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 **Contents**  This page was moved to:
   [The NetBSD Guide - Pluggable Authentication Modules (PAM)](//www.NetBSD.org/docs/guide/en/chap-pam.html)
 [[!toc levels=3]]  
 # Pluggable Authentication Modules (PAM)  
 ## About  
 This article describes the underlying principles and mechanisms of the  
 *Pluggable Authentication Modules (PAM)* library, and explains how to configure  
 PAM, how to integrate PAM into applications, and how to write PAM modules.  
 See on the bottom of the page for the license of this text.  
 ## Introduction  
 The Pluggable Authentication Modules (PAM) library is a generalized API for  
 authentication-related services which allows a system administrator to add new  
 authentication methods simply by installing new PAM modules, and to modify  
 authentication policies by editing configuration files.  
 PAM was defined and developed in 1995 by Vipin Samar and Charlie Lai of Sun  
 Microsystems, and has not changed much since. In 1997, the Open Group published  
 the X/Open Single Sign-on (XSSO) preliminary specification, which standardized  
 the PAM API and added extensions for single (or rather integrated) sign-on. At  
 the time of this writing, this specification has not yet been adopted as a  
 Although this article focuses primarily on FreeBSD 5.x and NetBSD 3.x, which  
 both use OpenPAM, it should be equally applicable to FreeBSD 4.x, which uses  
 Linux-PAM, and other operating systems such as Linux and Solaris.  
 ## Terms and conventions  
 ### Definitions  
 The terminology surrounding PAM is rather confused. Neither Samar and Lai's  
 original paper nor the XSSO specification made any attempt at formally defining  
 terms for the various actors and entities involved in PAM, and the terms that  
 they do use (but do not define) are sometimes misleading and ambiguous. The  
 first attempt at establishing a consistent and unambiguous terminology was a  
 whitepaper written by Andrew G. Morgan (author of Linux-PAM) in 1999. While  
 Morgan's choice of terminology was a huge leap forward, it is in this author's  
 opinion by no means perfect. What follows is an attempt, heavily inspired by  
 Morgan, to define precise and unambiguous terms for all actors and entities  
 involved in PAM.  
  * *account* -- The set of credentials the applicant is requesting from the  
  * *applicant* -- The user or entity requesting authentication.  
  * *arbitrator* -- The user or entity who has the privileges necessary to verify  
    the applicant's credentials and the authority to grant or deny the request.  
  * *chain* -- A sequence of modules that will be invoked in response to a PAM  
    request. The chain includes information about the order in which to invoke  
    the modules, what arguments to pass to them, and how to interpret the  
  * *client* -- The application responsible for initiating an authentication  
    request on behalf of the applicant and for obtaining the necessary  
    authentication information from him.  
  * *facility* -- One of the four basic groups of functionality provided by PAM:  
    authentication, account management, session management and authentication  
    token update.  
  * *module* -- A collection of one or more related functions implementing a  
    particular authentication facility, gathered into a single (normally  
    dynamically loadable) binary file and identified by a single name.  
  * *policy* -- The complete set of configuration statements describing how to  
    handle PAM requests for a particular service. A policy normally consists of  
    four chains, one for each facility, though some services do not use all four  
  * *server* -- The application acting on behalf of the arbitrator to converse  
    with the client, retrieve authentication information, verify the applicant's  
    credentials and grant or deny requests.  
  * *service* -- A class of servers providing similar or related functionality  
    and requiring similar authentication. PAM policies are defined on a  
    per-service basis, so all servers that claim the same service name will be  
    subject to the same policy.  
  * *session* -- The context within which service is rendered to the applicant by  
    the server. One of PAM's four facilities, session management, is concerned  
    exclusively with setting up and tearing down this context.  
  * *token* -- A chunk of information associated with the account, such as a  
    password or passphrase, which the applicant must provide to prove his  
  * *transaction* -- A sequence of requests from the same applicant to the same  
    instance of the same server, beginning with authentication and session set-up  
    and ending with session tear-down.  
 ### Usage examples  
 This section aims to illustrate the meanings of some of the terms defined above  
 by way of a handful of simple examples.  
 #### Client and server are one  
 This simple example shows `alice`  
 [[!template id=man name="su" section="1"]]'ing to  
     $ whoami  
     $ ls -l `which su`  
     -r-sr-xr-x  1 root  wheel  10744 Dec  6 19:06 /usr/bin/su  
     $ su -  
     Password: xi3kiune  
     # whoami  
  * The applicant is `alice`.  
  * The account is `root`.  
  * The [[!template id=man name="su" section="1"]]  
    process is both client and server.  
  * The authentication token is `xi3kiune`.  
  * The arbitrator is `root`, which is why  
    [[!template id=man name="su" section="1"]] is  
    setuid `root`.  
 #### Client and server are separate  
 The example below shows `eve` try to initiate an  
 [[!template id=man name="ssh" section="1"]]  
 connection to `login.example.com`, ask to log in as `bob`, and succeed. Bob  
 should have chosen a better password!  
     $ whoami  
     $ ssh bob@login.example.com  
     bob@login.example.com's password: god  
     Last login: Thu Oct 11 09:52:57 2001 from  
     NetBSD 3.0 (LOGIN) #1: Thu Mar 10 18:22:36 WET 2005  
     Welcome to NetBSD!  
  * The applicant is `eve`.  
