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Can PAM authenticate with Crowd

I have a directory-based installation of Crowd which manages every component of my company, with the exception of ssh/remote login to our unix environments. It seems like an easy question, but I haven't found anyone with the answer - is there a way to have pam authenticate with crowd for remote user login.


A very similiar question (, but most resources are for an LDAP install, which I don't have and don't want to install/configure.

4 answers

1 accepted

2 votes
Answer accepted
rrudnicki Atlassian Team Dec 04, 2014

Hi Trevor, 

There isn’t a native way to authenticate SSH against Crowd. 

However, you can create a custom connector to do it. In this link you can get more details. After you create it, I believe you will also need to create a Module to Pam. In this link and this you can find about it. 



Renato Rudnicki

That's what I thought. Thank you!

I'm not super familiar with PAM, but you shouldn't have to create a Crowd custom directory. Crowd's REST API should be enough to let you check whether a user's username & password are correct, if you can make your PAM module make a call to it.

(You only need to write a custom Crowd directory if you want to change something like making users be fetched from some in-house database, etc)

Thanks, Caspar, that's a good point - I appreciate it.

rrudnicki Atlassian Team Dec 05, 2014

Another easier way to authenticate your users against crowd would be you setup a LDAP. So, you can use the LDAP connector bundled on Crowd. I know maybe you won't use a LDAP, but also you will have a lot of work writing modules (lot of works = fun :) ). Good Luck Renato Rudnicki Atlassian Support

There is a solution:

Three of us (Sam Caldwell, @Brendan Shaklovitz, and Zach Boody) recently used this problem for Atlassian ShipIt 31.  What we built is a working PIP package (which we need to get up to PyPI soon) that will allow users to extend PAM to authenticate against Atlassian Crowd.

Right now this only supports user/pass authentication against Crowd, but we plan on adding SSH key support and additional meta data parameters for user accounts.

Trevor, I asked this question once back in 2008-2009 and there was no solution.  But this morning I found that Tom OConnor has done what seems a promising job of starting down that path:

I'm debating on spending a weekend or so testing this solution to see if it can be made production-ready.

I have forked Tom O'Connor's git repo and made a couple enhancements to get this closer to production ready. There's still a bit to go, but here is my fork: When I have a final solution, I'll send Tom a pull request. (Thanks, Tom for the start of a great solution)

That's fantastic, thanks for the hard work. Keep me/us posted, this work will surely come in very handy for myself and hopefully many others.

If you want to avoid having the python dependency, there is a new project available that does this with a native C shared object:

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