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Manual Chapter: Managing User Accounts
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14 
An important part of managing the BIG-IP® system is creating and managing user accounts for BIG-IP system administrators. By creating user accounts for system administrators, you provide additional layers of security. User accounts ensure that the system:
To enable user authentication and authorization, you assign passwords and user roles to your user accounts. Passwords allow you to authenticate your users when they attempt to log in to the BIG-IP system. User roles allow you to control user access to BIG-IP system resources.
You can create and store your BIG-IP administrative accounts either locally on the BIG-IP system, or remotely on a separate authentication server. If you want your user accounts to reside locally on the BIG-IP system, you create those user accounts on the BIG-IP system and assign user roles to them. For information on creating and managing local user accounts, see Managing local user accounts.
If you want your user accounts to reside remotely on a separate authentication server, you do not use the BIG-IP system to create the accounts. Instead, you use the mechanism provided by the server vendor, and you use the BIG-IP system strictly to assign user roles to those remote accounts and to maintain those user role assignments over time. The types of servers that you can use to remotely store BIG-IP system user accounts are:
Important: For information on managing remote user accounts, see Managing remote user accounts, and the guide titled BIG-IP® Local Traffic Manager: Implementations.
There are two types of user accounts on the BIG-IP system: The system maintenance account and a set of standard user accounts.
The system maintenance account
The system maintenance account is a user account that you maintain using the Setup utility. The name of the system maintenance account is root. This account resides locally on the BIG-IP system and grants full access to BIG-IP system resources. You configure and maintain this account using the Setup utility and the Configuration utility, respectively.
Standard user accounts
Standard user accounts are user accounts that you create for other BIG-IP system administrators to use. Standard user accounts can reside either locally on the BIG-IP system, or remotely on a remote authentication server. You create and maintain these accounts using the browser-based Configuration utility or the command line interface. Creating standard user accounts allows you to assign various user roles to those accounts as a way to control system administrator access to BIG-IP system resources. A special standard user account is the admin account, which automatically exists on any BIG-IP system. For more information on the admin account, see Configuring the admin account. For more information on user roles, see Understanding user roles.
Note: Excluding the admin account, the entire set of standard user accounts that you create for BIG-IP system administrators must reside either locally on the BIG-IP system, or remotely on another type of authentication server.
You are not required to have any user accounts other than the system maintenance account (root) and the admin account, but F5 Networks® recommends that you create other user accounts, as a way to intelligently control administrator access to system resources.
The tools you use to create and maintain user accounts vary according to the type of account you are managing. Table 14.1 lists the various user accounts for the BIG-IP system and the tools you use to manage them.
The root account
Configuration utility (Platform screen)
The admin account
Configuration utility
(Users screen)
Configuration utility
(Users screen)
Note: The command line tools available for configuring and managing user accounts are the bigpipe utility and tmsh. For more information, see the Bigpipe Utility Reference Guide or the Traffic Management Shell (tmsh) Reference Guide.
When you create configurable objects for the BIG-IP system, you have the option of putting those objects into administrative partitions. An administrative partition is a logical container of BIG-IP system objects such as virtual servers, pools, and monitors. When you first install the BIG-IP system, a default partition already exists named Common.
By putting objects into partitions, you establish a finer granularity of access control. Rather than having control over all resources on the BIG-IP system or no resources whatsoever, users with certain permissions can control resources within a designated partition only. For example, users with the role of Operator can mark nodes up or down, but can only mark those nodes that reside within their designated partition.
User accounts are another type of object that you can put into a partition. You put user accounts into administrative partitions strictly for the purpose of giving other users administrative access to those accounts. For example, you can put user accounts into partition B, and then assign a set of permissions (known as a user role) to user Jane so that she is allowed to modify user accounts in partition B.
Each user account on the BIG-IP system has a property known as Partition Access. The Partition Access property defines the partitions that the user can access. A user account can have access to either one partition or all partitions. Access to all partitions is known as universal access.
Figure 14.1, shows how partition access can differ for different user accounts on the BIG-IP system.
Figure 14.1 The Partition Access property for user accounts
In this example, the BIG-IP system objects reside in multiple partitions. Note that user accounts are also a type of BIG-IP system object, and as such, reside in a partition named Users. (Although you are not required to group user accounts together in a separate partition, for security purposes we highly recommend that you do so.)