  * The client is Eve's  
    [[!template id=man name="ssh" section="1"]]  
  * The server is the  
    [[!template id=man name="sshd" section="8"]]  
    process on `login.example.com`  
  * The account is `bob`.  
  * The authentication token is `god`.  
  * Although this is not shown in this example, the arbitrator is `root`.  
 #### Sample policy  
 The following is FreeBSD's default policy for `sshd`:  
     sshd    auth        required    pam_nologin.so  no_warn  
     sshd    auth        required    pam_unix.so no_warn try_first_pass  
     sshd    account     required    pam_login_access.so  
     sshd    account     required    pam_unix.so  
     sshd    session     required    pam_lastlog.so  no_fail  
     sshd    password    required    pam_permit.so  
  * This policy applies to the `sshd` service (which is not necessarily  
    restricted to the  
    [[!template id=man name="sshd" section="8"]]  
  * `auth`, `account`, `session` and `password` are facilities.  
  * `pam_nologin.so`, `pam_unix.so`, `pam_login_access.so`, `pam_lastlog.so` and  
    `pam_permit.so` are modules. It is clear from this example that `pam_unix.so`  
    provides at least two facilities (authentication and account management.)  
 There are some differences between FreeBSD and NetBSD PAM policies:  
  * By default, every configuration is done under `/etc/pam.d`.  
  * If configuration is non-existent, you will not have access to the system, in  
    contrast with FreeBSD that has a default policy of allowing authentication.  
  * For authentication, NetBSD forces at least one `required`, `requisite` or  
    `binding` module to be present.  
 ## PAM Essentials  
 ### Facilities and primitives  
 The PAM API offers six different authentication primitives grouped in four  
 facilities, which are described below.  
  * `auth` -- *Authentication.* This facility concerns itself with authenticating  
    the applicant and establishing the account credentials. It provides two  
         * [[!template id=man name="pam\_authenticate" section="3"]]  
           authenticates the applicant, usually by requesting an authentication token  
           and comparing it with a value stored in a database or obtained from an  
           authentication server.  
         * [[!template id=man name="pam\_setcred" section="3"]]  
           establishes account credentials such as user ID, group membership and  
           resource limits.  
  * `account` -- *Account management.* This facility handles  
    non-authentication-related issues of account availability, such as access  
    restrictions based on the time of day or the server's work load. It provides  
    a single primitive:  
         * [[!template id=man name="pam\_acct\_mgmt" section="3"]]  
           verifies that the requested account is available.  
  * `session` -- *Session management.* This facility handles tasks associated  
    with session set-up and tear-down, such as login accounting. It provides two  
         * [[!template id=man name="pam\_open\_session" section="3"]]  
           performs tasks associated with session set-up: add an entry in the `utmp`  
           and `wtmp` databases, start an SSH agent, etc.  
         * [[!template id=man name="pam\_close\_session" section="3"]]  
           performs tasks associated with session tear-down: add an entry in the  
           `utmp` and `wtmp` databases, stop the SSH agent, etc.  
  * `password` -- *Password management.* This facility is used to change the  
    authentication token associated with an account, either because it has  
    expired or because the user wishes to change it. It provides a single  
         * [[!template id=man name="pam\_chauthtok" section="3"]]  
           changes the authentication token, optionally verifying that it is  
           sufficiently hard to guess, has not been used previously, etc.  
 ### Modules  
 Modules are a very central concept in PAM; after all, they are the *M* in *PAM*.  
 A PAM module is a self-contained piece of program code that implements the  
 primitives in one or more facilities for one particular mechanism; possible  
 mechanisms for the authentication facility, for instance, include the UNIX®  
 password database, NIS, LDAP and Radius.  
 #### Module Naming  
 FreeBSD and NetBSD implement each mechanism in a single module, named  
 `pam_mechanism`.so (for instance, `pam_unix.so` for the UNIX mechanism.) Other  
 implementations sometimes have separate modules for separate facilities, and  
 include the facility name as well as the mechanism name in the module name. To  
 name one example, Solaris has a `pam_dial_auth.so.1` module which is commonly  
 used to authenticate dialup users. Also, almost every module has a man page with  
 the same name, i.e.:  
 [[!template id=man name="pam\_unix" section="8"]]  
 explains how the `pam_unix.so` module works.  
 #### Module Versioning  
 FreeBSD's original PAM implementation, based on Linux-PAM, did not use version  
 numbers for PAM modules. This would commonly cause problems with legacy  
 applications, which might be linked against older versions of the system  
 libraries, as there was no way to load a matching version of the required  
 OpenPAM, on the other hand, looks for modules that have the same version number  
 as the PAM library (currently 2 in FreeBSD and 0 in NetBSD), and only falls back  
 to an unversioned module if no versioned module could be loaded. Thus legacy  
 modules can be provided for legacy applications, while allowing new (or newly  
 built) applications to take advantage of the most recent modules.  
 Although Solaris PAM modules commonly have a version number, they're not truly  
 versioned, because the number is a part of the module name and must be included  
 in the configuration.  
 #### Module Path  
 There isn't a common directory for storing PAM modules. Under FreeBSD, they are  
 located at `/usr/lib` and, under NetBSD, you can find them in  
 ### Chains and policies  
 When a server initiates a PAM transaction, the PAM library tries to load a  
 policy for the service specified in the  
 [[!template id=man name="pam\_start" section="3"]]  
 call. The policy specifies how authentication requests should be processed, and  
 is defined in a configuration file. This is the other central concept in PAM:  
 the possibility for the admin to tune the system security policy (in the wider  
 sense of the word) simply by editing a text file.  
