Authentication, Authorization, and Accounting Configuration Guide, Cisco IOS Release 15SY
Password Strength and Management for Common Criteria
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Password Strength and Management for Common Criteria

Contents

Password Strength and Management for Common Criteria

The Password Strength and Management for Common Criteria feature is used to specify password policies and security mechanisms for storing, retrieving, and providing rules to specify user passwords.

For local users, the user profile and the password information with the key parameters are stored on the Cisco device, and this profile is used for local authentication of users. The user can be an administrator (terminal access) or a network user (for example, PPP users being authenticated for network access).

For remote users, where the user profile information is stored in a remote server, a third-party authentication, authorization, and accounting (AAA) server may be used for providing AAA services, both for administrative and network access.

Finding Feature Information

Your software release may not support all the features documented in this module. For the latest caveats and feature information, see Bug Search Tool and the release notes for your platform and software release. To find information about the features documented in this module, and to see a list of the releases in which each feature is supported, see the feature information table at the end of this module.

Use Cisco Feature Navigator to find information about platform support and Cisco software image support. To access Cisco Feature Navigator, go to www.cisco.com/​go/​cfn. An account on Cisco.com is not required.

Restrictions for Password Strength and Management for Common Criteria

Only four concurrent users can log on to the system by using vty at any moment.

Information About Password Strength and Management for Common Criteria

Password Composition Policy

The password composition policy allows you to create passwords of any combination of upper and lowercase characters, numbers, and special characters that include “!”, “@”, “#”, “$”, “%”,“^”, “&”, “*”, “(“, and “)”.

Password Length Policy

The administrator has the flexibility to set the password's minimum and maximum length. The recommended minimum password length is 8 characters. The administrator can specify both the minimum (1) and the maximum (64) length for the password.

Password Lifetime Policy

The security administrator can provide a configurable option for a password to have a maximum lifetime. If the lifetime parameter is not configured, the configured password will never expire. The maximum lifetime can be configured by providing the configurable value in years, months, days, hours, minutes, and seconds. The lifetime configuration will survive across reloads as it is a part of the configuration, but every time the system reboots, the password creation time will be updated to the new time. For example, if a password is configured with a lifetime of one month and on the 29th day, the system reboots, then the password will be valid for one month after the system reboots.

Password Expiry Policy

If the user attempts to log on and if the user's password credentials have expired, then the following happens:

  1. The user is prompted to set the new password after successfully entering the expired password.
  2. When the user enters the new password, the password is validated against the password security policy.
  3. If the new password matches the password security policy, then the AAA database is updated, and the user is authenticated with the new password.
  4. If the new password does not match the password security policy, then the user is prompted again for the password. From AAA perspective, there is no restriction on the number of retries. The number of retries for password prompt in case of unsuccessful authentication is controlled by the respective terminal access interactive module. For example, for telnet, after three unsuccessful attempts, the session will be terminated.

If the password's lifetime is not configured for a user and the user has already logged on and if the security administrator configures the lifetime for that user, then the lifetime will be set in the database. When the same user is authenticated the next time, the system will check for password expiry. The password expiry is checked only during the authentication phase.

If the user has been already authenticated and logged on to the system and if the password expires, then no action will be taken. The user will be prompted to change the password only during the next authentication for the same user.

Password Change Policy

The new password must contain a minimum of 4 character changes from the previous password. A password change can be triggered by the following scenarios:

  • The security administrator wants to change the password.
  • The user is trying to get authenticated using a profile, and the password for that profile has expired.

When the security administrator changes the password security policy and the existing profile does not meet the password security policy rules, no action will be taken if the user has already logged on to the system. The user will be prompted to change the password only when the user tries to get authenticated using the profile that does not meet the password security restriction.

When the user changes the password, the lifetime parameters set by the security administrator for the old profile will be the lifetime parameters for the new password.

For noninteractive clients such as dot1x, when the password expires, appropriate error messages will be sent to the clients, and the clients must contact the security administrator to renew the password.

