Yubico PAM module
The Yubico PAM module provides an easy way to integrate the Yubikey into your existing user authentication infrastructure. PAM is used by GNU/Linux, Solaris and Mac OS X for user authentication, and by other specialized applications such as NCSA MyProxy.
Status and Roadmap
The module is working for multi-user systems. The primary mode of operation is by doing online validation using a YubiKey validation service (such as the YubiCloud, or a private one configured using the urllist parameter).
In version 2.6, offline validation was also made possible through
the use of HMAC-SHA1 Challenge-Response found in YubiKey 2.2 and
later. This has introduced a dependency of libykpers-1 from the
ykpersonalize package. Pass
configure to avoid
The development community is co-ordinated via the GitHub project page.
The project is licensed under a BSD license. See the file COPYING for exact wording. For any copyright year range specified as YYYY-ZZZZ in this package note that the range specifies every single year in that closed interval.
Building from Git
Skip to the next section if you are using an official packaged version.
You may check out the sources using Git with the following command:
$ git clone https://github.com/Yubico/yubico-pam.git
This will create the directory
Autoconf, automake, asciidoc and libtool must be installed to create a compilable source tree.
Generate the build system using:
$ cd yubico-pam $ autoreconf --install
The Challenge-Response offline authentication requires libykpers-1 from the yubikey-personalization project:
The selftests require perl with the module Net::LDAP::Server installed.
The build system uses Autoconf, to set up the build system run:
Use --without-ldap to disable ldap support.
Then build the code, run the self-test and install the binaries:
make check install
There is already a package in Fedora/EPEL of yubico-pam that can be installed by using yum:
$ sudo yum install pam_yubico
There is an Ubuntu PPA (Personal Package Archive) for yubico-pam that can be installed using the following commands on reasonably modern Ubuntu platforms :
$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:yubico/stable $ sudo apt-get update $ sudo apt-get install libpam-yubico
See the file
/usr/share/doc/libpam-yubico/README.Debian after installing.
yubico-pam and the supporting Yubico packages have corresponding FreeBSD ports. To install:
$ cd /usr/ports/security/pam_yubico $ make install clean
Advanced configuration notes are available here.
Install it in your PAM setup by adding a line to an appropriate file
auth sufficient pam_yubico.so id=[Your API Client ID] debug
and move pam_yubico.so into /lib/security/ (or wherever PAM modules live in your system) :
mv /usr/local/lib/security/pam_yubico.so /lib/security/
For more information, see the project Wiki page.
Supported PAM module parameters are:
To indicate the location of the file that holds the mappings of Yubikey token IDs to user names.
Your API Client ID in the Yubico validation server. If you want to use the default YubiCloud service, go here.
To indicate your client key in base64 format. The client key is also known as API key, and provides integrity in the communication between the client (you) and the validation server. If you want to get one for use with the default YubiCloud service, go here.
to enable debug output to stdout.
to enable all authentication attempts to succeed (aka presentation mode).
Before prompting the user for their password, the module first tries the previous stacked module´s password in case that satisfies this module as well.
The argument use_first_pass forces the module to use a previous stacked modules password and will never prompt the user - if no password is available or the password is not appropriate, the user will be denied access.
List of URL templates to be used. This is set by calling
ykclient_set_url_bases. The list should be in the format :
This option should not be used, please use the urllist
Specify the URL template to use, this is set by calling
yubikey_client_set_url_template, which defaults to:
specify the path where X509 certificates are stored. This is required if https or ldaps are used in url and ldap_uri respectively.
This argument is used to show the OTP (One-Time Password) when it
is entered, i.e. to enable terminal echo of entered characters.
You are advised to not use this, if you are using two factor
authentication because that will display your password on the
This requires the service using the PAM module to
display custom fields. For example, OpenSSH requires
you to configure
specify the LDAP server URI (e.g. ldap://localhost).
specify the LDAP server host (default LDAP port is used). Deprecated. Use "ldap_uri" instead.
specify the dn where the users are stored (eg: ou=users,dc=domain,dc=com).
specify the LDAP attribute used to store user names (eg:cn).
specify the LDAP attribute used to store the Yubikey ID.
specify the prefix of the LDAP attribute’s value, in case of a generic attribute, used to store several types of IDs.
Length of ID prefixing the OTP (this is 12 if using the YubiCloud).