To continue with the example, each user account in partition Users has access to specific, but different, partitions. Note that user accounts sjones, cjohnson, and gnelson can access one partition only, while the tbrown account has universal access.
To summarize, an administrative partition defines a set of objects, including user accounts, that other administrative users can potentially manage. This gives computing organizations greater control over user access to specific objects on the BIG-IP system.
To use the powerful user-roles feature, you should understand the available user roles and the ways that a user role affects a users access to objects residing within partitions.
User roles are a means of controlling user access to BIG-IP system resources. You assign a user role to each administrative user, and in so doing, you grant the user a set of permissions for accessing BIG-IP system resources.
The BIG-IP system offers several different user roles that you can choose from when assigning a role to an administrative user. Valid user roles are: Administrator, Resource Administrator, User Manager, Manager, Application Editor, Application Security Policy Editor, Operator, Guest, and No Access.
A user role is a property of a user account. Each user role grants a different set of permissions. More specifically, a user role defines:
The resources that a user can manage
User roles define the types of resources, or objects, that a user can manage. For example, a user with the role of Operator can enable or disable nodes and pool members only. By contrast, a user with the Guest role cannot manage any BIG-IP system resources.
The tasks that a user can perform
For example, a user with the role of Operator can enable or disable nodes and pool members, but cannot create, modify, or delete them. Conversely, a user with the Manager role can perform all tasks related to partitioned objects (except for user accounts), including nodes and pool members.
Table 14.2, lists and describes the various user roles that you can assign to a user account.
Important: A role defines the type of objects that a user can manage and the tasks that a user can perform on those object types. A role does not define the set of specific, existing objects that the user can access. For information on defining user access to specific objects on the system, see Effect of user roles on objects within partitions.
This role grants users complete access to all partitioned and non-partitioned objects on the system. In addition, accounts with the Administrator role can perform configuration synchronization on a redundant system. These users can use the bigpipe load and bigpipe save commands and change their own passwords. For a list of partitioned and non-partitioned objects, see Chapter 13, Configuring Administrative Partitions.
Resource Administrator
This role grants users complete access to all partitioned and non-partitioned objects on the system, except user account objects. These users can perform configuration synchronization on a redundant system. These users can also use the bigpipe load and save commands and change their own passwords. Note that when this user is managing BIG-IP Application Security Manager objects specifically, the BIG-IP system changes the role to Guest . For a list of partitioned and non-partitioned objects, see Chapter 13, Configuring Administrative Partitions.
Users with the User Manager role that have access to all partitions can create, modify, delete, and view all user accounts except those that are assigned the Administrator role, or the User Manager role with different partition access. Accounts with the User Manager role that have access to all partitions can also change their own passwords.
Users with the User Manager role that have access only to a single partition can create, modify, delete, and view only those user accounts that are in that partition and that have access to that partition only. For example, if your user account has a User Manager role and has access to Partition A only, then you can manage only those user accounts that both reside in and have access to Partition A only.
User accounts with the User Manager role can change their own passwords.
This role grants users permission to create, modify, and delete virtual servers, pools, pool members, nodes, custom profiles, custom monitors, and iRules®. These users can view all objects on the system and change their own passwords.
It is important to note that a user with the Manager role has permission to use the bigpipe shell to create, modify, or delete objects. However, such users are not allowed to use the bigpipe save command to save their changes. Therefore, when managing objects on the BIG-IP system, users with the Manager role should either use the Configuration utility, or ask a user with the Administrator role to save the changes using the bigpipe save command.
This role grants users permission to modify nodes, pools, pool members, and monitors. These users can view all objects on the system and change their own passwords.
This role grants users complete access to Application Security Manager security policy objects. These users can also view all other objects and change their own passwords. With respect to security policy objects, this role is equivalent to the Administrator role. You can assign this role only when the BIG-IP system includes the Application Security Manager component.