User Reauthentication Policy

Users are reauthenticated when they change their passwords.

When users change their passwords on expiry, they will be authenticated against the new password. In such cases, the actual authentication happens based on the previous credentials, and the new password is updated in the database.


Note


Users can change their passwords only when they are logging on and after the expiry of the old password; however, a security administrator can change the user's password at any time.


Support for Framed (noninteractive) Session

When a client such as dot1x uses the local database for authentication, the Password Strength and Management for Common Criteria feature will be applicable; however, upon password expiry, clients will not be able to change the password. An appropriate failure message will be sent to such clients, and the user must request the security administrator to change the password.

How to Configure Password Strength and Management for Common Criteria

Configuring the Password Security Policy

Perform this task to create a password security policy and to apply the policy to a specific user profile.

SUMMARY STEPS

    1.    enable

    2.    configure terminal

    3.    aaa new-model

    4.    aaa common-criteria policy policy-name

    5.    char-changes number

    6.    max-length number

    7.    min-length number

    8.    numeric-count number

    9.    special-case number

    10.    exit

    11.    username username common-criteria-policy policy-name password password

    12.    end


DETAILED STEPS
     Command or ActionPurpose
    Step 1 enable


    Example:
    Device> enable
              
     

    Enables privileged EXEC mode.

    • Enter your password if prompted.
     
    Step 2configure terminal


    Example:
    Device# configure terminal
              
     

    Enters global configuration mode.

     
    Step 3aaa new-model


    Example:
    Device(config)# aaa new-model
              
     

    Enables AAA globally.

     
    Step 4aaa common-criteria policy policy-name


    Example:
    Device(config)# aaa common-criteria policy policy1
              
     

    Creates the AAA security password policy and enters common criteria configuration policy mode.

     
    Step 5char-changes number


    Example:
    Device(config-cc-policy)# char-changes 4
              
     

    (Optional) Specifies the number of changed characters between old and new passwords.

     
    Step 6max-length number


    Example:
    Device(config-cc-policy)# max-length 25
              
     

    (Optional) Specifies the maximum length of the password.

     
    Step 7min-length number


    Example:
    Device(config-cc-policy)# min-length 8
              
     

    (Optional) Specifies the minimum length of the password.

     
    Step 8numeric-count number


    Example:
    Device(config-cc-policy)# numeric-count 4
              
     

    (Optional) Specifies the number of numeric characters in the password.

     
    Step 9special-case number


    Example:
    Device(config-cc-policy)# special-case 3
              
     

    (Optional) Specifies the number of special characters in the password.

     
    Step 10exit


    Example:
    Device(config-cc-policy)# exit
              
     

    (Optional) Exits common criteria configuration policy mode and returns to global configuration mode.

     
    Step 11username username common-criteria-policy policy-name password password


    Example:
    Device(config)# username user1 common-criteria-policy policy1 password password1
              
     

    (Optional) Applies a specific policy and password to a user profile.

     
    Step 12end


    Example:
    Device(config)# end
              
     

    Returns to privileged EXEC mode.

     

    Verifying the Common Criteria Policy

    Perform this task to verify all the common criteria security policies.

    SUMMARY STEPS

      1.    enable

      2.    show aaa common-criteria policy name policy-name

      3.    show aaa common-criteria policy all


    DETAILED STEPS
      Step 1   enable

      Enables privileged EXEC mode.



      Example:
      Device> enable
                
      Step 2   show aaa common-criteria policy name policy-name

      Displays the password security policy information for a specific policy.



      Example:
      Device# show aaa common-criteria policy name policy1
      
      Policy name: policy1
      Minimum length: 1
      Maximum length: 64
      Upper Count: 20
      Lower Count: 20
      Numeric Count: 5
      Special Count: 2
      Number of character changes 4
      Valid forever. User tied to this policy will not expire.
      Step 3   show aaa common-criteria policy all

      Displays password security policy information for all the configured policies.



