MIT Kerberos Documentation

GSSAPI mechanism interface

The GSSAPI library in MIT krb5 can load mechanism modules to augment the set of built-in mechanisms.

A mechanism module is a Unix shared object or Windows DLL, built separately from the krb5 tree. Modules are loaded according to the /etc/gss/mech config file, as described in GSSAPI mechanism modules.

For the most part, a GSSAPI mechanism module exports the same functions as would a GSSAPI implementation itself, with the same function signatures. The mechanism selection layer within the GSSAPI library (called the “mechglue”) will dispatch calls from the application to the module if the module’s mechanism is requested. If a module does not wish to implement a GSSAPI extension, it can simply refrain from exporting it, and the mechglue will fail gracefully if the application calls that function.

The mechglue does not invoke a module’s gss_add_cred, gss_add_cred_from, gss_add_cred_impersonate_name, or gss_add_cred_with_password function. A mechanism only needs to implement the “acquire” variants of those functions.

A module does not need to coordinate its minor status codes with those of other mechanisms. If the mechglue detects conflicts, it will map the mechanism’s status codes onto unique values, and then map them back again when gss_display_status is called.

Interposer modules

The mechglue also supports a kind of loadable module, called an interposer module, which intercepts calls to existing mechanisms rather than implementing a new mechanism.

An interposer module must export the symbol gss_mech_interposer with the following signature:

gss_OID_set gss_mech_interposer(gss_OID mech_type);

This function is invoked with the OID of the interposer mechanism as specified in /etc/gss/mech, and returns a set of mechanism OIDs to be interposed. The returned OID set must have been created using the mechglue’s gss_create_empty_oid_set and gss_add_oid_set_member functions.

An interposer module must use the prefix gssi_ for the GSSAPI functions it exports, instead of the prefix gss_.

An interposer module can link against the GSSAPI library in order to make calls to the original mechanism. To do so, it must specify a special mechanism OID which is the concatention of the interposer’s own OID byte string and the original mechanism’s OID byte string.

Since gss_accept_sec_context does not accept a mechanism argument, an interposer mechanism must, in order to invoke the original mechanism’s function, acquire a credential for the concatenated OID and pass that as the verifier_cred_handle parameter.

Since gss_import_name, gss_import_cred, and gss_import_sec_context do not accept mechanism parameters, the SPI has been extended to include variants which do. This allows the interposer module to know which mechanism should be used to interpret the token. These functions have the following signatures:

OM_uint32 gssi_import_sec_context_by_mech(OM_uint32 *minor_status,
    gss_OID desired_mech, gss_buffer_t interprocess_token,
    gss_ctx_id_t *context_handle);

OM_uint32 gssi_import_name_by_mech(OM_uint32 *minor_status,
    gss_OID mech_type, gss_buffer_t input_name_buffer,
    gss_OID input_name_type, gss_name_t output_name);

OM_uint32 gssi_import_cred_by_mech(OM_uint32 *minor_status,
    gss_OID mech_type, gss_buffer_t token,
    gss_cred_id_t *cred_handle);

To re-enter the original mechanism when importing tokens for the above functions, the interposer module must wrap the mechanism token in the mechglue’s format, using the concatenated OID. The mechglue token formats are:

  • For gss_import_sec_context, a four-byte OID length in big-endian order, followed by the mechanism OID, followed by the mechanism token.
  • For gss_import_name, the bytes 04 01, followed by a two-byte OID length in big-endian order, followed by the mechanism OID, followed by the bytes 06, followed by the OID length as a single byte, followed by the mechanism OID, followed by the mechanism token.
  • For gss_import_cred, a four-byte OID length in big-endian order, followed by the mechanism OID, followed by a four-byte token length in big-endian order, followed by the mechanism token. This sequence may be repeated multiple times.