 A policy consists of four chains, one for each of the four PAM facilities. Each  
 chain is a sequence of configuration statements, each specifying a module to  
 invoke, some (optional) parameters to pass to the module, and a control flag  
 that describes how to interpret the return code from the module.  
 Understanding the control flags is essential to understanding PAM configuration  
 files. There are a number of different control flags:  
  * `binding` -- If the module succeeds and no earlier module in the chain has  
    failed, the chain is immediately terminated and the request is granted. If  
    the module fails, the rest of the chain is executed, but the request is  
    ultimately denied.  
    This control flag was introduced by Sun in Solaris 9 (SunOS 5.9), and is also  
    supported by OpenPAM.  
  * `required` -- If the module succeeds, the rest of the chain is executed, and  
    the request is granted unless some other module fails. If the module fails,  
    the rest of the chain is also executed, but the request is ultimately denied.  
  * `requisite` -- If the module succeeds, the rest of the chain is executed, and  
    the request is granted unless some other module fails. If the module fails,  
    the chain is immediately terminated and the request is denied.  
  * `sufficient` -- If the module succeeds and no earlier module in the chain has  
    failed, the chain is immediately terminated and the request is granted. If  
    the module fails, the module is ignored and the rest of the chain is  
    As the semantics of this flag may be somewhat confusing, especially when it  
    is used for the last module in a chain, it is recommended that the `binding`  
    control flag be used instead if the implementation supports it.  
  * `optional` -- The module is executed, but its result is ignored. If all  
    modules in a chain are marked `optional`, all requests will always be  
 When a server invokes one of the six PAM primitives, PAM retrieves the chain for  
 the facility the primitive belongs to, and invokes each of the modules listed in  
 the chain, in the order they are listed, until it reaches the end, or determines  
 that no further processing is necessary (either because a `binding` or  
 `sufficient` module succeeded, or because a `requisite` module failed.) The  
 request is granted if and only if at least one module was invoked, and all  
 non-optional modules succeeded.  
 Note that it is possible, though not very common, to have the same module listed  
 several times in the same chain. For instance, a module that looks up user names  
 and passwords in a directory server could be invoked multiple times with  
 different parameters specifying different directory servers to contact. PAM  
 treat different occurrences of the same module in the same chain as different,  
 unrelated modules.  
 ### Transactions  
 The lifecycle of a typical PAM transaction is described below. Note that if any  
 of these steps fails, the server should report a suitable error message to the  
 client and abort the transaction.  
  1. If necessary, the server obtains arbitrator credentials through a mechanism  
     independent of PAM -- most commonly by virtue of having been started by `root`,  
     or of being setuid `root`.  
  2. The server calls  
     [[!template id=man name="pam\_start" section="3"]]  
     to initialize the PAM library and specify its service name and the target  
     account, and register a suitable conversation function.  
  3. The server obtains various information relating to the transaction (such as  
     the applicant's user name and the name of the host the client runs on) and  
     submits it to PAM using  
     [[!template id=man name="pam\_set\_item" section="3"]].  
  4. The server calls  
     [[!template id=man name="pam\_authenticate" section="3"]]  
     to authenticate the applicant.  
  5. The server calls  
     [[!template id=man name="pam\_acct\_mgmt" section="3"]]  
     to verify that the requested account is available and valid. If the password is  
     correct but has expired,  
     [[!template id=man name="pam\_acct\_mgmt" section="3"]]  
     will return `PAM_NEW_AUTHTOK_REQD` instead of `PAM_SUCCESS`.  
  6. If the previous step returned `PAM_NEW_AUTHTOK_REQD`, the server now calls  
     [[!template id=man name="pam\_chauthtok" section="3"]]  
     to force the client to change the authentication token for the requested  
  7. Now that the applicant has been properly authenticated, the server calls  
     [[!template id=man name="pam\_setcred" section="3"]]  
     to establish the credentials of the requested account. It is able to do this  
     because it acts on behalf of the arbitrator, and holds the arbitrator's  
  8. Once the correct credentials have been established, the server calls  
     [[!template id=man name="pam\_open\_session" section="3"]]  
     to set up the session.  
  9. The server now performs whatever service the client requested -- for  
     instance, provide the applicant with a shell.  
 10. Once the server is done serving the client, it calls  
     [[!template id=man name="pam\_close\_session" section="3"]]  
     to tear down the session.  
 11. Finally, the server calls  
     [[!template id=man name="pam\_end" section="3"]]  
     to notify the PAM library that it is done and that it can release whatever  
     resources it has allocated in the course of the transaction.  
 ## PAM Configuration  
 ### PAM policy files  
 #### The `/etc/pam.conf` file  
 The traditional PAM policy file is `/etc/pam.conf`. This file contains all the  
 PAM policies for your system. Each line of the file describes one step in a  
 chain, as shown below:  
     login   auth    required        pam_nologin.so  no_warn  
 The fields are, in order: service name, facility name, control flag, module  
 name, and module arguments. Any additional fields are interpreted as additional  
 module arguments.  
