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Linux Pluggable Authentication Modules (PAM) provide dynamic authorization for applications and services in a Linux system. Linux PAM is evolved from the Unix Pluggable Authentication Modules architecture.
There are four groups for independent management:
- Account modules check that the specified account is a valid authentication target under current conditions. This may include conditions like account expiration, time of day, and that the user has access to the requested service.
- Authentication modules verify the user's identity, for example by requesting and checking a password or other secret. They may also pass authentication information on to other systems like a keyring.
- Password modules are responsible for updating passwords, and are generally coupled to modules employed in the authentication step. They may also be used to enforce strong passwords.
- Session modules define actions that are performed at the beginning and end of sessions. A session starts after the user has successfully authenticated.
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