System Administration Guide: Security Services

Overview of Kerberized Commands

The Kerberized network services are programs that connect to another machine somewhere on the Internet. These programs are the following:

These programs have features that transparently use your Kerberos tickets for negotiating authentication and optional encryption with the remote host. In most cases, you'll notice only that you no longer have to type your password to use them, because Kerberos will provide proof of your identity for you.

The Kerberos V5 network programs include options that enable you to do the following:

Note –

This section assumes you are already familiar with the non-Kerberos versions of these programs, and highlights the Kerberos functionality added by the Kerberos V5 package. For detailed descriptions of the commands described here, see their respective man pages.

The following Kerberos options have been added to ftp, rcp, rlogin, rsh, and telnet:


Attempts automatic login using your existing tickets. Uses the username as returned by getlogin(), unless the name is different from the current user ID. See the telnet(1) man page for details.


Forwards a non-reforwardable ticket to a remote host. This option is mutually exclusive with the -F option. They cannot be used together in the same command.

You'll want to forward a ticket if you have reason to believe you'll need to authenticate yourself to other Kerberos-based services on a third host. For example, you might want to remotely log in to another machine and then remotely log in from it to a third machine.

You should definitely use a forwardable ticket if your home directory on the remote host is NFS-mounted using the Kerberos V5 mechanism. Otherwise, you won't be able to access your home directory. That is, suppose you initially log in to System 1. From System 1, you remotely log in to your home machine, System 2, which mounts your home directory from System 3. Unless you've used the -f or -F option with rlogin, you won't be able to get to your home directory because your ticket can't be forwarded to System 3.

By default, kinit obtains forwardable ticket-granting tickets (TGTs). However, your configuration might differ in this respect.

For more information on forwarding tickets, see Forwarding Kerberos Tickets.


Forwards a reforwardable copy of your TGT to a remote system. It is similar to -f, but it allows for access to a further (say, fourth or fifth) machine. The -F option can therefore be regarded as being a superset of the -f option. The -F option is mutually exclusive with the -f option. They cannot be used together in the same command.

For more information on forwarding tickets, see Forwarding Kerberos Tickets.

-k realm

Requests tickets for the remote host in the specified realm, instead of determining the realm itself using the krb5.conf file.


Uses your tickets to authenticate to the remote host, but does not automatically log in.

-m mechanism

Specifies the GSS-API security mechanism to use, as listed in the /etc/gss/mech file. Defaults to kerberos_v5.


Encrypts this session.

-X auth-type

Disables the auth-type type of authentication.

The following table shows which commands have specific options. An “X” indicates that the command has that option.

Table 26–1 Kerberos Options for Network Commands



































Additionally, ftp allows the protection level for a session to be set at its prompt:


Sets the protection level to “clear” (no protection). This protection level is the default.


Sets the protection level to “private.” Data transmissions are confidentiality-protected and integrity-protected by encryption. The privacy service might not be available to all Kerberos users, however.


Sets the protection level to “safe.” Data transmissions are integrity-protected by cryptographic checksum.

You can also set the protection level at the ftp prompt by typing protect followed by any of the protection levels shown above (clear, private, or safe).