 A separate chain is constructed for each service / facility pair, so while the  
 order in which lines for the same service and facility appear is significant,  
 the order in which the individual services and facilities are listed is not. The  
 examples in the original PAM paper grouped configuration lines by facility, and  
 the Solaris stock `pam.conf` still does that, but FreeBSD's stock configuration  
 groups configuration lines by service. Either way is fine; either way makes  
 equal sense.  
 #### The `/etc/pam.d` directory  
 OpenPAM and Linux-PAM support an alternate configuration mechanism, which is the  
 preferred mechanism in FreeBSD and NetBSD. In this scheme, each policy is  
 contained in a separate file bearing the name of the service it applies to.  
 These files are stored in `/etc/pam.d/`.  
 These per-service policy files have only four fields instead of `pam.conf`'s  
 five: the service name field is omitted. Thus, instead of the sample `pam.conf`  
 line from the previous section, one would have the following line in  
     auth    required        pam_nologin.so  no_warn  
 As a consequence of this simplified syntax, it is possible to use the same  
 policy for multiple services by linking each service name to a same policy file.  
 For instance, to use the same policy for the `su` and `sudo` services, one could  
 do as follows:  
     # cd /etc/pam.d  
     # ln -s su sudo  
 This works because the service name is determined from the file name rather than  
 specified in the policy file, so the same file can be used for multiple  
 differently-named services.  
 Since each service's policy is stored in a separate file, the `pam.d` mechanism  
 also makes it very easy to install additional policies for third-party software  
 #### The policy search order  
 As we have seen above, PAM policies can be found in a number of places. If no  
 configuration file is found for a particular service, the `/etc/pam.d/other` is  
 used instead. If that file does not exist, `/etc/pam.conf` is searched for  
 entries matching he specified service or, failing that, the "other" service.  
 It is essential to understand that PAM's configuration system is centered on  
 ### Breakdown of a configuration line  
 As explained in the [PAM policy files](chap-pam.html#pam-config-file "18.5.1.  
 PAM policy files") section, each line in `/etc/pam.conf` consists of four or  
 more fields: the service name, the facility name, the control flag, the module  
 name, and zero or more module arguments.  
 The service name is generally (though not always) the name of the application  
 the statement applies to. If you are unsure, refer to the individual  
 application's documentation to determine what service name it uses.  
 Note that if you use `/etc/pam.d/` instead of `/etc/pam.conf`, the service name  
 is specified by the name of the policy file, and omitted from the actual  
 configuration lines, which then start with the facility name.  
 The facility is one of the four facility keywords described in the  
 [[Facilities and primitives|guide/pam#facilities-primitives]]] section.  
 Likewise, the control flag is one of the four keywords described in the [[Chains  
 and policies|guide/pam#chains-policies]] section, describing how to interpret  
 the return code from the module. Linux-PAM supports an alternate syntax that  
 lets you specify the action to associate with each possible return code, but  
 this should be avoided as it is non-standard and closely tied in with the way  
 Linux-PAM dispatches service calls (which differs greatly from the way Solaris  
 and OpenPAM do it.) Unsurprisingly, OpenPAM does not support this syntax.  
 ### Policies  
 To configure PAM correctly, it is essential to understand how policies are  
 When an application calls  
 [[!template id=man name="pam\_start" section="3"]],  
 the PAM library loads the policy for the specified service and constructs four  
 module chains (one for each facility.) If one or more of these chains are empty,  
 the corresponding chains from the policy for the `other` service are  
 When the application later calls one of the six PAM primitives, the PAM library  
 retrieves the chain for the corresponding facility and calls the appropriate  
 service function in each module listed in the chain, in the order in which they  
 were listed in the configuration. After each call to a service function, the  
 module type and the error code returned by the service function are used to  
 determine what happens next. With a few exceptions, which we discuss below, the  
 following table applies:  
 [[!table data="""  
            |   `PAM_SUCCESS`   | `PAM_IGNORE` |       `other`  
 binding    | if (!fail) break; |      -       |     fail = true;  
 required   |         -         |      -       |     fail = true;  
 requisite  |         -         |      -       | fail = true; break;  
 sufficient | if (!fail) break; |      -       |          -  
 optional   |         -         |      -       |          -  
 If `fail` is true at the end of a chain, or when a `break` is reached, the  
 dispatcher returns the error code returned by the first module that failed.  
 Otherwise, it returns `PAM_SUCCESS`.  
 The first exception of note is that the error code `PAM_NEW_AUTHTOK_REQD` is  
 treated like a success, except that if no module failed, and at least one module  
 returned `PAM_NEW_AUTHTOK_REQD`, the dispatcher will return  
 The second exception is that  
 [[!template id=man name="pam\_setcred" section="3"]]  
 treats `binding` and `sufficient` modules as if they were `required`.  
 The third and final exception is that  
 [[!template id=man name="pam\_chauthtok" section="3"]]  
 runs the entire chain twice (once for preliminary checks and once to actually  
 set the password), and in the preliminary phase it treats `binding` and  
 `sufficient` modules as if they were `required`.  
 ## PAM modules  
 ### Common Modules  
 #### pam\_deny(8)  
 [[!template id=man name="pam\_deny" section="8"]]  
 module is one of the simplest modules available; it responds to any request with  
 `PAM_AUTH_ERR`. It is useful for quickly disabling a service (add it to the top  
 of every chain), or for terminating chains of `sufficient` modules.  
 #### pam\_echo(8)  
 [[!template id=man name="pam\_echo" section="8"]]  
 module simply passes its arguments to the conversation function as a  
 `PAM_TEXT_INFO` message. It is mostly useful for debugging, but can also serve  
 to display messages such as `Unauthorized access will be prosecuted` before  
 starting the authentication procedure.  
 #### pam\_exec(8)  
 [[!template id=man name="pam\_exec" section="8"]]  
 module takes its first argument to be the name of a program to execute, and the  
 remaining arguments are passed to that program as command-line arguments. One  
 possible application is to use it to run a program at login time which mounts  
 the user's home directory.  
 #### pam\_ftpusers(8)  
 [[!template id=man name="pam\_ftpusers" section="8"]]  
 module successes if and only if the user is listed in `/etc/ftpusers`.  
 Currently, in NetBSD, this module doesn't understand the extended syntax of  
 [[!template id=man name="ftpd" section="8"]], but  
 this will be fixed in the future.  
 #### pam\_group(8)  
 [[!template id=man name="pam\_group" section="8"]]  
 module accepts or rejects applicants on the basis of their membership in a  
 particular file group (normally `wheel` for  
 [[!template id=man name="su" section="1"]]). It is  
 primarily intended for maintaining the traditional behaviour of BSD  
 [[!template id=man name="su" section="1"]], but has  
 many other uses, such as excluding certain groups of users from a particular  
 In NetBSD, there is an argument called `authenticate` in which the user is asked  
 to authenticate using his own password.  
 #### pam\_guest(8)  
 [[!template id=man name="pam\_guest" section="8"]]  
 module allows guest logins using fixed login names. Various requirements can be  
 placed on the password, but the default behaviour is to allow any password as  
 long as the login name is that of a guest account. The  
 [[!template id=man name="pam\_guest" section="8"]]  
 module can easily be used to implement anonymous FTP logins.  
 #### pam\_krb5(8)  
 [[!template id=man name="pam\_krb5" section="8"]]  
 module provides functions to verify the identity of a user and to set user  
 specific credentials using Kerberos 5. It prompts the user for a password and  
 obtains a new Kerberos TGT for the principal. The TGT is verified by obtaining a  
 service ticket for the local host. The newly acquired credentials are stored in  
 a credential cache and the environment variable KRB5CCNAME is set appropriately.  
 The credentials cache should be destroyed by the user at logout with  
 [[!template id=man name="kdestroy" section="1"]].  
 #### pam\_ksu(8)  
 [[!template id=man name="pam\_ksu" section="8"]]  
 module provides only authentication services for Kerberos 5 to determine whether  
 or not the applicant is authorized to obtain the privileges of the target  
 #### pam\_lastlog(8)  
 [[!template id=man name="pam\_lastlog" section="8"]]  
 module provides only session management services. It records the session in  
 [[!template id=man name="utmp" section="5"]],  
 [[!template id=man name="utmpx" section="5"]],  
 [[!template id=man name="wtmp" section="5"]],  
 [[!template id=man name="wtmpx" section="5"]],  
 [[!template id=man name="lastlog" section="5"]]  
 [[!template id=man name="lastlogx" section="5"]]  
 #### pam\_login\_access(8)  
 [[!template id=man name="pam\_login\_access" section="8"]]  
 module provides an implementation of the account management primitive which  
 enforces the login restrictions specified in the  
 [[!template id=man name="login.access" section="5"]]  
 #### pam\_nologin(8)  
 [[!template id=man name="pam\_nologin" section="8"]]  
 module refuses non-root logins when `/var/run/nologin` exists. This file is  
 normally created by  
 [[!template id=man name="shutdown" section="8"]]  
 when less than five minutes remain until the scheduled shutdown time.  
 #### pam\_permit(8)  
 [[!template id=man name="pam\_permit" section="8"]]  
 module is one of the simplest modules available; it responds to any request with  
 `PAM_SUCCESS`. It is useful as a placeholder for services where one or more  
 chains would otherwise be empty.  
 #### pam\_radius(8)  
 [[!template id=man name="pam\_radius" section="8"]]  
 module provides authentication services based upon the RADIUS (Remote  
 Authentication Dial In User Service) protocol.  
 #### pam\_rhosts(8)  
 [[!template id=man name="pam\_rhosts" section="8"]]  
 module provides only authentication services. It reports success if and only if  
 the target user's ID is not 0 and the remote host and user are listed in  
 `/etc/hosts.equiv` or in the target user's `~/.rhosts`.  
 #### pam\_rootok(8)  
 [[!template id=man name="pam\_rootok" section="8"]]  
 module reports success if and only if the real user id of the process calling it  
 (which is assumed to be run by the applicant) is 0. This is useful for  
 non-networked services such as  
 [[!template id=man name="su" section="1"]] or  
 [[!template id=man name="passwd" section="1"]], to  
 which the `root` should have automatic access.  
 #### pam\_securetty(8)  
 [[!template id=man name="pam\_securetty" section="8"]]  
 module provides only account services. It is used when the applicant is  
 attempting to authenticate as superuser, and the process is attached to an  
 insecure TTY.  
 #### pam\_self(8)  
 [[!template id=man name="pam\_self" section="8"]]  
 module reports success if and only if the names of the applicant matches that of  
 the target account. It is most useful for non-networked services such as  
 [[!template id=man name="su" section="1"]], where the  
 identity of the applicant can be easily verified.  