The BIG-IP system automatically assigns a user role to an account when you create that account. The user role that the system assigns to a user account by default depends on the type of account:
root and admin accounts
The BIG-IP system automatically assigns the Administrator user role to the system maintenance root account and the admin account. You cannot change this user-role assignment. Thus, any user who successfully logs into the BIG-IP system using the root or admin account has full access to system resources and can perform all administrative tasks.
Other user accounts
The BIG-IP system automatically assigns the No Access user role to all standard user accounts other than the admin account. If the user account you are using has the Administrator role assigned to it, you are allowed to change another accounts user role from the default No Access role to any other user role, including Administrator. For remote user accounts, if you know that most of your administrative users need some amount of access to BIG-IP system resources, you can configure the BIG-IP system to use a role other than No Access as the default user role.
A user role defines the access level that a user has for each object in the users assigned partition. An access level refers to the type of task that a user can perform on an object. Possible access levels are:
Write
Grants full access, that is, the ability to create, modify, enable and disable, and delete an object.
Update
Grants the ability to modify, enable, and disable an object.
Enable/disable
Grants the ability to enable or disable an object.
Read
Grants the ability to view an object.
Table 14.3 shows, for each user role, the specific access level available to the user for each object type. Note that this table applies to objects in the users assigned partition only.
Admini-strator
Resource Admini-
strator
User Manager
Application Security Policy Editor
Virtual server
Pool member
Enable/
Disable
Enable/
Disable
User account
ASM Policy
If the partition access that you assign to a user is not partition Common, the user still has some level of access to objects in partition Common. Table 14.4 shows the level of access to partition Common that each user role provides.
Table 14.4 Access to partition Common based on user role
Resource Administrator, Manager, Application Editor, Application Security Policy Editor, Operator, Guest
Full access to user account objects, except those with the Administrator role assigned to them.
Managing local user accounts refers to the tasks of creating, viewing, modifying, and deleting user accounts that reside on the BIG-IP system, using the browser-based Configuration utility.
The Configuration utility stores local user accounts (including user names, passwords, and user roles) in a local user-account database. When a user logs into the BIG-IP system using one of these locally-stored accounts, the BIG-IP system checks the account to determine the user role assigned to that user account.
You assign a user role to an account at the time that you create the account, or by changing the properties of an existing account.
Important: Only users with the role of Administrator and User Manager can create and manage local user accounts. However, users with any role can change their own passwords. Also, if a user with a local user account is logged on to the BIG-IP system, and you subsequently switch the system from local authentication to remote authentication, the local user remains authenticated until the users logon session terminates.
A user account called admin resides on every BIG-IP system. Although the BIG-IP system creates this account automatically, you must still assign a password to the account before you can use it. To initially set the password for the admin account, you must run the Setup utility. To change its password later, you use the Configuration utilitys Users screens.
The admin account resides in the local user account database on the BIG-IP system. By default, the BIG-IP system assigns the Administrator user role, which gives the user of this account full access to all BIG-IP system resources. You cannot change the user role on this account. For detailed on user roles, see Understanding user roles.
The BIG-IP system includes an optional administrative feature: a security policy for creating passwords for local BIG-IP system user accounts. A secure password policy ensures that BIG-IP system users that have local user accounts create and maintain passwords that are as secure as possible.
Enforcement restrictions
These are, specifically, character restrictions that you can enable or disable. They consist of the minimum password length and the required character types (numeric, uppercase, lowercase, and other kinds of characters). When enabled, the BIG-IP system enforces restrictions on user accounts with Resource Administrator, User Manager, Manager, Application Editor, Application Security Policy Editor, Operator, and Guest user roles, and never enforces restrictions on user accounts that have the Administrator role assigned to them. Consequently, a user with Administrator permissions does not need to adhere to these restrictions when either changing his or her own password, or changing the passwords of other user accounts.
Policy restrictions
These restrictions represent the minimum and maximum lengths of time that passwords can be in effect. Also included in this type of policy restriction are the number of days prior to password expiration that users are warned, and the number of previous passwords that the BIG-IP system should store, to prevent users from re-using former passwords. When configured using the BIG-IP Configuration utility, policy restrictions apply to all user accounts, except those with the Administrator user role assigned to them. When configured using tmsh, policy restrictions apply to all user accounts, regardless of user role. These restrictions are always enabled, although using the default values provides a minimal amount of restriction.
