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SSO Password Policy for GroupWise

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Rutger Blom

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Posted: 8 Feb 2006


Quite a few users in our organization are logging in to the Novell network using biometrics. Together with SecureLogin installed on the client machine, this really gives a smooth single-sign-on environment most of the time. There are not many times these users need to type a password any more.

We are also running GroupWise which, in our setup, is using LDAP authentication. The LDAP database is eDirectory. Making a SecureLogin SSO script for GroupWise was not a problem. It is even included as a prebuild script.

Here's the challenge: our security policy says the LDAP password needs to be changed every 30 days. It's not difficult to add some lines to the SSO script so that it takes care of password changes. When the change password GroupWise dialog shows up, SecureLogin catches this dialog and records the new password that the user submits. But we wanted to make things even better and more secure.

We don't want to require a user using biometric authentication to type his or her new LDAP password. We want SecureLogin to generate a secure password and somehow notify the user about this new password. The user still needs to know or learn the new password when logging in to GroupWise WebAccess from the outside, such as from a public machine or when logging in via VPN.


There are several ways to solve this. We did it the following way, in an environment with Windows XP, SecureLogin 3.5, and eDirectory ...

We started with creating a SecureLogin password policy for the LDAP password. This policy defines the requirements we have on the LDAP password. The GroupWise SSO script uses this password policy when generating the new password. Once the policy was in place we pointed it out at the top of our GroupWise SSO script. Our password policy is called LDAPPwdPolicy.

RestrictVariable ?NewPassword LDAPPwdPolicy

When it is time for the user to change the password, GroupWise presents a special dialog for this. This dialog needs to be defined in the SSO script:

## Change password dialog box
Title "GroupWise byt l?senord" (Swedish for ”GroupWise change password”)
Class #32770

Now we want SecureLogin to take care of the password change, instead of the user having to type the new password twice:

ChangePassword ?NewPassword Random
Type ?NewPassword #1039
Type ?NewPassword #1040
Click #1

Set $Password ?NewPassword

The scripts generates the password, types it in twice, and clicks OK. After this, the temporary ?NewPassword variable gets stored in $Password.

Getting the New Password to the User

The script should inform the user about the new password. Our first thought was a pop-up dialog presenting the new password. It is not difficult to add this to the SSO script. At the same time, we didn't find this very secure. Anybody passing by seeing the pop-up can see the new password. Also there is a risk that the user quickly clicks away the dialog, not taking note of the new password.

We came up with the following solution. We let the SSO script write the new password to a .txt file in the user's home-directory. After this, the .txt file is e-mailed to the user.

First we created a small batch-file that helps the SSO script writing the new password to the .txt.

Then the SSO script runs the batch-file:

Run M:\Biometrics\Password\password.cmd $Password

The password is stored in the .txt file in the user's home directory. This could be enough, but we were afraid the user would never open this .txt file and therefore never learn the new password. We wanted to e-mail the password, too.

For this we used a tiny little freeware program called bmail.exe. This is a command-shell SMTP client that's perfect for use with SecureLogin scripts. For more information and download instructions, follow this link:

So the last few lines in our GroupWise SSO script now look like this:

Set ?domain ""
Strcat ?email $Username ?domain
Run M:\Biometrics\Password\bmail.exe -s -t 
?email -f -h -a "Here is your new password" 
-m W:\password.txt -c

The first two lines create a variable "email" containing the users e-mail address. This variable is then used by the bmail.exe program in the last line. You can also get the user's e-mail address directly from eDirectory.

Other Features

Well, this does the job. Besides the e-mail, we also created a new ZENworks application object that points to password.txt, opening it with Notepad. This object appears in the user's NAL. It's called "My password" in case the user wants to see the password once more.

Another thing we added at the top of the GroupWise SSO script is "SetPlat LDAP". This creates a credential store called LDAP that can be used by other SSO scripts. The $Username and $Password variables are then looked up in this credential store. This is handy when having SSO scripts for other applications that use LDAP for authentication. In our case some other applications that use LDAP for authentication are the proxy server and GroupWise Messenger. We created SSO scripts for these applications and started the scripts with SetPlat LDAP so the SSO picks up the credentials from there.

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