NIS+ principals can have two types of credential: DES and LOCAL.
DES credentials are only one method of achieving authentication. In the future, other methods may be available. Thus, do not equate DES credentials with NIS+ credentials.
In this document, the term DES credentials is used generically to denote a Diffie-Hellman key based authentication, regardless of key length. The system allows you to specify the key length from a pre-determined set. Use nisauthconf to set or display the Diffie-Hellman key length.
DES (Data Encryption Standard) credentials are the type of credential that provide secure authentication. When this guide refers to NIS+ checking a credential to authenticate an NIS+ principal, it is the DES credential that NIS+ is validating.
Each time a principal requests an NIS+ service or access to an NIS+ object, the software uses the credential information stored for that principal to generate a credential for that principal. DES credentials are generated from information created for each principal by an NIS+ administrator, as explained in Chapter 12, Administering NIS+ Credentials.
When the validity of a principal's DES credential is confirmed by NIS+, that principal is authenticated.
A principal must be authenticated in order to be placed in the owner, group, or world authorization classes. In other words, you must have a valid DES credential in order to be placed in one of those classes. (Principals who do not have a valid DES credential are automatically placed in the nobody class.)
DES credential information is always stored in the cred table of the principal's home domain, regardless of whether that principal is a client user or a client machine.
LOCAL credentials are simply a map between a user's User ID number and NIS+ principal name which includes their home domain name. When users log in, the system looks up their LOCAL credential, which identifies their home domain where their DES credential is stored. The system uses that information to get the user's DES credential information.
When users log in to a remote domain, those requests use their LOCAL credential which points back to their home domain; NIS+ then queries the user's home domain for that user's DES credential information. This allows a user to be authenticated in a remote domain even though the user's DES credential information is not stored in that domain.
LOCAL credential information can be stored in any domain. In fact, in order to log into a remote domain and be authenticated, a client user must have a LOCAL credential in the cred table of the remote domain. If a user does not have a LOCAL credential in a remote domain the user is trying to access, NIS+ will be unable to locate the user's home domain to obtain the user's DES credential. In such a case the user would not be authenticated and would be placed in the nobody class.