, now that the niceties are out of the way, let’s get to work.
I recently added an ASA 5505 to my home network at the edge. Obviously, when I did, all of my port forwards went to hell because the ASA is now blocking everything. I run a web server on one of my servers here and I like to be able to access it because I keep a lot of tech manuals and other stuff on there. Well, I went about trying to set up port forwarding the old way and learned real quick that this pops up when I do:
ERROR: This syntax of nat command has been deprecated.
Please refer to “help nat” command for more details.
Yeah, that sucks. On the new version of the ASA OS, global has gone the way of the dodo. I did a bunch of searches on Google to figure it out and everything I ran across was very hard to decipher. That’s why I’m writing this. You can setup a port forward in 4 quick and easy steps. Just change the things that are underlined to fit your network and you’ll be just fine.
In this example, we want to be able to access a web server behind the firewall. We’ll assume you are using the standard HTTP port, the web server’s internal IP address is 10.9.8.7/24, and that you at least know what you’re doing enough to be configuring an ASA in the first place. I’ll give you the steps, then I’ll explain.
Step 1: Create a new object group for you web server.
asa5505(config)# object network Webserver
Step 2: Add the IP of the web server to the network group.
asa5505(config-network-object)# host 10.9.8.7
Step 3: Forward the port via the NAT command.
asa5505(config-network-object)# nat (inside,outside) static interface service tcp www www
Step 4: Exit back to the root and add the access list
asa5505(config)# access-list outside_access_in permit tcp any object Webserver eq www
That’s it! Now, let’s explain what’s going on here. Cisco has started moving more and more towards use of object groups in their configs. It makes things easier, especially when you have a situation where you have 20 web servers behind the firewall and you want to add 1 more in. Rather than having to rewrite a whole bunch of ACL’s, you just add the IP of the new web server into the object group and everything is done for you. After you create the object group (in this instance a network object, you can also create service objects), you add the IP of the specific object (or objects) that you want to point to. So here our web server is 10.9.8.7. If you want to send port 80 to more than 1 IP on your internal network, just add more IP’s to that object group.
Now is the fun part. While we’re in the object group, we need to NAT port 80 only to that specific object group, hence you’re still at “asa5505(config-network-object)#” prompt. Now type “end” to get back to the regular config terminal and we need to open that port in the ACL. Yes, www = 80. You can type either one and you get the same result. If I have to go through and explain NAT, how it works and why I enter in that specific command to forward the port, then there’s a possibility that I’d need to send you an invoice for my time because we would be here for a while.
This works for ANY port forward. If you want to RDP into a machine, simply replace port 80 (all those www’s you see up there) with 3389. There is one caveat. You can only do one port forward per object group. So let’s say that our web server is also an FTP server and you want port 21 to forward as well as port 80. You’re going to have to create a whole new object group (object network FTPServer), put the same IP in the group (host 10.9.8.7), do the nat command again (nat (inside,outside) static interface service tcp ftp ftp), exit back to the root of config, and add the access list (access-list outside_access_in permit tcp any object FTPServer eq ftp).
This should get you up and running with you port forwards in no time flat. It is a bit of a pain in the ass to have to create a new object group for every port you want to forward, and maybe there’s someone out there that’s reading this right now thinking “dude, you don’t have to create more than one group! You can just do…”. Well, you need to enlighten the world with this knowledge and post it in the comments section. And if you’re too scared to do so, shoot me an email to greg(at)gregledet(dot)net.
I’d also like to thank Stefan Fouant for an excellent class today on JUNOS Switching. I learned a lot in his class and you can learn a lot from his website. Check it out and tell him Greg sent ya!