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How to Configure SNMP V3 on Cisco ASA and IOS?

April 28 2013 , Written by Cisco & Cisco Router, Network Switch Published on #Cisco Switches - Cisco Firewall

Here we will focus on SNMP V3 configuration on Cisco ASAs with a brief overview of an IOS configuration. This article assumes a basic understanding of SNMP and its operation.


The most common and sought after reasoning behind an upgrade to SNMP V3 is security. SNMP versions 1 and 2(c) transmit data between the SNMP server and the SNMP agent “in the clear”.


This makes your infrastructure and corresponding infrastructure devices far more vulnerable to attack and or misuse. Weak SNMP provides attackers with low hanging fruit they sometimes need for improved attack vectors.


SNMP V3’s focus was to improve this security flaw. SNMP V3 adds authentication and privacy options to secure its communication between SNMP servers and SNMP agents.


SNMP V3 Security Models

The authentication (auth) and privacy (priv) options are grouped into security models.

  • NoAuthPriv – no authentication and no privacy
  • AuthNoPriv – authentication and no privacy
  • AuthPriv – you guessed it – authentication and privacy


SNMP Groups

SNMP groups provide an access control policy to which users are added. The user will inherit the security model of the group. If the SNMP group “SEC3” has the AuthPriv security model, users assigned to it will inherit the AuthPriv security model.


SNMP Users

SNMP users are assigned a username, a group to which they belong, authentication password, encryption password, and associated algorithms to use.

Authentication algorithms are MD5 and SHA
Encryption algorithms are DES, 3DES, and AES (128,192,256)



An SNMP host is the server to which SNMP notifications and traps are sent. SNMP V3 hosts require the SNMP server IP address and SNMP username. Each SNMP host can only have one username associated with it. The user credentials on the NMS (CiscoWorks, Solarwinds, etc.) must match the SNMP username credentials.

Configuring SNMP V3:

Note – the brackets <> are used to indicate a variable you assign a name to. I used these brackets to emphasize these important variables.

  1. Enable SNMP
    snmp-server enable
  2. Enable the SNMP traps (this will change depending on environment and business requirements). The following example enables all but this could be limited to a subset of traps.
    snmp-server enable traps all
  3. Create the SNMP group
    Note the following meanings:
    auth indicates authention only
    noauth indicates no authentication or encryption
    priv indicates encryption and authentication
    snmp-server group  <GROUPNAME> v3 {auth | noauth | priv}
  4. Create the SNMP user
    snmp-server user <USERNAME> <GROUPNAME> v3 encrypted auth md5 <AUTHENTICATION-PASSWORD> priv AES 128 <ENCRYPTION-KEY>
  5. Create the SNMP Server host
    snmp-server host <INTERFACE-NAME> <HOSTNAME> version 3 <USERNAME>


Full Configuration Example for the Cisco ASA (Version 8.4)

snmp-server group SEC3 v3 priv

snmp-server user SNMPUSER3 SEC3GROUP v3 encrypted auth md5 thisshouldbeastrongpassword priv aes 128 thisshouldbeastrongencryptionkey

snmp-server host mgmt version 3 SNMPUSER3

snmp-server enable traps snmp authentication linkup linkdown coldstart warmstart

snmp-server enable traps ipsec start stop

snmp-server enable traps remote-access session-threshold-exceeded


Full Configuration Example for the Cisco IOS

snmp-server view SNMPMGR iso included

snmp-server group SEC3GROUP v3 priv read SNMPMGR write SNMPMGR notify SNMPMGR

snmp-server user SNMPUSER3 SEC3GROUP v3 auth md5 thisshouldbeastrongpassword priv aes 128 thisshouldbeastrongencryptionkey

snmp-server enable traps config


Note – in IOS you won’t see the following line:
snmp-server user SNMPUSER3 SEC3GROUP v3 auth md5 thisshouldbeastrongpassword priv aes 128 thisshouldbeastrongencryptionkey

IOS hides the authentication password and encryption key from the “show run” and “show startup”.


More Information

Cisco Configuration Guide for ASA 8.4 and 8.6


Cisco Configuration Guide for ASA 8.4 and 8.6 PDF


---Reference from



More Related Cisco and Networking TOPICS:

How to Configure SNMP on Cisco IOS-based Router/Switch?

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