User authentication lockout
You can deny access to a user after a configured number of failed authentication attempts. You can then reset the lock to re-enable access for the user. To configure the maximum number of failures before user lockout, use the BIG-IP Configuration utility to locate the Users screen and then navigate to the Authentication screen. You can then specify a value for the Maximum Login Failures setting. If a user becomes locked out, you can use the Unlock button on the User List screen to unlock the user.
Note: The value of the Maximum Duration setting determines when users receive warning messages to change their passwords. If you change the value of this setting, any subsequent warning messages that users receive indicate the previous maximum duration value, rather than the new value. Once a user changes the password, however, subsequent reminder messages show the new value.
The password policy feature affects passwords for local user accounts only. Passwords for remotely-stored user accounts are not subject to this local password policy, but might be subject to a separate password policy defined on the remote system.
Important: You must have the user role of Administrator assigned to your account to configure this feature.
Table 14.5, shows the settings that you can configure, along with their descriptions and default values.
Secure Password Enforcement
Enables or disables character restrictions, that is, a policy for minimum password length and required characters. When you enable this setting, the Configuration utility displays the Minimum Length and Required Characters settings.
Specifies, for each user account, the number of former passwords that the BIG-IP system retains to prevent the user from re-using a recent password. The range of allowed values is 0 to 127. This setting applies to all user accounts.
Specifies the minimum number of characters required for a password, and the allowed range of values is 6 to 255. This setting appears only when you enable the Secure Password Enforcement setting.
Important: When enabled, the BIG-IP system enforces this setting on user accounts with the Guest and Operator roles assigned to them; any user account with the Administrator role assigned to it (including the root and admin accounts) is not subject to the restrictions imposed by this setting.
Specifies the number of numeric, uppercase, lowercase, and other characters required for a password. The allowed range of values is 0 to 127. This setting appears only when you enable the Secure Password Enforcement setting.
Important: When enabled, the BIG-IP system enforces this setting on user accounts with the Manager, Application Editor, Application Security Policy Editor, Operator, and Guest roles assigned to them. Any user account with the Administrator role assigned to it (including the root and admin accounts) is not subject to the restrictions imposed by this setting.
Specifies the minimum number of days before a user can change a password. The range of allowed values is 0 to 255. This setting applies to all user accounts.
Specifies the maximum number of days that a user's password can be valid. The range of allowed values is 1 to 99999. This setting applies to all user accounts. For more information, see the note on the previous page.
Specifies the number of days prior to password expiration that the system sends a warning message to a user. The range of allowed values is 1 to 255. This setting applies to all user accounts.
Denies access to a user after the specified number of failed authentication attempts. The administrator can then reset the lock to re-enable access for the user.
1.
On the Main tab of the navigation pane, expand System, and click Users.
The Users screen opens.
2.
On the menu bar, click Authentication.
This displays the screen for implementing a password policy.
3.
Under Password Policy, locate the Secure Password Enforcement setting and set it to meet your needs:
If you want to enable character restrictions for Guest and Operator accounts, locate the Secure Password Enforcement setting and select Enabled.
This displays the Minimum Length and Restrictions settings on the screen. Retain or change the values for these settings.
If you do not want to enable character restrictions for Guest and Operator accounts, leave the Secure Password Enforcement setting set to Disabled.
4.
Retain the default values for all other settings, or change them to suit your needs.
These settings represent the secure password policy restrictions, which apply to all user accounts, regardless of user role.
5.
Click Finished.
Note: Whenever you change the secure password policy, the new configuration values, such as password expiration, do not apply to passwords that were created prior to the policy change. However, the new password policy takes effect the next time that the user changes his or her password.
A local user account stored on the BIG-IP system has several properties. Table 14.6 lists and describes these properties, along with their default values.
Specifies the name of the user account. The BIG-IP system is case-sensitive, which means that names such as JONES and Jones are treated as separate user accounts.
When viewing the properties of an existing user account, displays the name of the partition in which the user account resides. All partitionable BIG-IP system objects (including user account objects) have the Partition property. Note that you cannot edit the value of this setting.
