OpenBMC community telecon - 11/27 Agenda

Vernon Mauery vernon.mauery at
Tue Dec 19 09:39:18 AEDT 2017

On 18-Dec-2017 01:07 PM, Brad Bishop wrote:
>On Mon, 2017-12-04 at 17:02 -0800, Vernon Mauery wrote:
>Hi Vernon
>Really appreciate you putting this together - thanks.  I do have a
>couple comments/questions.
>> For the discussion on user management.
>> Overview:
>> 1. User management is done via PAM.
>Are there any aspects of user management that are done outside of PAM?

Yes. It turns out that IPMI management with multiple LAN channels throws 
a wrench in things, so it may be that IPMI need to do some of its user 
management separately (like determining what privileges a user gets on a 
particular channel). There may be other stuff like this, so it might be 
helpful to define a 'hook' or something that says if a user is a member 
of group X, you must notify group X when you want to change stuff.

>I only ask this because your writeup feels like a good start on a
>README somewhere.  To that end, would it make sense to frame this from
>the perspective of different actors attempting to add function?  For
> If you want to implement a service that authenticates a user:
>   - do v
>   - do w
> If you want to implement a service that adds users to a user database:
>   - do x
> If you want to implement a service that adds users to a group:
>   - do y
> If you want to implement a service that authorizes a user:
>   - do z
> etc, and then the IPMI specifics would just be adhering to this
>I could have these bullet points all wrong.  This was just meant as a
>straw-man for a more general document that can guide people looking to
>add this type of function later.

Yes, this sort of writeup as a README would be a good idea. Not just an 
API, but a practical usage guide.

>> 2. If IPMI is being used, PAM loads the password module.
>>    a. intercepts password changes and saves the password
>>       for IPMI-enabled users to a file that can be read at a later
>> time
>>       to initiate an RMCP+ session. (encrypted or obfuscated with a
>>       per-BMC key so no passwords are written directly in flash.)
>>    b. implements a method to decrypt passwords and
>> provide
>>       them to host-ipmi (for test password command) and net-ipmi (for
>>       session initiation)
>> 3. If a user is not enabled for IPMI, their password will not be
>> saved
>>    in the ipmi database, and thus must be reset if/when that user
>> gains
>>    IPMI capability.
>> 4. If a user loses IPMI capability, their password is reset to force
>> a
>>    password change so their password is secure again.
>I'm not understanding why this is needed.  Couldn't we simply remove
>the password entry from the IPMI backend when the group membership
>changes?  Is this an artifact of how PAM works or do we think we need
>it for a more fundamental reason?

If the password is ever saved in the IPMI password database, it is best 
to assume it is no longer a secret. If you really want your password 
secure, it should be changed.

>> 5. Capabilities is done via unix groups
>>    a. Groups like ipmi, webserver, redfish, ssh, sol can provide
>> login
>>       or 'channel' access.
>I wonder if a per-channel (or service in PAM speak?) pam_listfile
>account entry can get us here.

Sure, that could be a pattern we follow. I would have to dig deeper to 
see if it buys us anything that plain-old unix groups would not provide.

>>    b. Groups like user-manager, media, power, sensor, etc., can
>> provide
>>       fine-grained access for various capabilities. Providers of
>>       capabilities should check to see that accessors (users) have
>> the
>>       required permission.
>pam_listfile might work here too, only this would global across all PAM

Once again, I am not entirely sure what this would buy over just using 
unix groups. We need to walk through some more usage scenarios like you 
have above.

>> 6. Admin-defined 'super-groups'
>>    a. Provide a set of pre-defined groups of capabilities that can be
>>       assigned to users: Admin, User, Operator or similar that each
>> have
>>       groups associated with them.
>Do we intend to also allow the contained subgroups to be
>changed/configured for the on the BMC dynamically?  For example could
>you remove the 'sensor' group from the Operator group (assuming that by
>default sensor group is included in the Operator group).

Ideally, yes, a system admin could change what capabilities each group 
allowed (like removing sensor capabilities from the Operator group), but 
to start with, just having a way to define the defaults at built time 
would be a good target.

>>    b. Changes to groups via APIs can make sure that if a user is
>>       assigned to a 'super-group' will stay assigned to the sub-
>> groups
>>    c. Changes made to users via manual commands may override API
>> groups
>This all seemed pretty straightforward until I got to #6.  It seems
>like it is definitely required but I'm wondering if it could be staged
>in later somehow?

Yes. Let's just start with defining a way to define defaults. This 
should be done using a yocto mechanism that allows developers of openbmc 
to override at build time (maybe on a platform basis?). This makes the 
original defaults less important (so not all of the contributors need to 
fully agree on what constitutes reasonable defaults).

>> Methods:
>Do we need similar APIs for groups?

Likely. But to start with, maybe we can skip that part. To start with, 
the list of groups (and their associated capabilities) will be fixed at 
build time.

>>     1. CREATE_USER
>>         Privilege-required: USER-MANAGER
>>         Args:
>>             UserName - STRING (16 bytes only - else role change to
>> IPMI can't be done)
>>             Password - Byte Array (Max of 20 bytes if IPMID is
>> chosen. For
>>                        others can send more bytes, but change role to
>> IPMI will
>>                        request password again under 20 bytes)
>>             Roles - STRING with comma separated
>>         Return:
>>     2. DELETE_USER
>>         Privilege-required: USER-MANAGER
>>         Args:
>>             UserName - STRING
>>         Return:
>Can we use the xyz.openbmc_project.Object.Delete interface for this?
>The thinking was that a common Delete interface might make DBus<->UI
>implementations easier.  This is the same motivation behind asking for
>the org.freedesktop interfaces below.

I am fine with using generic interfaces as long as they fit the bill. 
Deleting a user seems like it should be straight-forward enough that 
this would work well.

>>         Privilege-required: USER-MANAGER
>>         Args:
>>             UserName - STRING
>>             New Password (if changed) - Byte Array
>>             New Role (if changed) - Array of STRING
>>         Return:
>I thought the intent was to strictly use PAM for this.  In what
>scenario do we need a DBus API for this?

For managing groups, this will have to be done outside of PAM. PAM 
doesn't know how to change /etc/group. So we will have to provide some 
central mechanism (probably in the phosphor-user-manager) to host the 
group management API.

>>         Privilege-required: Any Valid user
>>         Args:
>>             New Password - Byte Array
>>         Return:
>Same question as #3.

You are right. Passwords should not go over DBus. Things that change 
passwords should use PAM directly.

>>         Privilege-required: USER-MANAGER
>>         Args:
>>             NULL
>>         Return:
>>             Array of:
>>                 USER_NAME (String)
>>                 ROLES (String)
>Could we use org.freedesktop.DBus.ObjectManager.GetManagedObjects for


>> Signals:
>>         Args:
>>             UserName of updated user
>>             UpdateType:
>>                 Role changed / User Deleted / User created / Password
>Could we use org.freedesktop.DBus.Properties.PropertiesChanged here?



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