Password Manager resets passwords by signing into the target system with its own privileged password, looking up the relevant login account, setting the password attribute for that user and logging off from the target system.
At least one privileged ID/password is encrypted into the Password Manager database for each target system.
On systems that support it, the credentials used by Password Manager can be given limited privileges -- the right to list users, to search for users, to reset passwords and to set/clear flags such as intruder lockout.
Communication from user devices to Password Manager is HTTPS, so encrypted with SSL.
Communication from Password Manager to managed endpoints uses the various native protocols supported by each type of endpoint. i.e., the protocol used has everything to do with the type of endpoint system and what it "understands" and not much to do with Password Manager. Where communication to the endpoint is insecure, a Password Manager proxy server can be co-located with the endpoint system, so that most of the communication path (from main Password Manager server to proxy) is encrypted and the "last mile" uses that system's insecure protocol. Main server to proxy communication is TCP/IP with a shared key and 256-bit AES.
For z/OS mainframes, a local agent is also available, to eliminate the need for scripted TN3270 sessions. Communication to this local agent is encrypted (as above).
Since passwords are typically hashed on each system in a non-reversible, fashion and since different systems use incompatible password hashes, password synchronization must be an active process that takes place whenever users change their passwords.
There are really just two ways to synchronize passwords. Password Manager supports both of the possible mechanisms for password synchronization:
Password Manager can be configured to intercept native password changes on certain systems and:
Systems that can trigger password synchronization are Windows server or Active Directory (32-bit, 64-bit), Sun LDAP, IBM LDAP, Oracle Internet Directory, Unix (various), z/OS and iSeries (AS/400).
Users authenticate to the Password Manager web portal, using any browser, by keying in their NOS or directory ID and password. They can then set a single password on one or more of their own IDs on one or more systems.
Password Manager must be configured with a SQL-based relational database. The Password Manager replicating data service can be configured to use the following SQL database engines as its physical data store:
Password Manager maintains an identity cache in the database, which contains data about users, identity attributes and group memberships drawn from target systems every few hours. This cache significantly improves the run-time performance of Password Manager, as it eliminates the need to repeatedly connect to target systems or to an external directory, to look up the same identity attributes again and again during the course of a workflow request or interactive user session.
The identity cache built into Password Manager:
|Any LDAP, AD, eDirectory, NIS/NIS+.||Windows 2000--2012, Samba, SharePoint.||Oracle, Sybase, SQL Server, DB2/UDB, ODBC, Informix, MySQL.|
|Linux, Solaris, AIX, HPUX, 24 more variants.||z/OS with RAC/F, ACF/2 or TopSecret.||iSeries (OS400), OpenVMS.|
|ERP:||Collaboration:||Tokens, Smart Cards:|
|JDE, Oracle eBiz, PeopleSoft, SAP R/3, SAP ECC 6, Siebel, Business Objects.||Lotus Notes, Exchange, BlackBerry ES.||RSA SecurID, SafeWord, RADIUS, ActivIdentity, Schlumberger.|
|WebSSO:||Help Desk:||HDD Encryption:|
|CA SiteMinder, IBM TAM, Oracle AM, RSA Access Manager.||ServiceNow, Remedy, BMC SDE, HP Service Manager, CA Unicenter,Assyst, HEAT, Altiris, Clarify, Track-It!, RSA Envision, MS SCS Manager.||McAfee, CheckPoint (PointSec), Microsoft (BitLocker), Symantec (PGP),Sophos SafeGuard (Sophos).|
|Salesforce.com, WebEx, Google Apps, MS Office 365, Concur, AWS, vCloud, SOAP (generic).||OLAP, Hyperion, iLearn, Caché, Success Factors, VMware vSphere.Cisco IOS, Juniper JUNOS, F5, iLO cards, DRAC cards, RSA cards, etc.||SSH, Telnet, TN3270, HTTP(S), SQL, LDAP, command-line.|
Password Manager must be installed on a Windows 2012 or Windows 2012/R2 server.