Specifies the user role that you want to assign to the user account. Allowed values are: Administrator, Resource Administrator, User Manager, Manager, Application Editor, Application Security Policy Editor, Operator, Guest, and No Access. For more information on these user roles, see Table 14.2.
Specifies the partition to which the user has access when logged on to the BIG-IP system. If you have permission to do so, you can assign this value to a new user account, or change this value on an existing user account.
This setting appears only when the user role for the account is not Administrator. (Accounts with the Administrator role always have universal partition access, that is, access to all partitions.)
Specifies the level of access to the BIG-IP system command line interface. Possible values are: Disabled, Advanced shell, and bigpipe shell.
Users with the Administrator or Resource Administrator role assigned to their accounts can have advanced shell access, that is, permission to use all BIG-IP system command line utilities, as well as any Linux commands.
Users with other roles assigned to their accounts, when accessing the BIG-IP system through the console, can have bigpipe shell access only. The particular bigpipe commands that these users can use are determined by the role assigned to the account.
Depending on the user role assigned to your account (other than the No Access role), you can either create, view, modify, or delete local user accounts. Users with the Administrator user role assigned to their own accounts can perform all of these tasks with respect to user account objects.
When you create a local user account, you must give the account a name and a password. You must also set the user role, either by retaining the default user role or by assigning a new one. The default user role for local, non-system maintenance accounts is No Access.
Only users who have been granted the Administrator or User Manager role can create user accounts. If the user role assigned to your account is Administrator, you can create a user account in any partition on the system. If the user role assigned to your account is User Manager, you can create a user account in any partition to which you have access.
Note: User accounts on the BIG-IP system are case-sensitive. Thus, the system treats user accounts such as JONES and Jones as two separate user accounts. Note, however, that certain user names, such as admin, are reserved, and are therefore exempt from case-sensitivity. For example, you cannot create a user account named Admin, aDmin, or ADMIN.
1.
On the Main tab of the navigation pane, expand System, and click Users.
The User List screen opens, displaying a list of all local accounts.
2.
Using the Partition list in the upper-right corner of the screen, select the name of the partition in which you want the new user account to reside.
Important: The partition you select in this step is not the partition to which you want the new user account to have access. Instead, this selection specifies the partition in which you want the new user account to reside. To grant partition access to a user, you configure the Partition Access property on the New User screen.
3.
In the upper right corner of the screen, click Create.
The New User screen opens.
Note: If the Create button is unavailable, you do not have permission to create a local user account. You must have the Administrator or User Manager role assigned to your user account in order to create a local user account.
4.
In the User Name box, type a name for the user account.
5.
For the Password setting, type and confirm a password for the account.
For more information on user account passwords, see Managing remote user accounts.
6.
To grant an access level other than No Access (the default value), use the Role setting and select a user role.
7.
From the Partition Access list, select a partition name or All.
Note: For user accounts to which you assign the Administrator or Resource Administrator role, this setting is hidden because the value is automatically set to All. You cannot change the Partition Access setting for a user with the Administrator or Resource Administrator role.
8.
If you want to allow user access to the command line interface, then from the Terminal Access list, select a level of access.
Note: The advanced shell is only available for accounts with the Administrator or Resource Administrator user role.
9.
Click Finished.
Using the Configuration utility, you can easily display a list of existing local user accounts and view the properties of an individual account. Only users who have been granted the Administrator or User Manager roles can view the settings of other user accounts.
If the user role assigned to your account is Administrator, you can view any user account on the BIG-IP system, in any partition. If the user role assigned to your account is User Manager, you can view any user account in any partition to which you have access on the BIG-IP system.
1.
On the Main tab of the navigation pane, expand System, and click Users.
The User List screen opens, displaying a list of all standard user accounts.
1.
On the Main tab of the navigation pane, expand System, and click Users.
The User List screen opens, displaying a list of all standard user accounts.
2.
In the user-account list, find the user account you want to view and click the account name.
This displays the properties of that user account.
To summarize, depending on their own partition access, users with a User Manager role can do some or all of the following:
Change the partition in which the user can access objects (applies only to users who have both a User Manager role and access to all partitions)
You use the Configuration utility to modify the properties of any existing local user account, other than the root account. When modifying user accounts, consider the following:
Only users who have been granted either the Administrator or User Manager role can modify user accounts other than their own account.