Mode of operation. Use "client" for online validation with a YubiKey validation service such as the YubiCloud, or use "challenge-response" for offline validation using YubiKeys with HMAC-SHA-1 Challenge-Response configurations. See the man-page ykpamcfg(1) for further details on how to configure offline Challenge-Response validation.
If you are using "debug" you may find it useful to create a world-writable log file:
touch /var/run/pam-debug.log chmod go+w /var/run/pam-debug.log
Authorization Mapping Files
A mapping must be made between the YubiKey token ID and the user ID it is attached to. There are two ways to do this, either centrally in one file, or individually, where users can create the mapping in their home directories. If the central authorization mapping file is being used, user home directory mappings will not be used and the opposite applies if user home directory mappings are being used, the central authorization mappings file will not be used.
Central authorization mapping
/etc/yubikey_mappings, the file must contain a user name and the
Yubikey token ID separated by colons (same format as the passwd file) for
each user you want to allow onto the system using a Yubikey.
The mappings should look like this, one per line:
<first user name>:<Yubikey token ID1>:<Yubikey token ID2>:…. <second user name>:<Yubikey token ID3>:<Yubikey token ID4>:….
authfile=/etc/yubikey_mappings to your PAM configuration line, so it
auth sufficient pam_yubico.so id=[Your API Client ID] authfile=/etc/yubikey_mappings
Individual authorization mapping by user
Each user creates a
~/.yubico/authorized_yubikeys file inside of their home
directory and places the mapping in that file, the file must have only one
<user name>:<Yubikey token ID1>:<Yubikey token ID2>
This is much the same concept as the SSH authorized_keys file.
Obtaining the Yubikey token ID (a.k.a. public ID)
You can obtain the Yubikey token ID in several ways. One is by removing the last 32 characters of any OTP (One Time Password) generated with your Yubikey. Another is by using the modhex calculator.
Enter your Yubikey OTP and convert it, your Yubikey token ID is 12 characters and listed as:
Modhex encoded: XXXXXXX
Not sure what that last bit meant? Here is how to get a copy of your OTP.
Open a terminal
Press the YubiKey’s button It will output an OTP into the shell:
$ cccccccgklgcvnkcvnnegrnhgrjkhlkfhdkclfncvlgj bash: cccccccgklgcvnkcvnnegrnhgrjkhlkfhdkclfncvlgj: command not found
This can be pasted into the Modhex_Calculator page.
This requires you to have the pam module enabled with debug turned on. When prompted for the YubiKey press the button. The pam module will print out debug information including the OTP and ID of your token to the shell — copy the ID into your config file and you should be up and going.
Yubikey for `youruser': [pam_yubico.c:pam_sm_authenticate(867)] conv returned 44 bytes [pam_yubico.c:pam_sm_authenticate(885)] Skipping first 0 bytes. Length is 44, token_id set to 12 and token OTP always 32. [pam_yubico.c:pam_sm_authenticate(892)] OTP: ccccccclabcabkhbdncicglfltnukadfoifadfhhhhfe ID: cccccclabcab
Yubico PAM module and SELinux.
Users with SELinux in enforcing mode (the default on Fedora 17+) may experience login problems with services including those validated via polkit-agent-helper-1, sshd and login.
This is documented in Red Hat bugzilla including a work around for ssh (Equivalent files could be created for other services). Systems in permissive mode will generate AVC warnings but authentication will succeed.
To determine if you have SELinux enforcing or not run the
If you want to use the YubiKey to authenticate you on Linux console
logins, add the following to the top of
auth sufficient pam_yubico.so id=[Your API Client ID] debug
OpenVPN and ActiveDirectory
create file /etc/pam.d/openvpn:
auth required pam_yubico.so ldap_uri=ldap://ldap-srv debug id=[Your API Client ID] yubi_attr=pager ldapdn=dc=ad,dc=next-audience,dc=net ldap_filter=(&(sAMAccountName=%u)(memberOf=CN=mygroup,OU=DefaultUser,DC=adivser,DC=net)) ldap_bind_user=bind_user ldap_bind_password=bind_password try_first_pass account required pam_yubico.so
create file openvpn.conf
plugin openvpn-plugin-auth-pam.so openvpn
If you want to discuss anything related to the Yubico PAM module, please e-mail the mailing list email@example.com.