      Example:
      Device# show aaa common-criteria policy all
      ====================================================================
      Policy name: policy1
      Minimum length: 1
      Maximum length: 64
      Upper Count: 20
      Lower Count: 20
      Numeric Count: 5
      Special Count: 2
      Number of character changes 4
      Valid forever. User tied to this policy will not expire.
      ====================================================================
      Policy name: policy2
      Minimum length: 1
      Maximum length: 34
      Upper Count: 10
      Lower Count: 5
      Numeric Count: 4
      Special Count: 2
      Number of character changes 2
      Valid forever. User tied to this policy will not expire.
      =====================================================================

      Troubleshooting Tips

      Use the debug aaa common-criteria command to troubleshoot AAA common criteria.

      Configuration Example for the Password Strength and Management for Common Criteria Feature

      Example: Password Strength and Management for Common Criteria

      The following example shows how to create a common criteria security policy and apply the specific policy to a user profile:

      Device> enable
      Device# configure terminal
      Device(config)# aaa new-model
      Device(config)# aaa common-criteria policy policy1
      Device(config-cc-policy)# char-changes 4
      Device(config-cc-policy)# max-length 20
      Device(config-cc-policy)# min-length 6
      Device(config-cc-policy)# numeric-count 2
      Device(config-cc-policy)# special-case 2
      Device(config-cc-policy)# exit
      Device(config)# username user1 common-criteria-policy policy1 password password1
      Device(config)# end
            

      Additional References

      The following sections provide references related to the RADIUS Packet of Disconnect feature.

      Related Documents

      Related Topic

      Document Title

      AAA

      Authentication, Authorization, and Accounting (AAA) section of the Cisco IOS XE Security Configuration Guide, Securing User Services, Release 2.

      Security commands

      Cisco IOS Security Command Reference

      CLI Configuration

      Cisco IOS XE Configuration Fundamentals Configuration Guide, Release 2

      Standards

      Standard

      Title

      No new or modified standards are supported by this feature, and support for existing standards has not been modified by this feature.

      --

      MIBs

      MIB

      MIBs Link

      No new or modified MIBs are supported by this feature, and support for existing MIBs has not been modified by this feature.

      To locate and download MIBs for selected platforms, Cisco IOS XE software releases, and feature sets, use Cisco MIB Locator found at the following URL:

      http:/​/​www.cisco.com/​go/​mibs

      RFCs

      RFC

      Title

      RFC 2865

      Remote Authentication Dial-in User Service

      RFC 3576

      Dynamic Authorization Extensions to RADIUS

      Technical Assistance

      Description

      Link

      The Cisco Support website provides extensive online resources, including documentation and tools for troubleshooting and resolving technical issues with Cisco products and technologies.

      To receive security and technical information about your products, you can subscribe to various services, such as the Product Alert Tool (accessed from Field Notices), the Cisco Technical Services Newsletter, and Really Simple Syndication (RSS) Feeds.

      Access to most tools on the Cisco Support website requires a Cisco.com user ID and password.

      http:/​/​www.cisco.com/​techsupport

      Feature Information for Password Strength and Management for Common Criteria

      The following table provides release information about the feature or features described in this module. This table lists only the software release that introduced support for a given feature in a given software release train. Unless noted otherwise, subsequent releases of that software release train also support that feature.

      Use Cisco Feature Navigator to find information about platform support and Cisco software image support. To access Cisco Feature Navigator, go to www.cisco.com/​go/​cfn. An account on Cisco.com is not required.

      Table 1 Feature Information for Password Strength and Management for Common Criteria

      Feature Name

      Releases

      Feature Information

      Password Strength and Management for Common Criteria

      Cisco IOS 15.1(1)SY

      The Password Strength and Management for Common Criteria feature is used to specify password policies and security mechanisms for storing, retrieving, and providing rules to specify user passwords.

      The following commands were introduced or modified: aaa common-criteria policy, debug aaa common-criteria, and show aaa common-criteria policy.