[unisog] LDAP access for 3rd parties

Brian Friday bfriday at lasierra.edu
Wed Feb 13 16:10:14 GMT 2008

Hello Oscar,

I would be surprised if anyone gives full read access to their ldap  
tree to any vendors. You are correct that would be a huge security  
breach and would possibly allow raw access to the password attribute  
(depending on your LDAP systems acls in place).

Every external vendor I have worked with takes the password supplied  
by the "user", connects to the authentication source (via ldaps) and  
at the simplest level requests an authenticated bind using the  
credentials supplied. If the bind fails the credentials supplied are  
incorrect, success means they are correct and the 3rd party continues  
to do what they want to do.

Before refusing the 3rd party vendor's request out of hand it sounds  
like you need more information on exactly what they are wanting to do  
and what access level they require. Look at your LDAP application and  
see what you need to do to protect any/all attributes you consider  
private and then test it throughly internally before allowing them  

Overall I would argue that doing this (pending the acls used on your  
ldap tree to protect attributes) is no less secure than a user  
initiated IMAP, POP3, or SMTP Auth session.

My 2c, hope that helps.

Brian Friday
Manager, La Sierra University's IT: Infrastructure Department
Tel: (951) 785-2900 / Fax: (951) 785-2908
Riverside, CA 92515

On Feb 13, 2008, at 3:37 AM, Oscar Knight wrote:

> Hello Everyone,
> If you give a 3rd party access to your ldap for the purpose of
> authenticating your users then they have access to your user's raw
> password.  To me this is a serious general controls issue.
> We have other methods but are getting complaints from users that want
> 3rd party applications and their vendor only seems to know ldap.  In
> part I'm getting a lot of "well, site A, site B,...  are all  
> allowing us
>  to use their ldap service".
> Comments.
> Thanks,
> odk
> -- 
> Oscar D. Knight                           knightod at appstate dot edu
> ITS                                                Voice: 828-262-6946
> Appalachian State University, Boone, NC 28608        FAX: 828-262-2236
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