 #### pam\_ssh(8)  
 [[!template id=man name="pam\_ssh" section="8"]]  
 module provides both authentication and session services. The authentication  
 service allows users who have passphrase-protected SSH secret keys in their  
 `~/.ssh` directory to authenticate themselves by typing their passphrase. The  
 session service starts  
 [[!template id=man name="ssh-agent" section="1"]]  
 and preloads it with the keys that were decrypted in the authentication phase.  
 This feature is particularly useful for local logins, whether in X (using  
 [[!template id=man name="xdm" section="1"]] or  
 another PAM-aware X login manager) or at the console.  
 This module implements what is fundamentally a password authentication scheme.  
 Care should be taken to only use this module over a secure session (secure TTY,  
 encrypted session, etc.), otherwise the user's SSH passphrase could be  
 Additional consideration should be given to the use of  
 [[!template id=man name="pam\_ssh" section="8"]].  
 Users often assume that file permissions are sufficient to protect their SSH  
 keys, and thus use weak or no passphrases. Since the system administrator has no  
 effective means of enforcing SSH passphrase quality, this has the potential to  
 expose the system to security risks.  
 #### pam\_unix(8)  
 [[!template id=man name="pam\_unix" section="8"]]  
 module implements traditional UNIX® password authentication, using  
 [[!template id=man name="getpwnam" section="3"]]  
 under FreeBSD or  
 [[!template id=man name="getpwnam\_r" section="3"]]  
 under NetBSD to obtain the target account's password and compare it with the one  
 provided by the applicant. It also provides account management services  
 (enforcing account and password expiration times) and password-changing  
 services. This is probably the single most useful module, as the great majority  
 of admins will want to maintain historical behaviour for at least some services.  
 ### NetBSD-specific PAM Modules  
 #### pam\_skey(8)  
 [[!template id=man name="pam\_skey" section="8"]]  
 module implements S/Key One Time Password (OTP) authentication methods, using  
 the `/etc/skeykeys` database.  
 ## PAM Application Programming  
 This section has not yet been written.  
 ## PAM Module Programming  
 This section has not yet been written.  
 ## Sample PAM Application  
 The following is a minimal implementation of  
 [[!template id=man name="su" section="1"]] using PAM.  
 Note that it uses the OpenPAM-specific  
 [[!template id=man name="openpam\_ttyconv" section="3"]]  
 conversation function, which is prototyped in `security/openpam.h`. If you wish  
 build this application on a system with a different PAM library, you will have  
 to provide your own conversation function. A robust conversation function is  
 surprisingly difficult to implement; the one presented in the [Sample PAM  
 Conversation Function](chap-pam.html#pam-sample-conv "18.11. Sample PAM  
 Conversation Function") sub-chapter is a good starting point, but should not be  
 used in real-world applications.  
     #include <sys/param.h>  
     #include <sys/wait.h>  
     #include <err.h>  
     #include <pwd.h>  
     #include <stdio.h>  
     #include <stdlib.h>  
     #include <string.h>  
     #include <syslog.h>  
     #include <unistd.h>  
     #include <security/pam_appl.h>  
     #include <security/openpam.h> /* for openpam_ttyconv() */  
     extern char **environ;  
     static pam_handle_t *pamh;  
     static struct pam_conv pamc;  
     static void  
         fprintf(stderr, "Usage: su [login [args]]\n");  
     main(int argc, char *argv[])  
         char hostname[MAXHOSTNAMELEN];  
         const char *user, *tty;  
         char **args, **pam_envlist, **pam_env;  
         struct passwd *pwd;  
         int o, pam_err, status;  
         pid_t pid;  
         while ((o = getopt(argc, argv, "h")) != -1)  
             switch (o) {  
             case 'h':  
         argc -= optind;  
         argv += optind;  
         if (argc > 0) {  
             user = *argv;  
         } else {  
             user = "root";  
         /* initialize PAM */  
         pamc.conv = &openpam_ttyconv;  
         pam_start("su", user, &pamc, &pamh);  
         /* set some items */  
         gethostname(hostname, sizeof(hostname));  
         if ((pam_err = pam_set_item(pamh, PAM_RHOST, hostname)) != PAM_SUCCESS)  
             goto pamerr;  
         user = getlogin();  
         if ((pam_err = pam_set_item(pamh, PAM_RUSER, user)) != PAM_SUCCESS)  
             goto pamerr;  
         tty = ttyname(STDERR_FILENO);  
         if ((pam_err = pam_set_item(pamh, PAM_TTY, tty)) != PAM_SUCCESS)  
             goto pamerr;  
         /* authenticate the applicant */  
         if ((pam_err = pam_authenticate(pamh, 0)) != PAM_SUCCESS)  
             goto pamerr;  
         if ((pam_err = pam_acct_mgmt(pamh, 0)) == PAM_NEW_AUTHTOK_REQD)  
             pam_err = pam_chauthtok(pamh, PAM_CHANGE_EXPIRED_AUTHTOK);  
         if (pam_err != PAM_SUCCESS)  
             goto pamerr;  
         /* establish the requested credentials */  
         if ((pam_err = pam_setcred(pamh, PAM_ESTABLISH_CRED)) != PAM_SUCCESS)  
             goto pamerr;  
         /* authentication succeeded; open a session */  
