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3.7.4. Kerberos and PAM

Kerberos-aware services do not currently make use of Pluggable Authentication Modules (PAM) — these services bypass PAM completely. However, applications that use PAM can make use of Kerberos for authentication if the pam_krb5 module (provided in the pam_krb5 package) is installed. The pam_krb5 package contains sample configuration files that allow services such as login and gdm to authenticate users as well as obtain initial credentials using their passwords. If access to network servers is always performed using Kerberos-aware services or services that use GSS-API, such as IMAP, the network can be considered reasonably safe.


Administrators should be careful not to allow users to authenticate to most network services using Kerberos passwords. Many protocols used by these services do not encrypt the password before sending it over the network, destroying the benefits of the Kerberos system. For example, users should not be allowed to authenticate to Telnet services with the same password they use for Kerberos authentication.