Configure SNMP security settings in Windows 2000 Pro

Jim Boyce previously covered how to configure the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) service on a Windows machine. This time, he's zeroing in on the steps you should follow when you want to configure SNMP security settings.

Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) is a standard protocol that supports configuration, management, and querying for configuration information of remote computers and other devices. SNMP is commonly used with remote network management tools.

Once you configure the SNMP service in Windows 2000 Professional, you should ensure that SNMP is configured securely. For instance, you should make sure each computer is configured to accept SNMP packets only from the appropriate management systems, and use community names that are difficult to guess. (The community names act as a password that is shared by one or more hosts.)

You configure SNMP security settings through the properties of the SNMP Service in the Services console. To configure the settings, open the Services console from the Administrative Tools folder, double-click the SNMP Service, and click the Security tab.

The Send authentication trap option (if enabled) causes the computer to send a message to all trap destinations (specified on the Traps tab) if the computer receives an SNMP request from a host or community not listed on the Security tab. This option can help you identify unauthorized attempts at access and other authentication problems.

Use the Accepted Community Names list to configure the list of community names to be supported by the computer. Choose community names that are difficult to guess and make sure to use Read-Only rights for all communities that don't require Write or Create rights.

Finally, to restrict SNMP access, choose the option Accept SNMP Packets From These Hosts. Then, click Add and specify the host name, IP address, or IPX address of an allowed host. Repeat the process to add other hosts as needed.

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