         if ((pam_err = pam_open_session(pamh, 0)) != PAM_SUCCESS)  
             goto pamerr;  
         /* get mapped user name; PAM may have changed it */  
         pam_err = pam_get_item(pamh, PAM_USER, (const void **)&user);  
         if (pam_err != PAM_SUCCESS || (pwd = getpwnam(user)) == NULL)  
             goto pamerr;  
         /* export PAM environment */  
         if ((pam_envlist = pam_getenvlist(pamh)) != NULL) {  
             for (pam_env = pam_envlist; *pam_env != NULL; ++pam_env) {  
         /* build argument list */  
         if ((args = calloc(argc + 2, sizeof *args)) == NULL) {  
             goto err;  
         *args = pwd->pw_shell;  
         memcpy(args + 1, argv, argc * sizeof *args);  
         /* fork and exec */  
         switch ((pid = fork())) {  
         case -1:  
             goto err;  
         case 0:  
             /* child: give up privs and start a shell */  
             /* set uid and groups */  
             if (initgroups(pwd->pw_name, pwd->pw_gid) == -1) {  
             if (setgid(pwd->pw_gid) == -1) {  
             if (setuid(pwd->pw_uid) == -1) {  
             execve(*args, args, environ);  
             /* parent: wait for child to exit */  
             waitpid(pid, &status, 0);  
             /* close the session and release PAM resources */  
             pam_err = pam_close_session(pamh, 0);  
             pam_end(pamh, pam_err);  
         fprintf(stderr, "Sorry\n");  
         pam_end(pamh, pam_err);  
 ## Sample PAM Module  
 The following is a minimal implementation of  
 [[!template id=man name="pam\_unix" section="8"]],  
 offering only authentication services. It should build and run with most PAM  
 implementations, but takes advantage of OpenPAM extensions if available: note  
 the use of  
 [[!template id=man name="pam\_get\_authtok" section="3"]],  
 which enormously simplifies prompting the user for a password.  
     #include <sys/param.h>  
     #include <pwd.h>  
     #include <stdlib.h>  
     #include <stdio.h>  
     #include <string.h>  
     #include <unistd.h>  
     #include <security/pam_modules.h>  
     #include <security/pam_appl.h>  
     #ifndef _OPENPAM  
     static char password_prompt[] = "Password:";  
     #ifndef PAM_EXTERN  
     #define PAM_EXTERN  
     PAM_EXTERN int  
     pam_sm_authenticate(pam_handle_t *pamh, int flags,  
         int argc, const char *argv[])  
     #ifndef _OPENPAM  
         const void *ptr;  
         const struct pam_conv *conv;  
         struct pam_message msg;  
         const struct pam_message *msgp;  
         struct pam_response *resp;  
         struct passwd *pwd;  
         const char *user;  
         char *crypt_password, *password;  
         int pam_err, retry;  
         /* identify user */  
         if ((pam_err = pam_get_user(pamh, &user, NULL)) != PAM_SUCCESS)  
             return (pam_err);  
         if ((pwd = getpwnam(user)) == NULL)  
             return (PAM_USER_UNKNOWN);  
         /* get password */  
     #ifndef _OPENPAM  
         pam_err = pam_get_item(pamh, PAM_CONV, &ptr);  
         if (pam_err != PAM_SUCCESS)  
             return (PAM_SYSTEM_ERR);  
         conv = ptr;  
         msg.msg_style = PAM_PROMPT_ECHO_OFF;  
         msg.msg = password_prompt;  
         msgp = &msg;  
         password = NULL;  
         for (retry = 0; retry < 3; ++retry) {  
     #ifdef _OPENPAM  
             pam_err = pam_get_authtok(pamh, PAM_AUTHTOK,  
                 (const char **)&password, NULL);  
             resp = NULL;  
             pam_err = (*conv->conv)(1, &msgp, &resp, conv->appdata_ptr);  
             if (resp != NULL) {  
                 if (pam_err == PAM_SUCCESS)  
                     password = resp->resp;  
             if (pam_err == PAM_SUCCESS)  
         if (pam_err == PAM_CONV_ERR)  
             return (pam_err);  
         if (pam_err != PAM_SUCCESS)  
             return (PAM_AUTH_ERR);  
         /* compare passwords */  
         if ((!pwd->pw_passwd[0] && (flags & PAM_DISALLOW_NULL_AUTHTOK)) ||  
             (crypt_password = crypt(password, pwd->pw_passwd)) == NULL ||  
             strcmp(crypt_password, pwd->pw_passwd) != 0)  
             pam_err = PAM_AUTH_ERR;  
             pam_err = PAM_SUCCESS;  
     #ifndef _OPENPAM  
         return (pam_err);  
     PAM_EXTERN int  
     pam_sm_setcred(pam_handle_t *pamh, int flags,  
         int argc, const char *argv[])  
         return (PAM_SUCCESS);  
     PAM_EXTERN int  
     pam_sm_acct_mgmt(pam_handle_t *pamh, int flags,  
         int argc, const char *argv[])  
         return (PAM_SUCCESS);  
     PAM_EXTERN int  
     pam_sm_open_session(pam_handle_t *pamh, int flags,  
         int argc, const char *argv[])  
         return (PAM_SUCCESS);  
     PAM_EXTERN int  
     pam_sm_close_session(pam_handle_t *pamh, int flags,  
         int argc, const char *argv[])  
         return (PAM_SUCCESS);  
     PAM_EXTERN int  
     pam_sm_chauthtok(pam_handle_t *pamh, int flags,  
         int argc, const char *argv[])  
         return (PAM_SERVICE_ERR);  
     #ifdef PAM_MODULE_ENTRY  
 ## Sample PAM Conversation Function  
 The conversation function presented below is a greatly simplified version of  
 [[!template id=man name="openpam\_ttyconv" section="3"]].  