A user with the User Manager role can modify only those accounts that reside in the partition to which that user has access. For example, if user nelson has a User Manager role and has access to partition B only, he can modify only those user accounts that reside in partition B. Even in this case, however, for user accounts in partition B, user nelson cannot modify a users Partition Access property.

If, however, user nelson has a User Manager role and has access to all partitions, he can modify all user accounts on the system. This includes changing another users Partition Access property.
Users with a role of Resource Administrator, Manager, Application Editor, Application Security Policy Editor, Operator, or Guest can modify their own user accounts to change the password. These users cannot modify any other properties of their own user accounts.

Note: When a user changes their own password, the system automatically logs the user off of the Configuration utility. The system then requires the user to use the new password for subsequent logons. This behavior applies even when the new password matches the old password.
Users with the role of User Manager can modify all of the properties of their own user accounts, except their user role and partition access.
1.
On the Main tab of the navigation pane, expand System, and click Users.
The User List screen opens, displaying a list of all standard user accounts.
2.
In the user-account list, click a user account name.
This displays the properties of that account.
The Password setting
The Role setting
The Partition Access setting
The Terminal Access setting
4.
Click Update.
If you have an Administrator user role, you can also change some properties of the root account. Specifically, you can change the password of the root account, and you can enable or disable access to the BIG-IP system through SSH.
Warning: The Administrator user role provides access to the BIG-IP system prompt. If a user with the Administrator user role is currently logged on to the system and you change the user role to a role other than Administrator or Resource Administrator, the user can still run commands at the BIG-IP system prompt until he or she logs off of the system.
1.
On the Main tab of the navigation pane, expand System, and click Platform.
The General screen opens.
2.
For the Root Account setting, type a new password in the Password box, and re-type the new password in the Confirm box.
3.
If you want to grant SSH access, then for the SSH Access setting, check the Enabled box, and for the SSH IP Allow setting, either:
Select * All Addresses.
Select Specify Range and type a range of IP addresses.
4.
Click Update.
Important: If you have a redundant system configuration and you change the password on the admin account, you must also change the password on the peer unit, to ensure that synchronization of configuration data operates correctly.
If the account you are using has the Administrator or User Manager user role, you can delete other local user accounts. A user with the Administrator role can delete any user account on the BIG-IP system in any partition. A user with the User Manager role can delete user accounts on the BIG-IP system in only those partitions to which she has access.
When you delete a local user account, you remove it permanently from the local user-account database on the BIG-IP system.
Note: You cannot delete the admin user account, nor can you delete the user account with which you are logged on.
Warning: The Administrator user role provides access to the BIG-IP system prompt. If a user with the Administrator user role is currently logged on to the system and you delete the user account, the user can still run commands at the BIG-IP system prompt until he or she logs off of the system.
1.
On the Main tab of the navigation pane, expand System, and click Users.
This opens the User List screen, displaying a list of all standard user accounts.
2.
In the user-account list, locate the name of the account you want to delete and click the Select box to the left of the account name.
3.
Click the Delete button.
A confirmation box appears.
4.
Click Delete again.
Rather than store user accounts locally on the BIG-IP system, you can store them on a remote authentication server. In this case, you create all of your standard user accounts (including user names and passwords) on that remote server, using the mechanism supplied by that servers vendor.
Once you have created each user account on the remote server, you can then use the BIG-IP system to assign authorization properties (user role, partition access, and terminal access) for each account, for the purpose of controlling user access to BIG-IP system resources.
Important: You can assign authorization properties to remotely-stored user accounts on a group basis. You can then use the single configuration file (SCF) feature to propagate those properties to other BIG-IP devices on the network. For more information, see Assigning authorization for groups of user accounts, and the guide titled BIG-IP® Local Traffic Manager: Implementations.
The Configuration utility stores all local and remote access control information in the BIG-IP systems local user-account database. When a user whose account information is stored remotely logs into the BIG-IP system and is granted authentication, the BIG-IP system then checks its local database to determine the access control properties that you assigned to that user.
Note: The Configuration utility refers to remote user accounts as external users. An external user is any user account that is stored on a remote authentication server.
