What do you mean by PAM (Pluggable Authentication Module)?
A PAM (Pluggable authentication module) is defined as an API (application programming interface) for the services related to authentication that allows the system administrators for adding new mechanisms regarding the authentication by installing the pluggable authentication module as well as changing the policies related to authentication by editing the files related to the configuration files. A PAM is defined as a method that integrates several low-level authentication schemes into high-level application programming interfaces allowing programs depending on the authentication which is to be written independent related to essential authentication schemes. PAM was proposed by the Charlie Lai and Vipin Samar in 1995 of Sun Microsystems. It was adopted as an authentication framework for the environment of the common desktop. The PAM API provides six different authentication primitives that grouped into four separate facilities such as password, session, account and authentication. Authentication is defined as a facility which is concerned with the applicants for authentication as well as developing the credentials regarding the account besides offering two primitives such as the pam-setcred and pam-authenticate.
The PAM framework offers the system administrators with the capability to incorporate several authentication methods into the current system via utilization of pluggable modules. The applications enabled to create the utilization can be plugged-in to several new technologies without changing the existing applications. This given flexibility permits the administrators to do the following:
- Choose any of the authentication services on the system for application
- Utilization of number of authentication methods for the given service
- Add some new modules regarding the authentication service without changing the current applications
- Utilize a previously used password for authentication with number of modules
The PAM framework consists of pluggable modules, a configuration files as well as the library. The PAM library deploys the PAM API and provides to manage the transactions related to PAM as well as invoke the PAM SPI (service programming interface) described in the pluggable modules. Pluggable modules are loaded by the library based on the given invoking service as well as its entry in the configuration file. The success rate is recognized by the defined behaviour along with the pluggable module. It can configure to authenticate through several authentication mechanisms via the concept of stacking.
What are the benefits of PAM?
PAM is known as a way of permitting the system administrator to set the policy without the need of recompilation regarding the authentication programs. With pluggable authentication module, the user control how particular authentication modules are plugged into the program by making some changing that PAM configuration file in /etc.pam.d.
PAM offers different benefits for the system administrator such as:
- A common scheme of authentication that can be utilized with the high range of applications
- PAM can be deployed with several applications without the need to recompile the application to especially support pluggable authentication modules.
- Best control and flexibility over the authentication for the application developer and administrator.
- The developers of application don’t require for developing their program to utilize a specific authentication scheme.
Limitations of using PAM method
Different limitations of PAM method are as follows:
- It has very large bandwidth as compared to the modulating signal
- Varying amplitude regarding the carrier varies the peak power needed for the transmission
- Due to varying amplitude regarding the carrier varies; it is very hard to eliminate noise at the receiver
- In pluggable authentication module, the amplitude regarding the rectangular pulse train in varied as per instant value related to modulating signal
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