OS X Server: How to enable the adaptive firewall

Learn how to enable the adaptive firewall in OS X Server.

The adaptive firewall helps prevent entry to your computer by unauthorized users over your network connections. OS X Server uses an adaptive firewall that dynamically generates a firewall rule if a user or an IP address generates 10 consecutive failed login attempts.

  1. Run these commands on the server as an admin user to enable the adaptive firewall.

    • For OS X Server on OS X Mavericks or Yosemite:

      sudo pfctl -f /etc/pf.conf
      sudo /Applications/Server.app/Contents/ServerRoot/usr/sbin/serverctl enable service=com.apple.afctl
      sudo /Applications/Server.app/Contents/ServerRoot/usr/libexec/afctl -c
      sudo /Applications/Server.app/Contents/ServerRoot/usr/libexec/afctl -f
      
    • For OS X Server on OS X Mountain Lion or Lion:

      sudo pfctl -f /etc/pf.conf
      sudo /Applications/Server.app/Contents/ServerRoot/usr/sbin/serverctl enable service=com.apple.afctl
      sudo /Applications/Server.app/Contents/ServerRoot/usr/libexec/afctl -f
      
  2. Edit /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.pfctl.plist so that pfctl(8) is invoked with the -e flag. This will automatically enable the packet filter the next time the server boots. This can be accomplished with these commands:

    sudo defaults write /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.pfctl ProgramArguments '(pfctl, -f, /etc/pf.conf, -e)'
    sudo chmod 644 /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.pfctl.plist
    sudo plutil -convert xml1 /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.pfctl.plist
    
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