Two Factor PAM Configuration

PAM configuration is somewhat complex, but a typical use-case is to require both a password and Yubikey to allow access. This can be achieved by a PAM configuration like this:

auth requisite pam_yubico.so id=42
auth required pam_unix.so use_first_pass

The first line makes pam_yubico check the OTP. Use either a per-user file called ~/.yubico/authorized_yubikeys, or a system wide file called /etc/yubikey_mappings to specify which Yubikeys that can be used to log in as specific users. See the README for more information.

The use_first_pass on the next line says that the password the pam_unix module should check should be received from the earlier PAM modules and that the module should not query for passwords.

Of course, if you use username/password verification from a SQL database or LDAP, you need to change the second line above. But the module you use needs to support use_first_pass for this to work. Most modules support this.

Be sure to comment out any other auth lines in your PAM configuration, unless you want those. For example, Debian contains a @include common-auth which would confuse the configuration.

To log in, you now need to enter both your Unix password and enter an OTP using your Yubikey. When prompted for the password, enter the Unix password first and then (without pressing enter) push the button on your Yubikey.

If it doesn’t work, enable debugging (see the README) and try again.