[unisog] designing a password management system for privileged accounts

Russell Fulton r.fulton at auckland.ac.nz
Wed Oct 19 23:58:40 GMT 2005

Hi Folks,
	We are currently looking at building a system to manage our
root/administrator and other privileged account (oracle, etc) passwords.
 The purpose of this email is to very briefly describe what we are
intending and solicit feedback, both in terms of pitfalls and features
that we should add.

In general these passwords are not needed on a day to day basis, they
are only needed in emergencies and need to be accessible to a number of

There are several commercial products that do this but they all do much
more that we want and cost more than we are prepared to pay.  So we are
building out own with the intention of doing it 'properly' and open
sourcing the results.

The system will have the following attributes:

1/ provide secure central storage and management of passwords
2/ provide controlled (authorized) and audited access to the password
though a web front end.  Later we may write a 'fat' client that does
nice things like put the retrieved password onto the clipboard.
3/ provide automated change of passwords according to a customizable
4/ allow privileged users to reset passwords etc.
5/ will provide time limited access to particular passwords for
particular users.  (e.g. contractors coming in to work on a system)
6/ enforce password 'quality' standards by using randomly generated
7/ All passwords will be encrypted with one or more master keys for DR
8/ All passwords stored on the server will be encrypted with the public
key of the users who are allowed access to them.

We have yet to decide exactly what technology we will use as we are
still finalising the requirements.

Your input would be appreciated.


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