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Let's sudo by face recognition of Windows Hello on Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). It runs on both WSL 1 and WSL 2. This is a PAM module for Linux on WSL.


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WSL Hello sudo

"WSL Hello sudo" is a Linux PAM module and companion Windows CLI apps that realize sudo by biometric login of Windows Hello on Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL).
This PAM module allows you to authenticate sudo via face recognition, fingerprint authentication, and of couse machine-local PIN. It runs in both WSL and WSL 2.

Both the Linux PAM module and Windows CLI app are written in Rust. Please use it at your own risk. There is no warranty.


"WSL Hello sudo" actually does not modify your sudo command at all. It is a Linux PAM module.
PAM, Plaggable Authentication Module, is a UNIX's module system that provides user authentication mechanisms to applications such as sudo or su. "WSL Hello sudo" is such a PAM module that lets applications use Windows Hello.

Installation and Configuration


The installation process is very simple.
Please download the latest release package from GitHub Release and unpack it.
Run inside the directory, and follow the instruction of

$ wget
$ tar xvf release.tar.gz
$ cd release
$ ./

Although you don't have to care about the detailed installation process, does following things.

  1. Copy a small Windows CLI app that launches Windows Hello to C:\Users\your_account\pam_wsl_hello (default location)
  2. Install a PAM module to your WSL system.
  3. Create config files in /etc/pam_wsl_hello/
  4. Create a pam-configs entry in /usr/share/pam-configs/ for automatic PAM configuration
  5. Create


"WSL Hello sudo" is not a fork of sudo but a PAM module. You have to adjust the PAM configuration to make it effective.

Automatic configuration

On Ubuntu, you can use sudo pam-auth-update to show a list of installed PAM authentication modules, and select the ones you want to use for authentication (which will also affect sudo etc.)

The install scripts will install the required configuration. If you're not using the install script, you can copy the pam-config file from the release tarball to /usr/share/pam-configs/.

Manual configuration

If for some reason you do not want to use automatic configuration, you can configure /etc/pam.d/sudo manually. I strongly recommend to set password of root first so that you can switch to it by su, in case you make some typo in the config of sudo.
Add auth sufficient to the top line of your /etc/pam.d/sudo like the following example


auth       sufficient
session    required readenv=1 user_readenv=0
session    required readenv=1 envfile=/etc/default/locale user_readenv=0
@include common-auth
@include common-account
@include common-session-noninteractive

Even if you fail to authenticate via Windows Hello, sudo moves on to the regular password authentication by this setting with sufficient.

Other applications that authenticate users such as su can also utilize Windows Hello by this module.
Even so, I strongly recommend you to make either sudo or su free from this module to prevent from being locked out


Windows Hello window appears in background.

The Windows Hello dialog sometimes appears in background. In some cases, it even fails to recognize your face with some weird error message. It seems a bug of Windows API. In that case, restarting Windows a couple of times might solve the problem.

"Windows Hello is not invoked! sudo just prompts password!"

Maybe some error is happening. Unfortunately, sudo suppresses error messages from PAM modules.
To debug "WSL Hello sudo", make it effective for su instead of sudo. su shows error messages from PAM modules, so you can see what is going on.

For your information, the setting for su will be like the example below. I will show only relevant two lines.

auth       sufficient
auth       sufficient  


Both the Linux PAM module and the Windows CLI apps of "WSL Hello sudo" are written in Rust. So, only cargo is required to build it.

To build "WSL Hello sudo", make sure you're in WSL and then just run make.

$ git clone
$ cd WSL-Hello-sudo
$ make


Windows Hello maintains RSA key-pairs for each Windows user in its TPM hardware, and tells success of authentication by signing given contents by the private key. To utilize its API, "WSL Hello sudo" contains small Windows CLI apps that return public key and signed signature of given content. On the other hand, the PAM module of "WSL Hello sudo" remembers the public keys of each Windows user who corresponds to each Linux user. So, the PAM module authenticates the given Linux user by the following process.

  1. The PAM module is launched by sudo and receives a Linux user to be authenticated
  2. The PAM module launches the companion Windows app and sends a random value via WSL's interop bridge
  3. The companion Windows app invokes Windows Hello
  4. Windows Hello makes a signature of the given input by the private key of the current Windows user
  5. The companion Windows app returns the signature
  6. The PAM module verifies the signature by the public key of the Windows user who corresponds to the given Linux user.


Let's sudo by face recognition of Windows Hello on Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). It runs on both WSL 1 and WSL 2. This is a PAM module for Linux on WSL.








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