Important: Only users with the role of Administrator can manage user roles for remote user accounts. Also, if a user with a local user account is logged on to the BIG-IP system, and you subsequently switch the system from local authentication to remote authentication, the local user remains authenticated until the users logon session terminates.
One of the tasks you perform with the Configuration utility is to specify the type of remote user-account server that currently stores your remote user accounts. The available server types that you can specify are:
When you specify the type of remote server, you can also configure some server settings. For example, you can specify the user role you would like the BIG-IP system to assign to a remote account if you do not explicitly assign one.
Once you have configured the remote server, if you want any of the remote accounts to have a non-default user role, you can explicitly assign a user role to those accounts. For more information on user roles, see Understanding user roles.
If the remote authentication server is an Active Directory or LDAP server and is set up to authenticate SSL traffic, there is an additional feature that you can enable. You can configure the BIG-IP system to perform the server-side SSL handshake that the remote server would normally perform when authenticating client traffic. In this case, there are some preliminary steps you must perform to prepare for remote authentication using SSL.
On the BIG-IP system, import the certificates, using the Configuration utility. For information on importing certificates, see the Configuration Guide for BIG-IP® Local Traffic Manager.
Note: Configuring remote authentication using the following procedures creates a user account on the BIG-IP system named Other External Users. For more information on this account, see Understanding default remote-account authorization.
To configure remote Active Directory or LDAP authentication for BIG-IP system administrative users
1.
On the Main tab of the navigation pane, expand System, and click Users.
The Users screen opens.
2.
On the menu bar, click Authentication.
The Authentication screen opens.
3.
Click Change.
4.
From the User Directory list, select Remote - Active Directory or Remote - LDAP.
5.
In the Host box, type the IP address of the remote server.
6.
For the Port setting, retain the default port number (389) or type a new port number in the box.
This setting represents the port number that the BIG-IP system uses to access the remote server.
7.
In the Remote Directory Tree box, type the file location (tree) of the user authentication database on the Active Directory or LDAP server. At minimum, you must specify a domain component (that is, dc=<value>).
8.
For the Scope setting, retain the default value (Sub) or select a new value.
This setting specifies the level of the remote server database that the BIG-IP system should search for user authentication. For more information on this setting, see the online help.
9.
For the Bind setting, specify a user ID logon for the remote server:
a)
In the DN box, type the Distinguished Name for the remote user ID.
b)
In the Password box, type the password for the remote user ID.
c)
In the Confirm box, re-type the password that you typed in the Password box.
10.
In the User Template box, type the distinguished name of the user logging on to the system.
You specify the template as a variable that the system replaces with user-specific information during the login attempt. For example, you can specify a user template such as %s@siterequest.com or uid=%s,ou=people,dc=siterequest,dc=com. When a user attempts to log on, the system replaces %s with the name that the user specified in the Basic Authentication dialog box, and passes that as the distinguished name for the bind operation. The system passes the associated password as the password for the bind operation. This field can contain only one %s and cannot contain any other format specifiers.
Note: The Bind and User Template options are mutually exclusive. You should define one setting or the other, but not both.
11.
If you want to enable SSL-based authentication, click the SSL box and if necessary, configure the following settings.
Important: Be sure to specify the full path name of the storage location on the BIG-IP system. For example, if the certificate is stored in the directory /config/ssl/ssl.crt, type the value /config/ssl/ssl.crt.
a)
In the SSL CA Certificate box, type the name of a chain certificate, that is, the third-party CA or self-signed certificate that normally resides on the remote authentication server.
b)
In the SSL Client Key box, type the name of the client SSL key.
Use this setting only in the case where the remote server requires that the client present a certificate. If a client certificate is not required, you do not need to configure this setting.
c)
In the SSL Client Certificate box, type the name of the client SSL certificate.
Use this setting only in the case where the remote server requires that the client present a certificate. If a client certificate is not required, you do not need to configure this setting.
12.
Click Finished.
1.
On the Main tab of the navigation pane, expand System, and click Users.
The Users screen opens.
2.
On the menu bar, click Authentication.
The Authentication screen opens.
3.
Click Change.
4.
From the User Directory list, select Remote - RADIUS.
5.
