This tutorial explains Switchport security modes (Protect, Restrict and Shutdown), sticky address, mac address, maximum number of hosts and Switchport security violation rules in detail with examples. Learn how to secure a switch port with Switchport security feature step by step.
Anyone can access unsecure network resources by simply plugging his host into one of our available switch ports.
A user can also change his physical location in LAN network without telling the admin. You can secure
layer two accesses as well as keep users in their tracks by using port security feature.
To explain Switchport port security modes and commands, I will use packet tracer network simulator software. You can use any network simulator
software or can use a real Cisco switch to follow this guide. There is no difference in output as long as your selected software contains the commands
explained in this tutorial.
Create a simple practice lab as shown in following figure.
If require, you can download the latest as well as earlier version of Packet Tracer from here. Download Packet Tracer
Click PC0 and Click Desktop and Click IP Configuration and select Static from radio options
and assign the IP address (10.0.0.10) and subnet mask (255.0.0.0)
Follow same process to assign IP address (10.0.0.20) and subnet mask (255.0.0.0) to PC1.
Click Server0 and click Desktop and click IP Configuration and select Static from radio options and
assign IP address (10.0.0.100) and subnet mask (255.0.0.0)
That\’s all initial configuration we need to understand the switch port security.
How to configure port security
To configure port security we need to access the command prompt of switch.
Click Switch and click CLI and press Enter Key.
Port can be secure from interface mode.
Use enable command to move in Privilege Exec mode. From Privilege Exec mode use configure terminal command
to enter in Global Configuration mode.
From global configuration mode enter in specific interface.
Following figure illustrates available commands for port security.
How to enable switchport port-security
Port security is disabled by default. switchport port-security command is used to enables it.
Port security feature does not work on three types of ports.
- Trunk ports
- Ether channel ports
- Switch port analyzer ports
Port security work on host port. In order to configure port security we need to set it as host port.
It could be done easily by switchport mode access command.
switchport port-security limit maximum number of hosts
According to our requirements we can limit the number hosts that can be associated with an interface.
We can set this limit anywhere from 1 to 132. Maximum number of devices that can be associated with the interface is 132.
By default it is set to 1. switchport port-security maximum value command will set the maximum number of hosts.
switchport port-security mac address
We have two options static and dynamic to associate mac address with interface.
In static method we have to manually define the exact mac address of host with switchport port-security mac-address MAC_address command.
This is the most secure method but requires a lot of manual works.
In dynamic method we use sticky feature that allows interface to learn mac address automatically.
Interface will learn mac addresses until it reaches maximum number of allowed hosts.
switchport port-security violation
We need to specify what action; it should take in security violation. Three possible modes are available:
Protect: – This mode will only work with sticky option. In this mode frames from non-allowed address would be dropped. It will not make log entry for dropped frames. Interface will learn address until it reach maximum allowed number. Any additionally learned addresses would be dropped while keeping interface operational.
Restrict: – In restrict mode frames from non-allowed address would be dropped. But in this mode, switch will make a log entry and generate a security violation alert.
Shutdown: – In this mode switch will generate the violation alert and disable the port. Only way to re-enable the port is to manually enter no shutdown command. This is the default violation mode.
switchport port security example
In our topology PC0 is connected with F0/1 port of switch. Enter following commands to secure F0/1 port.
Following table explains above commands in detail
|Switch>enable||Move in privilege exec mode|
|Switch#configure terminal||Move in global configuration mode|
|Switch(config)#interface fastethernet 0/1||Move in interface mode|
|Switch(config-if)#switchport mode access||Assign port as host port|
|Switch(config-if)#switchport port-security||Enable port security feature on this port|
|Switch(config-if)#switchport port-security maximum 1||Set limit for hosts that can be associated with interface. Default value is 1. Skip this command to use default value.|
|Switch(config-if)#switchport port-security violation shutdown||Set security violation mode. Default mode is shutdown. Skip this command to use default mode.|
|Switch(config-if)#switchport port-security mac-address sticky||Enable sticky feature.|
We have successfully secured F0/1 port of switch. We used dynamic address learning feature of interface.
Switch will associate first learned mac address (on interface F0/1) with this port.
You can check MAC Address table for currently associated address.
So far no mac address is associated with F0/1 port. Switch learns mac address from incoming frames.
We need to generate frame from PC0 that would be receive on F0/1 port of switch.
ping command is used to test the connectivity between two hosts.
In our scenario we have connectivity between server and pc. We can use this utility to generate frames from PC0.
To access command prompt of PC0 click PC0 and click Desktop menu item and click Command Prompt.
Use ping command to generate frames.
Now check again the MAC Address table on switch.
One interesting thing that you may notice here is the type. Switch learns this address dynamically but it is showing as STATIC.
This is the magic of sticky option, which we used with port security command.
Sticky option automatically converts dynamically learned address in static address.
Switchport port security testing
In our topology we have one additional PC. Assume that, this is the cracker\’s PC.
To gain unauthorized access in network he unplugged the Ethernet cable from pc (PC0) and plugged in his pc (PC1).
Click red X button on the right hand partition of packet tracer window and place the X over the connection
between Switch and PC0. This will remove the connection.
Click lightning bolt button on the bottom left-handed corner and click copper straight–through connection.
Click PC1 and select FastEthernet port. Next click Switch and select the same F0/1 port.
From the command prompt of PC1 try to ping the Server IP.
What happened this time? Why ping command did not get response from server?
Because switch detected the mac address change and shutdown the port.
Verify port security
We have three commands to verify the port security
This command displays port security information about all the interfaces on switch.
show port-security address
Display statically defined or dynamically learned address with port security.
show port-security interface interface
Display port security information about the specific interface.
How to reset an interface that is disabled due to violation of port security
When an interface is down due to port security violation, we have two options to bring it back. First is following global configuration mode command
Switch(config)# errdisable recovery cause psecure-violation
This command neither includes in CCNA exam nor available in packet tracer.
Second option is manually restart the interface. Unplugged cable from unauthorized pc and plugged back it to authorized pc.
Run following commands on switch and test connectivity from pc
That’s all for this article.
Prerequisites for 200-301
200-301 is a single exam, consisting of about 120 questions. It covers a wide range of topics, such as routing and switching, security, wireless networking, and even some programming concepts. As with other Cisco certifications, you can take it at any of the Pearson VUE certification centers.
The recommended training program that can be taken at a Cisco academy is called Implementing and Administering Cisco Solutions (CCNA). The successful completion of a training course will get you a training badge.
Full Version 200-301 Dumps