QuickTip: Howto secure your Mikrotik/RouterOS Router and specially Winbox

October 6, 2018

I didn’t post anything about the multiple security problems in the Mikrotik Winbox API, as I thought that whoever is leaving the management of a router open to the Internet should not configure routers at all. Of course it is common sense to open the management interface only on internal network interfaces and to source IP addresses you’re managing the routers.  But as this is quick tip I’ll show you how I configure my Mikrotiks for years.

/ip service
set telnet address=0.0.0.0/0 disabled=yes
set ftp address=0.0.0.0/0 disabled=yes
set www address=0.0.0.0/0 disabled=yes
set ssh address=10.7.0.0/16
set api disabled=yes
set winbox address=127.0.0.1/32
set api-ssl disabled=yes

As you see I’ve only enabled ssh and winbox and winbox is only listening on localhost. The ssh is protected with the Firewall to to be only reachable from my admin network. Also I disable the weak ciphers:

/ip ssh set strong-crypto=yes

And I’ve configured public key authentication for the ssh access.  Now your question is how to access the router with winbox? Simple, use ssh port forwarding. So the Winbox API is only accessible by users that have a valid ssh logon – and ssh is much more robust and secure than Winbox. On Linux  the port forwarding is done like this:

ssh -L 8291:127.0.0.1:8291 [email protected]<mikrotik>

On Windows you can do that same with Putty. In Winbox just connect to localhost:

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