What are UPnP and NAT-PMP

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UPnP is short for Universal Plug and Play and is commonly found on Windows, BSD and Linux systems.

NAT-PMP is short for NAT Port Mapping Protocol and is similar to UPnP but found more commonly on Apple devices and programs.

A growing number of programs support both methods.

pfSense supports both, and the service may be configured at Services > UPnP & NAT-PMP.

UPnP and NAT-PMP both allow devices and programs that support them to automatically add dynamic port forwards and firewall entries. The most common uses are in gaming systems (XBox, Playstation, etc) and BitTorrent programs like uTorrent, which both rely on allowing inbound connections to a local service.

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Potential Security Risk!

If UPnP or NAT-PMP are enabled, use only devices and programs which are trusted. These mechanisms will allow these entities to bypass the firewall to allow incoming connections with no additional control or authorization. Do not be surprised when this happens.

Access permissions for the service may be crafted in the options on pfSense. The format of these is shown in the GUI at Services > UPnP & NAT-PMP in the User specified permissions boxes. Using these, access could be restricted to a specific workstation or device.