The RPCSEC_GSS security flavor enables ONC RPC applications to maximize the features of GSS-API. RPCSEC_GSS sits “on top” of the GSS-API layer as shown in the following figure.
Mechanism — A security paradigm. Each kind of security mechanism offers a different kind of data protection, as well as one or more levels of data protection. You can use any security mechanism supported by the GSS-API (Kerberos V5, RSA public key, and so forth).
Security service — Either privacy or integrity or neither. The default is integrity. The service is mechanism independent.
QOP — Quality of protection. The QOP specifies the type of cryptographic algorithm to be used to implement privacy or integrity services. Each security mechanism can have one or more QOPs associated with it.
Applications can obtain lists of valid QOPs and mechanisms through functions provided by RPCSEC_GSS. See Miscellaneous Functions. Developers should avoid hard-coding mechanisms and QOPs into their applications, so that the applications do not need to be modified to use new or different mechanisms and QOPs.
Historically, “security flavor” and “authentication flavor” have had the same meaning. With the introduction of RPCSEC_GSS, “flavor” now has a somewhat different sense. A flavor can now include a service integrity or privacy along with authentication, although currently RPCSEC_GSS is the only flavor that falls into this category.
Using RPCSEC_GSS, ONC RPC applications establish a security context with a peer, exchange data, and destroy the context, just as they do with other flavors. After a context is established, the application can change the QOP and service for each data unit sent.
For more information on RPCSEC_GSS, including RPCSEC_GSS data types, see the rpcsec_gss(3N) man page.