Extended authentication information in Secure Shell (SSH)

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Last updated 2017-03-11
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Internet-Draft                                                  D. Bider
Intended status: Standards Track                         Bitvise Limited
Expires: September 11, 2017                               March 11, 2017

       Extended authentication information in Secure Shell (SSH)


  This memo defines a way for SSH server applications to send additional
  information to clients as part of authentication failure. A mechanism
  to relay such information can reduce the need for end user support in
  situations where a client would successfully authenticate, but cannot
  log in for a policy reason, such as password age or public key size.


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Bider                                                           [Page 1]
Internet-Draft   Extended authentication information in SSH   March 2017

1.  Overview and Rationale

  Secure Shell (SSH) is a common protocol for secure communication on
  the Internet. In [RFC4252], SSH defines a standard failure message,
  SSH_MSG_USERAUTH_FAILURE, for use with "password", "publickey", and
  other authentication methods.

  The SSH_MSG_USERAUTH_FAILURE message was designed under the assumption
  that the server never needs to inform the client about exact reasons
  behind an authentication failure. In practice, there are situations
  where revealing such information is beneficial, and is not a risk. In
  these situations, not revealing the cause of failure deprives client
  software and end users of information needed to appropriately respond.

  This memo describes a mechanism which leverages [SSH-EXT-INFO] for
  client software to signal that it is willing to receive extra
  information as part of the SSH_MSG_USERAUTH_FAILURE message. A format
  for the additional information is described, as well as definitions
  for a number of common status codes.

1.1.  Requirements Terminology

  The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
  document are to be interpreted as described in [RFC2119].

2.  Indicating Support

  Extended information cannot be sent to clients that do not indicate
  support: widely used clients disconnect on unexpected data. Therefore,
  SSH clients and servers that support this extension SHALL implement
  [SSH-EXT-INFO]. When sending SSH_MSG_EXT_INFO to a server that signals
  support for that message, a client MAY include this extension:

    extension-name:    "ext-auth-info"
    extension-value:   (empty)

  The client MUST send an empty extension value. A server that does not
  expect an extension value MUST ignore it, regardless of the value.

Bider                                                           [Page 2]
Internet-Draft   Extended authentication information in SSH   March 2017

3.  Extended Format of SSH_MSG_USERAUTH_FAILURE

  When sending SSH_MSG_USERAUTH_FAILURE to a client that signals support
  for this mechanism as per Section 2, the server MAY send the message
  in original format, as specified in [RFC4252]:

      byte         SSH_MSG_USERAUTH_FAILURE
      name-list    authentications that can continue
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