PAM(8)                  NetBSD System Manager's Manual                  PAM(8)

NAME
     pam -- Pluggable Authentication Modules framework

DESCRIPTION
     The Pluggable Authentication Modules (PAM) framework is a system of
     libraries that perform authentication tasks for services and applica-
     tions.  Applications that use the PAM API may have their authentication
     behavior configured by the system administrator though the use of the
     service's PAM configuration file.

     PAM modules provide four classes of functionality:

     account   Account verification services such as password expiration and
               access control.

     auth      Authentication services.  This usually takes the form of a
               challenge-response conversation.  However, PAM can also sup-
               port, with appropriate hardware support, biometric devices,
               smart-cards, and so forth.

     password  Password (or, more generally, authentication token) change and
               update services.

     session   Session management services.  These are tasks that are per-
               formed before access to a service is granted and after access
               to a service is withdrawn.  These may include updating activity
               logs or setting up and tearing down credential forwarding
               agents.

     A primary feature of PAM is the notion of ``stacking'' different modules
     together to form a processing chain for the task.  This allows fairly
     precise control over how a particular authentication task is performed,
     and under what conditions.  PAM module configurations may also inherit
     stacks from other module configurations, providing some degree of cen-
     tralized administration.

SEE ALSO
     login(1), passwd(1), su(1), pam(3), pam.conf(5), pam_chroot(8),
     pam_deny(8), pam_echo(8), pam_exec(8), pam_ftpusers(8), pam_group(8),
     pam_guest(8), pam_krb5(8), pam_ksu(8), pam_lastlog(8),
     pam_login_access(8), pam_nologin(8), pam_permit(8), pam_radius(8),
     pam_rhosts(8), pam_rootok(8), pam_securetty(8), pam_self(8), pam_skey(8),
     pam_ssh(8), pam_unix(8)

HISTORY
     The Pluggable Authentication Module framework was originally developed by
     SunSoft, described in DCE/OSF-RFC 86.0, and first deployed in Solaris
     2.6.  It was later incorporated into the X/Open Single Sign-On Service
     (XSSO) Pluggable Authentication Modules specifiation.

     The Pluggable Authentication Module framework first appeared in
     NetBSD 3.0.

NetBSD 5.1                     February 28, 2005                    NetBSD 5.1

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