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Device access

You can control access to the management services of Sophos Firewall from custom and default zones using the local service ACL (Access Control List).

Local services are management services specific to the internal functioning of Sophos Firewall, such as web admin and CLI consoles, and authentication services. You can allow or block access to local services from Administration > Device access.

  • Select the checkboxes to allow access to these services from different zones. See Access to local services from zones.
  • To only allow specific hosts and networks to access the services, scroll down to Local service ACL exception rule, and click Add.

Local service ACL: How device access works

The following conditions apply to local services:

  • You can't control traffic to these services using firewall rules. You can only do so from Administration > Device access.
  • For custom zones, you can also allow or block access from Network > Zones.
  • To access a local service that shares a host's subnet, zone, or interface, you must select the zone. For example, to access the DNS service from the LAN zone when Sophos Firewall is the DNS server, you must select LAN for DNS.
  • The default ports are used to provide access to these services, and the destination IP address is set to Sophos Firewall.
  • You can change the default ports of some services, such as SSL VPN and user portal, from the corresponding settings pages. If you change the ports, we recommend not using the SSL VPN port for other services. It allows access to the services from zones that you turned off here.

Here are the default settings for the local service access control list:

Default settings for the local service access control list

Best practices

Administrative services and user portal: We do not recommend allowing access to the web admin console (HTTPS), CLI console (SSH), and the user portal from the WAN zone or over the SSL VPN port. If you must give access, we recommend using the best practices listed in the table in this section.

SSL VPN port: By default, all management services use unique ports. SSL VPN is set to TCP port 8443.


If you manually change the default ports, we strongly recommend using a unique port for each service. Using a unique port ensures that services are not exposed to the WAN zone even after you turn off access. Example: If you use port 443 for both the user portal and SSL VPN, the user portal will be accessible from the WAN zone even if you turn off WAN access from this page.

Consoles Secure access from WAN
Web admin console Use Sophos Central. For more details, go to Sophos Central.
  • Create a local service ACL exception rule allowing specific source IP addresses to access the console from the WAN zone.
  • Use IPsec VPNs.
  • Use remote access clients.
CLI console Create a local service ACL exception rule allowing specific source IP addresses to access the console from the WAN zone.
  • For additional security, use public-key authentication on Administration > Device access.
  • Use IPsec VPNs.
  • Use remote access clients.
User portal For secure access from external networks, use VPNs and follow these best practices:
  • Provide only temporary access to download VPN clients or configuration to users who don't have VPN configured.
  • Use IPsec VPNs.
  • Use remote access clients.
  • Sophos Connect remote access client: Enable the user portal to allow automated provisioning of connection policies and re-provisioning after connection updates.
  • Make sure the user portal does not use the SSL VPN port.

Secure access based on user accounts:
  • User accounts stored on Sophos Firewall: Use multi-factor authentication (MFA) with one-time passwords (Authentication > One-time password).
  • External directory services: Use the MFA options provided by these services.

Default admin password settings

The factory configuration of Sophos Firewall carries a default super administrator with the following credentials:

Username: admin

Password: admin

You can use these to sign in to the web admin console and the CLI. You must change the default password when you configure Sophos Firewall for the first time.

Sophos Firewall offers stronger password protection for the default super administrator. To benefit from the protection, you must change the password if you're upgrading from 18.0 MR3 or earlier or 17.5 MR14. This is a one-time change.


Store the current password in a secure location. If you move to an earlier firmware version that uses the current password, you'll need it to sign in.

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) for the default admin

You can set up MFA for the default admin account using either a hardware or software token.

  1. Turn on MFA for default admin and click Apply.
  2. Select one of the following tokens for OTP:

    1. To use a hardware token, select Configure a hardware token and click Next.
    2. To use a software token, select Generate a software token and click Next.
  3. To validate a hardware token:

    1. Enter the following information:

      Information Description
      Secret Enter a secret for the token. The following restrictions apply:
      • Only hexadecimal characters.
      • Even character count.
      • Minimum of 32 characters.
      • Maximum of 120 characters.
      Description Enter a description for the token.
      Timestep Enter the timestep that matches the hardware token settings.

      Click Next.

    2. Enter the default admin password followed by the validation code shown on the hardware token, click Validate, and click Apply.

  4. To validate a software token:

    1. Scan the displayed QR code with your chosen authentication app.
    2. Enter the default admin password followed by the validation code shown in the authenticator app, click Validate, and click Apply.

Public key authentication for admin

You can use public keys for secure access to the CLI. You can add, edit, or delete SSH keys.

  1. Turn on Enable authentication to allow secure access to the CLI using an SSH key.
  2. To generate a public-private key pair, use SSH tools (example: PuTTYgen).
  3. Go to Administration > Device access, scroll down to Public key authentication for admin, and add the public key.
  4. Share the private key with the administrator who needs to access the CLI.

    To access the CLI, the administrator must enter the private key in the SSH tool (example: PuTTY).

    You can also use this method to give secure access to Sophos Support for troubleshooting purposes.