Question about entry in auth.log

Lisa Casey lisa at
Fri Nov 14 16:53:46 PST 2008


I run several FreeBSD servers. Today I noticed  an entry in the auth.log on 
one of them that concerns me. The entry is this:

Nov 12 15:44:29 mail sshd[30160]: Accepted keyboard-interactive/pam for 
michael from po
rt 55185 ssh2

There is a user michael on the system, but whoever was doing this was not 

I am assuming someone tried to break in using a valid username (michael) but 
with an incorrect password. So I just conducted an experiment to see if I 
could replicate that log entry using another valid username: mandy. I ssh'ed 
into the server, gave mandy as the username with an incorrect password. The 
auth.log entry for that attempt is this:

Nov 14 19:44:54 mail sshd[96194]: Failed password for mandy from port 51919 ssh2

and when I used something called keyboard interactive as the primary 
authentication method in my ssh client, I get this:

sshd[96348]: error: PAM: authentication error for mandy from

Nothing about Accepted keyboard-interactive/pam.  What does Accepted 
keyboard-interactive/pam mean?

Also, in my ssh client, for authentication methods I have a choice of 
password, publickey or keyboard interactive. I've always used password, and 
never even noticed that keyboard interactive before. What is that?


Lisa Casey

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