 It is fully functional, and should give the reader a good idea of how a  
 conversation function should behave, but it is far too simple for real-world  
 use. Even if you're not using OpenPAM, feel free to download the source code and  
 [[!template id=man name="openpam\_ttyconv" section="3"]]  
 to your uses; we believe it to be as robust as a tty-oriented conversation  
 function can reasonably get.  
     #include <stdio.h>  
     #include <stdlib.h>  
     #include <string.h>  
     #include <unistd.h>  
     #include <security/pam_appl.h>  
     converse(int n, const struct pam_message **msg,  
         struct pam_response **resp, void *data)  
         struct pam_response *aresp;  
         char buf[PAM_MAX_RESP_SIZE];  
         int i;  
         data = data;  
         if (n <= 0 || n > PAM_MAX_NUM_MSG)  
             return (PAM_CONV_ERR);  
         if ((aresp = calloc(n, sizeof *aresp)) == NULL)  
             return (PAM_BUF_ERR);  
         for (i = 0; i < n; ++i) {  
             aresp[i].resp_retcode = 0;  
             aresp[i].resp = NULL;  
             switch (msg[i]->msg_style) {  
             case PAM_PROMPT_ECHO_OFF:  
                 aresp[i].resp = strdup(getpass(msg[i]->msg));  
                 if (aresp[i].resp == NULL)  
                     goto fail;  
             case PAM_PROMPT_ECHO_ON:  
                 fputs(msg[i]->msg, stderr);  
                 if (fgets(buf, sizeof buf, stdin) == NULL)  
                     goto fail;  
                 aresp[i].resp = strdup(buf);  
                 if (aresp[i].resp == NULL)  
                     goto fail;  
             case PAM_ERROR_MSG:  
                 fputs(msg[i]->msg, stderr);  
                 if (strlen(msg[i]->msg) > 0 &&  
                     msg[i]->msg[strlen(msg[i]->msg) - 1] != '\n')  
                     fputc('\n', stderr);  
             case PAM_TEXT_INFO:  
                 fputs(msg[i]->msg, stdout);  
                 if (strlen(msg[i]->msg) > 0 &&  
                     msg[i]->msg[strlen(msg[i]->msg) - 1] != '\n')  
                     fputc('\n', stdout);  
                 goto fail;  
         *resp = aresp;  
         return (PAM_SUCCESS);  
             for (i = 0; i < n; ++i) {  
                     if (aresp[i].resp != NULL) {  
                             memset(aresp[i].resp, 0, strlen(aresp[i].resp));  
             memset(aresp, 0, n * sizeof *aresp);  
         *resp = NULL;  
         return (PAM_CONV_ERR);  
 ## Further Reading  
 ### Papers  
  * *[sun-pam]: [Making Login Services Independent of Authentication Technologies](http://www.sun.com/software/solaris/pam/pam.external.pdf)*. Vipin Samar and Charlie Lai. Sun Microsystems.  
  * *[opengroup-singlesignon]: [X/Open Single Sign-on Preliminary Specification](http://www.opengroup.org/pubs/catalog/p702.htm)*. The Open Group. 1-85912-144-6. June 1997.  
  * *[kernelorg-pamdraft]: [Pluggable Authentication Modules](http://www.kernel.org/pub/linux/libs/pam/pre/doc/current-draft.txt)*. Andrew G. Morgan. October 6, 1999.  
 ### User Manuals  
  * *[sun-pamadmin]: [PAM Administration](http://www.sun.com/software/solaris/pam/pam.admin.pdf)*. Sun Microsystems.  
 ### Related Web pages  
  * *[openpam-website]: [OpenPAM homepage](http://openpam.sourceforge.net/)*. Dag-Erling Smørgrav. ThinkSec AS.  
  * *[linuxpam-website]: [Linux-PAM homepage](http://www.kernel.org/pub/linux/libs/pam/)*. Andrew G. Morgan.  
  * *[solarispam-website]: [Solaris PAM homepage](http://www.sun.com/software/solaris/pam/)*. Sun Microsystems.  
 ### Networks Associates Technology's license on the PAM article  
 Copyright (c) 2001-2003 Networks Associates Technology, Inc.    
 All rights reserved.    
 This software was developed for the FreeBSD Project by ThinkSec AS and    
 Network Associates Laboratories, the Security Research Division of    
 Network Associates, Inc.  under DARPA/SPAWAR contract N66001-01-C-8035    
 ("CBOSS"), as part of the DARPA CHATS research program.    
 Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or without    
 modification, are permitted provided that the following conditions    
 are met:    
 1. Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright    
    notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer.    
 2. Redistributions in binary form must reproduce the above copyright    
    notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer in the    
    documentation and/or other materials provided with the distribution.    
 3. The name of the author may not be used to endorse or promote    
    products derived from this software without specific prior written    

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