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From Ludovic Poitou <>
Subject Re: PasswordPolicy handling
Date Wed, 11 Mar 2015 10:43:41 GMT

Ludovic Poitou

From: Emmanuel Lécharny <>
Reply: Apache Directory Developers List <>>
Date: 10 Mar 2015 at 09:23:04
To: Apache Directory Developers List <>>
Subject:  PasswordPolicy handling  

Hi guys, 

this morning, we have had a quick discussion with Kiran that I will 
retranscript here. Let me give you a bit of feedback first. 

Yesterday, I was working on Studio, and more specifically on the 
ApacheDS configuration PasswordPolicy page. I just wanted to add some 
missing elements (a couple, pwdMinDelay and pwdMaxDelay). At some point, 
I wondered how we could possibly associate a PP to an entry, assuming we 
may define more than one PP, beside the default one. 
Then I read the thread on the user list, where someone is having trouvle 
defining a specific PP, and leverage it. The answer was to add a 
pwdPolicySubEntry DN in each entry that has to use this added PP. Here 
is an exemple : 

dn: uid=jsmith,ou=users,ou=int,o=company 
uid: jsmith 
cn: jsmith 
pwdPolicySubEntry: ads-pwdId=internalUsers,ou=passwordPolicies,ads-interceptorId=authenticationInterceptor,ou=interceptors,adsdirectoryServiceId=default,ou=config 

The pwdPolicySubEntry attribute should be read-only, and thus should not be set by administrators.

It should be set by the server to indicate which PP is enforced for a specific user.

No need to say that it's extremelly heavy when you have thousands of users. 
I’ve yet to see a customer who wants to define a different password policy for each user.

Now, let me relate what we discussed with Kiran : 

The RFC draft states that PP must be define in subentry : 

"A password policy is defined for a particular subtree of the DIT by adding to an LDAP subentry
whose immediate superior is the root of the subtree" 

By all means, it's equivalent to what we have for Collective Attributes, Subschema Subentries,
Access Control, Triggers. The DIT area impacted by such a subentry would be defined by the
subentry SubtreeSpecification, and each entry below the subentry's parent would be evaluated
accordingly to the SubtreeSpecification. The pwdPolicySubEntry attribute would be added on
the fly when the entry is requested, not added into the entry itself. 

This would be a huge chenge is the way we currently handle PP, as we do it through the cn=config

My perception is that PP should not be stored in the configuration at all, but Kiran perception
is that would make it quite complicated to administrate the server, especially when most of
the users would have only one PP. 

I agree with Kiran on this point. 

Now, what are the possible path for a better handling of PPs ? Here are a few suggestions
- the default PP should remain in the configuration. It will be associated with the rootDSE,
and apply to the whole DIT 
- thid default PP could be disabled, if needed 
- regarding new PP, we have two options : 
- we keep declaring them in the confing, but they are translated to a subentry at startup
(we have to add a DN to the PP in config) 
- we remove the PP declaration in the config 
(I personally find the first approach more appealing, as it allows users to administrate the
config globally, although it makes it more complex from the code pov, as we have to update
teh config when we add a new PP as a subentry. That means the config generates a subentry,
and updating the subentry update the config. Not exactly simple...). 
- we most certainly have to define a new administrative role for PP, and handle subentries
and teh way they are applied. That means we most certainly have to create a new interceptor 

Lot of works, for sure. 

Thoughts ? 

OpenDJ supports both global PP that are defined as part of the configuration, and custom password
policies that are defined in the DIT as SubEntries, and assigned to specific users directly,
or through CollectiveAttributes.

We have a specific operational attribute that one can set to assign a password policy to a
user (ds-pwp-password-policy-dn).

The advantage of the custom password policies part of the DIT is that they are replicated
and thus are guaranteed to be identical on all servers.

In general, most customers define 1 or 2 policies.

For your proposal, I think it makes sense to translate the PP defined in the config into a
subEntry, that is read-only.

I hope this helps.


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