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gnome-screensaver does not respond to an expired password

Feature state

Rejected Information


Using novell-lum-

1. Authenticate to eDir,

2. Wait until the desktop is locked with screensaver enabled

3. Expire the user's password

4. Attempt to enter user password to unlock the destkop

5. The screensaver just goes into thinking mode for about 30 seconds then re-prompts the user for the password.

If I disable password expire then I am able to unlock the desktop. Am attaching the gnome-screensaver file from /etc/pam.d.



icons/user_comment.png S. B. wrote: (8 years ago)

Marcus, can you give me an opinion from a security point-of-view? For me that sounds like a correct behavior.

I'm wondering how other OSes handle this.

icons/user_comment.png M. M. wrote: (8 years ago)

I think the reporter means that GNOME screensaver should show a message about the expiredness instead of "nothing".

This probagly needs to be implemented in gnome-screensaver.

icons/user_comment.png S. B. wrote: (8 years ago)

Ah, ok, I had a different understanding, but you are right, a message would be good enough.

Alex, could someone from your team look at that?

icons/user_comment.png A. C. wrote: (8 years ago)

Lance, why don't you take a look and see how difficult to add this message in to the screensaver.

icons/user_comment.png W. L. wrote: (8 years ago)


  • I found that this feature is related to security.  GS implemented three methods for authorization in source level. They are forking a process to call /sbin/unix2_chkpwd,  directly calling pam API, and directly accessing system password database.  But only one of them can be compiled in GS finally.  Currently in SLED the default method is using the unix2_chkpwd helper.
  • I also found that the function of this feature has been implemented in the method of directly calling pam API. And it is not possible to implement the feature by avoiding modifying the source of /sbin/unix2_chkpwd which is a part of the package pam. Beause the unix2_chkpwd returns nothing about the expired password.
  • So I made a rpm with the method of directly calling pam API. However it need to change the default configuration about GS in /etc/pam.d. I do not kown, if it is OK.
  • I think maybe we need security team to look this part.
  • And this is the URL of new packages https://api.suse.de/build/home:lzwang:branches:SUSE:SLE-11:Update:Test/standard/i586/gnome-screensaver/gnome-screensaver-2.24.0-14.26.1.i586.rpm


Lance Wang

icons/user_comment.png M. M. wrote: (8 years ago)

He asked me directly... quoting:

The feature I am working on need to change the default pam configration of
+gnome-screensaver. In /etc/pam.d/gnome-screensaver

the original settings are

auth       include      common-auth 
account include common-account
password include common-password
session include common-session

and the settings I changed to are

auth    required    pam_env.so 
auth optional pam_gnome_keyring.so
auth required pam_unix.so sha512 shadow nullok try_first_pass use_authok
account include common-account
password include common-password
session include common-session

icons/user_comment.png M. M. wrote: (8 years ago)

I do not think this will work.

common-auth is there for a reason, namely you can switch authentication methods. YOu are overriding it to hard and fixed new method. also with fixed password crypt method.

I do not see how this can change the timeout behaviour

I also do not know if gnome-screensaver is able to do that anyway due to its simple method of chceking passwords.

Ludwig or Thorsten , any comment?

icons/user_comment.png T. K. wrote: (8 years ago)

This settings doesn't make any sense and I fail to see why this changes do fix the issue.

This changes can only fix the issue of the analysis of the problem is completly wrong.

Expires is only checked in acct, so why does gnome-screensaver calles accounting at all?

If gnome-screensaver should not check accounting, don't call that modules. If it should check accounting, the current behavior is exactly what you want.

icons/user_comment.png L. N. wrote: (8 years ago)

Actually gnome-screensaver does not check accounting when using unix2_chkpwd as unix2_chkpwd doesn't check accounting. This can be seen when using a local user and expiring it's shadow info. I guess the eDir server actually locks the account or the pam module that authenticates with the eDir server gets it wrong.

FWIW even if gnome-screensaver is compiled without unix2_chkpwd ie does the pam conversation itself and does call pam_acct_mgmt the expiry info gets lost. gnome-screensaver doesn't check the return value of pam_acct_mgmt...

icons/user_comment.png T. K. wrote: (8 years ago)

Ok, then my analysis is the following:

- Problem only happens with novell-lum

- gnome-screensaver, unix2_chkpwd and pam_unix2 do all ignore accounting

=> novell-lum checks accounting in auth phase, too. This is a novell-lum bug and should be handled via bugzilla, but nothing we can change on SLE*

icons/user_comment.png T. K. wrote: (8 years ago)

And this explains why the modified pam config file "fixes" the issue: it removes novell-lum. Removing novell-lum from common-auth would have the same effect.

icons/user_comment.png W. L. wrote: (8 years ago)

I am sorry. I lost a lot of the details about the way of modifying.

   1. I know little about lum or eDir.

   2. According comment 3 and 4, I just want gnome-screensaver to show a message instead of no response.

   3. The return of the unix2_chkpwd is just only Yes or NO. But the return of directly calling pam includes all kinds of errors. And the errors already can be shown in the dialog according the source code. So I change the way from unix2_chkpwd to directly calling pam.

   4. With the pam module compiled in, gnome-screensaver could not make successful auth as the default configuration of /etc/pam.d/gnome-screensaver needs privilege rights. So I change the default configuration.

   5. I do not known if it is OK to change the default configuration, so I ask Marcus.

   6. Because I konw little about eDir, so I comment the package URL hoping anyone can test it with the eDir configuration.

Hope you can understand.

After reading your comments I am also sure that the reason is at novell-lum. Beause checking expiration is in account management stage of pam. Anyway I think it is better use the way directly calling pam instead of unix2_chkpwd as the former can return more info than the latter.

And another request if anyone could tell me that is there any message shown when the gnome-screensaver compiled with pam is under the configuration of eDir and the password is expired.


Lance Wang

Last change: 8 years ago
Score: 1
  • Negative: 0
  • Neutral: 0
  • Positive: 1
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