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Category:   OS (UNIX)  >   Pam (Pluggable Authentication Modules) Vendors:   Sun
Sun Solaris Pluggable Authentication Module Grants Access To Null Passwords
SecurityTracker Alert ID:  1000947
SecurityTracker URL:
CVE Reference:   GENERIC-MAP-NOMATCH   (Links to External Site)
Date:  Feb 20 2001
Impact:   User access via local system, User access via network

Description:   The Solaris 8 pluggable authentication module accepts a NULL password instead of rejecting it.

It was reported that the issue is known by Sun but no workarounds or solutions were apparent to the reporter. Sunsolve reportedly has issued bugid 4384816 regarding this issue, known since 06-Nov-2000 with a status of 'Evaluated' but with no workaround or other information posted as yet.

If this module is used for authentication, as configured in pam.conf per the pam_ldap manpage (for example), entering a NULL password will provide a login shell prompt. Entering a NULL password provides the same function as entering a correct password, instead of being rejected.

Impact:   An attacker could gain access to any application that uses this module.
Solution:   No solution was available at the time of this entry.
Vendor URL: (Links to External Site)
Cause:   Authentication error
Underlying OS:  UNIX (Solaris - SunOS)

Message History:   None.

 Source Message Contents

Subject:  Solaris 8 module broken

I looked through the archives back to November 2000 and didn't see
this mentioned.  Apologies if it's there and I missed it.

Sunsolve has bugid 4384816 on file regarding this issue.  It's been
known since 06-Nov-2000 with a status of 'Evaluated' but no workaround
or other information, helpful or otherwise, posted as yet.

The problem is that if you use this module for authentication, as
configured in pam.conf per the pam_ldap manpage (for example),
entering a NULL password is a quick way to get a login shell prompt.
That is, entering a NULL password is technically equivalent to
entering the correct password as far as this module is concerned.
Providing an incorrect password (other than NULL, of course) or a
valid password results in proper behavior.

Using the pam_ldap module compiled from source code available at appears to work correctly though I've only had
time to test against the problem described above.


Caleb David


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