Installing on a Windows server allows Password Manager to leverage client software for most types of target systems, which is available primarily on the "Wintel" platform. In turn, this makes it possible for Password Manager to manage passwords and accounts on target systems without installing a server-side agent.
Each Password Manager application server requires a web server. IIS is used as it comes with the Windows 2012 Server OS.
Password Manager is a security application and should be locked down accordingly. Please refer to the Hitachi ID Systems document about hardening Password Manager servers to learn how to do this. In short, most of the native Windows services can and should be removed, leaving a very small attack surface, with exactly one inbound TCP/IP port (443):
Each Password Manager server requires a database instance. Microsoft SQL 2012 is the recommended choice, Microsoft SQL 2014 will be officially supported in 2016. Oracle database is supported on versions up to 9.0.x and is not supported on 10.0 or later releases.
User interface customization is simple to implement. All HTML text is pulled into the web app from a "skin" file which is editable. HTML in web apps is highly repetitive -- every page looks more or less the same. Password Manager uses a simple macro system to factor out such commonalities, which allows customers to quickly customize the look and feel of the entire UI and ensure consistency between pages. This means that customers do not normally edit a skin file directly, but rather edit HTML snippets in a macro file and recompile a new skin. This is faster and more consistent.
Common elements, such as page layout and HTML preambles, are factored out into standard macros using an open source macro language (M4). Modifications made to these macros are propagated across the entire user interface. The application does specify navigation sequence (i.e., what each screen does and how one navigates from one screen to another) but this too is quite customizable using a variety of policy settings.
Note that M4 macros (at least as used in Password Manager) consists of just 3 keywords: include, define and ifelse -- the macro language is trivial. What complexity does exist is in the information architecture (which UI elements are defined where). To customize the Password Manager UI, all that is needed is an understanding of HTML and CSS, plus a bit of patience to find the right macro to edit -- so that a change will propagate to the entire UI.
All English text in the UI is stored in a language file and translations are supported by installing multiple language files. The same instance of the software may be accessed by different users in different languages, at the same time -- just by specifying a language in the URL. This mechanism means that all UI text is customizable by customers, either by editing the language file directly or by configuring the web portal to run in a special "language translation" mode which allows a user to change UI text by clicking on it and editing interactively.
UI customizations are defined separately from the core UI, using an override mechanism. This allows customizations to survive Password Manager version upgrades with minimal intervention. For example, customers may define a new markup for HTML tables. This markup is placed in an override file which takes precedence over the default HTML table code. When Password Manager is upgraded, the customized markup will continue to take precedence over default HTML markup.
In addition to modifying HTML and CSS code, customers can change the values of a number of system variables which alter Password Manager behavior. For example, password policy, intruder lockout frequency and duration, non-password authentication rules and more can all be adjusted from the Password Manager administrative web portal. System variables also survive version upgrades.
Password Manager behavioral modifications are made using plug-in points, rather than (as is common with many other applications) by modifying the source code of Password Manager itself.
Plug-ins are scripts or executables installed on the Password Manager server. Password Manager components call plug-in programs to make business policy decisions or to look-up information. Examples include:
This architecture, which encapsulates business logic into stand-alone scripts or executables, has two important benefits:
Example uses of exit points include sending e-mails to users, manipulating incidents in a ticketing system or forwarding an event to a security incident/event management (SIEM) system.
Various pre-built interface programs designed to be called from exit points are included with Password Manager. Scriptable interface programs can create help desk incidents (e.g., ServiceNow, BMC Remedy, HP Service Manager, etc.) and sending e-mails.
Starting with Windows XP, users can create a "password reset disk" whenever they change their passwords.
If a user forgets his login password, he can log into his PC by typing his login ID but leaving the password field blank and instead inserting a previously-created password reset disk.
This feature is helpful for home users, but is significantly less useful than self-service password reset with Password Manager: