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Apache::AuthenPasswd - mod_perl /etc/passwd Authentication module


    <Directory /foo/bar>
    # This is the standard authentication stuff
    AuthName "Foo Bar Authentication"
    AuthType Basic

    PerlAuthenHandler Apache::AuthenPasswd

    # Standard require stuff, /etc/passwd users or /etc/group groups, and
    # "valid-user" all work OK
    require user username1 username2 ...
    require group groupname1 groupname2 ... # [Need Apache::AuthzPasswd]
    require valid-user

    # The following is actually only needed when authorizing
    # against /etc/group. This is a separate module.
    PerlAuthzHandler Apache::AuthzPasswd


    These directives can also be used in the <Location> directive or in
    an .htaccess file.


        **************** NOTICE *********************
        Please, please, realize that this module will
        only work with passwords that are stored in
        /etc/passwd.  Most systems use shadow
        passwords now, and the call that this module
        uses to access the password ONLY checks for
        the password in the /etc/passwd file.  Also,
        the call that is needed to access passwords
        in /etc/shadow cannot be called by anyone
        other than root, so, (unless you are crazy
        enough to run apache as root), you will not
        be able to access /etc/shadow.

        For more info on shadow passwords:

        For alternatives that can access /etc/shadow from

This perl module is designed to work with mod_perl. It is a direct adaptation (i.e. I modified the code) of Michael Parker's ( Apache::AuthenSmb module.

The module uses getpwnam to retrieve the passwd entry from the /etc/passwd file, using the supplied username as the search key. It then uses crypt() to verify that the supplied password matches the retrieved hashed password.

= head2 Apache::AuthenPasswd vs. Apache::AuthzPasswd

I've taken "authentication" to be meaningful only in terms of a user and password combination, not group membership. This means that you can use Apache::AuthenPasswd with the require user and require valid-user directives. In the /etc/passwd and /etc/group context I consider require group to be an "authorization" concern. I.e., group authorization consists of establishing whether the already authenticated user is a member of one of the indicated groups in the require group directive. This process may be handled by Apache::AuthzPasswd. Admittedly, AuthzPasswd is a misnomer, but I wanted to keep AuthenPasswd and AuthzPasswd related, if only by name.

I welcome any feedback on this module, esp. code improvements, given that it was written hastily, to say the least.


Demetrios E. Paneras <> and Shannon Eric Peevey <>


Copyright (c) 1998, 2003 Demetrios E. Paneras, MIT Media Laboratory.

This library is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself.