SNMPUSM(1) Net-SNMP SNMPUSM(1)
snmpusm - creates and maintains SNMPv3 users on a network entity
snmpusm [COMMON OPTIONS] [-CE ENGINE-ID] create USER [CLONEFROM-USER]
snmpusm [COMMON OPTIONS] [-CE ENGINE-ID] delete USER
snmpusm [COMMON OPTIONS] [-CE ENGINE-ID] cloneFrom USER CLONEFROM-USER
snmpusm [COMMON OPTIONS] [-CE ENGINE-ID] [-Ca] [-Cx] passwd OLD-
PASSPHRASE NEW-PASSPHRASE [USER]
snmpusm [COMMON OPTIONS] [-CE ENGINE-ID] <-Ca | -Cx> -Ck passwd OLD-
KEY-OR-PASSPHRASE NEW-KEY-OR-PASSPHRASE [USER]
snmpusm [COMMON OPTIONS] [-CE ENGINE-ID] [-Ca] [-Cx] changekey [USER]
snmpusm is an SNMP application that can be used to do simple mainte
nance on the users known to an SNMP agent, by manipulating the agents
User-based Security Module (USM) table. The user needs write access to
the usmUserTable MIB table. This tool can be used to create, delete,
clone, and change the passphrase of users configured on a running SNMP
Set usmUserEngineID to be used as part of the index of the
usmUserTable. Default is to use the contextEngineID (set via -E
or probed) as the usmUserEngineID.
-Ca Change the authentication key.
-Cx Change the privacy key.
-Ck Allows to use localized key (must start with 0x) instead of
passphrase. When this option is used, either the -Ca or -Cx
(but not both) option must also be used.
An unauthenticated SNMPv3 user can be created using the command
snmpusm [-CE ENGINE-ID] create USER
This constructs an (inactive) entry in the usmUserTable, with no
authentication or privacy settings. In principle, this user should be
useable for noAuthNoPriv requests, but in practise the Net-SNMP agent
will not allow such an entry to be made active.
In order to activate this entry, it is necessary to "clone" an existing
user, using the command
snmpusm [-CE ENGINE-ID] cloneFrom USER CLONEFROM-USER
The USER entry then inherits the same authentication and privacy set
tings (including pass phrases) as the CLONEFROM user.
These two steps can be combined into one, by using the command
snmpusm [-CE ENGINE-ID] create USER CLONEFROM-USER
The two forms of the create sub-command require that the user being
created does not already exist. The cloneFrom sub-command requires
that the user being cloned to does already exist.
Cloning is the only way to specify which authentication and privacy
protocols to use for a given user, and it is only possible to do this
once. Subsequent attempts to reclone onto the same user will appear to
succeed, but will be silently ignored. This (somewhat unexpected)
behaviour is mandated by the SNMPv3 USM specifications (RFC 3414). To
change the authentication and privacy settings for a given user, it is
necessary to delete and recreate the user entry. This is not necessary
for simply changing the pass phrases (see below). This means that the
agent must be initialized with at least one user for each combination
of authentication and privacy protocols. See the snmpd.conf(5) manual
page for details of the createUser configuration directive.
A user can be deleted from the usmUserTable using the command
snmpusm [-CE ENGINE-ID] delete USER
CHANGING PASS PHRASES
User profiles contain private keys that are never transmitted over the
wire in clear text (regardless of whether the administration requests
are encrypted or not). To change the secret key for a user, it is nec
essary to specify the users old passphrase as well as the new one.
This uses the command
snmpusm [-CE ENGINE-ID] [-Ca] [-Cx] passwd OLD-PASSPHRASE NEW-
After cloning a new user entry from the appropriate template, you
should immediately change the new users passphrase.
If USER is not specified, this command will change the passphrase of
the (SNMPv3) user issuing the command. If the -Ca or -Cx options are
specified, then only the authentication or privacy keys are changed.
If these options are not specified, then both the authentication and
privacy keys are changed.
snmpusm [-CE ENGINE-ID] [-Ca] [-Cx] changekey [USER]
This command changes the key in a perfect-forward-secrecy compliant way
through a diffie-helman exchange. The remote agent must support the
SNMP-USM-DH-OBJECTS-MIB for this command to work. The resulting keys
are printed to the console and may be then set in future command invo
cations using the --defAuthLocalizedKey and --defPrivLocalizedKey
options or in your snmp.conf file using the defAuthLocalizedKey and
Note that since these keys are randomly generated based on a diffie
helman exchange, they are no longer derived from a more easily typed
password. They are, however, much more secure.
To change from a localized key back to a password, the following vari
ant of the passwd sub-command is used:
snmpusm [-CE ENGINE-ID] <-Ca | -Cx> -Ck passwd OLD-KEY-OR-
PASSPHRASE NEW-KEY-OR-PASSPHRASE [USER]
Either the -Ca or the -Cx option must be specified. The OLD-KEY-OR-
PASSPHRASE and/or NEW-KEY-OR-PASSPHRASE arguments can either be a
passphrase or a localized key starting with "0x", e.g. as printed out
by the changekey sub-command.
Lets assume for our examples that the following VACM and USM configu
rations lines were in the snmpd.conf file for a Net-SNMP agent. These
lines set up a default user called "initial" with the authentication
passphrase "setup_passphrase" so that we can perform the initial setup
of an agent:
# VACM configuration entries
# lets add the new user well create too:
# USM configuration entries
createUser initial MD5 setup_passphrase DES
Note: the "initial" users setup should be removed after creating a
real user that you grant administrative privileges to (like the user
"wes" well be creating in this example.
Note: passphrases must be 8 characters minimum in length.
Create a new user
snmpusm -v3 -u initial -n "" -l authNoPriv -a MD5 -A setup_passphrase
localhost create wes initial
Creates a new user, here named "wes" using the user "initial" to
do it. "wes" is cloned from "initial" in the process, so he
inherits that users passphrase ("setup_passphrase").
Change the users passphrase
snmpusm -v 3 -u wes -n "" -l authNoPriv -a MD5 -A setup_passphrase
localhost passwd setup_passphrase new_passphrase
After creating the user "wes" with the same passphrase as the
"initial" user, we need to change his passphrase for him. The
above command changes it from "setup_passphrase", which was
inherited from the initial user, to "new_passphrase".
Test the new user
snmpget -v 3 -u wes -n "" -l authNoPriv -a MD5 -A new_passphrase local
If the above commands were successful, this command should have
properly performed an authenticated SNMPv3 GET request to the
Now, go remove the vacm "group" snmpd.conf entry for the "initial" user
and you have a valid user wes that you can use for future transac
tions instead of initial.
Manipulating the usmUserTable using this command can only be done using
SNMPv3. This command will not work with the community-based versions,
even if they have write access to the table.
snmpd.conf(5), snmp.conf(5), RFC 3414
4th Berkeley Distribution 22 Oct 2005 SNMPUSM(1)