From the Server Configuration box:
If you want to use a secondary RADIUS server in the event that the primary server becomes unavailable, select Primary & Secondary.
This causes the Secondary setting to appear.
6.
For the Primary setting, configure these settings for the primary RADIUS server:
a)
In the Host box, type the IP address of the remote server.
b)
In the Port box, retain the default port number (1812) or type a new port number in the box.
This setting represents the port number that the BIG-IP system uses to access the remote server.
c)
In the Secret box, type the RADIUS secret.
d)
In the Confirm box, re-type the secret that you typed in the Secret box.
Note that the values of the Secret and Confirm settings must match.
7.
If you selected Primary & Secondary from the Server Configuration box, configure the Host, Port, Secret, and Confirm settings for the secondary server, using the instructions in the previous step.
8.
Click Finished.
1.
On the Main tab of the navigation pane, expand System, and click Users.
The Users screen opens.
2.
On the menu bar, click Authentication.
The Authentication screen opens.
3.
Click Change.
4.
From the User Directory list, select Remote - TACACS+.
5.
In the Servers box, type an IP address and click Add.
6.
In the Secret box, type the TACACS+ secret.
7.
In the Confirm Secret box, re-type the TACACS+ secret that you specified in the Secret box.
8.
From the Encryption list, retain the default value (Enabled) or select Disabled. This setting is optional.
9.
In the Service Name box, type the name of a service.
10.
In the Protocol Name box, type the name of a protocol. This setting is optional.
11.
From the Authentication list, select either Authenticate to first server or Authenticate to each server until success.
12.
From the Accounting Information list, select either Send to first available server or Send to all servers.
13.
From the Debug Logging list, select either Disabled or Enabled.
14.
Click Finished.
You create BIG-IP system user accounts on your remote server using the mechanism provided by the vendor of your remote server. Then, as described in Specifying a remote user-account server, you use the Configuration utility to specify the remote authentication server that you are using to store those BIG-IP system user accounts. (Valid remote authentication servers for storing BIG-IP system user accounts are Active Directory, LDAP, RADIUS, and TACACS+.)
Once you have used the Configuration utility to specify the remote authentication server, you can use the Configuration utility or the bigpipe utility to configure authorization properties for the remote BIG-IP system user accounts. Specifically, you can do the following:
Assign unique authorization properties to an individual remote user account by creating a corresponding local user account, with the same user name, on the BIG-IP system and assigning access-control properties to it. For more information, see Assigning authorization to an individual user account.
Assign access-control properties on a group basis (that is, based on groups of users defined on a remote authentication server). For more information, see Assigning authorization for groups of user accounts.
The Authentication screen that you used to specify the type of remote authentication server also includes some default authorization values (for the Role, Partition Access, and Terminal Access settings). Therefore, if you do not explicitly configure these authorization settings for an individual BIG-IP system user account, the BIG-IP system assigns the default values to that account. This ensures that all remote user accounts have valid authorization settings assigned to them.
The default values for the Role, Partition Access, and Terminal Access settings are as follows:
Role--No Access
When you use these default values for a user account, the user account appears in the list of BIG-IP user accounts as Other External Users.
You can change the values that the BIG-IP system automatically uses as the default values for the Role, Partition Access, and Terminal Access settings. (For more information, see To change the default remote-account authorization.).
To change the default authorization properties for remote user accounts, you configure the Role, Partition Access, and Terminal Access settings on the same Authentication screen that you used to specify the type of remote authentication server you are using.
Important: For the Other External Users user account, you can modify the Role, Partition Access, and Terminal Access settings only when your current partition on the BIG-IP system is set to Common. If you attempt to modify these settings when your current partition is other than Common, the system displays an error message.
1.
On the Main tab of the navigation pane, expand System, and click Users.
This opens the User List screen, displaying a list of all standard user accounts.
2.
On the menu bar, click Authentication.
This displays the Authentication screen.
3.
Click Change.
4.
From the User Directory list, select Remote - Active Directory, Remote - LDAP, Remote - RADIUS, or Remote - TACACS+.
5.
From the Role list, select a user role.
The BIG-IP system assigns this user role to any remote account to which you have not explicitly assigned a user role.
6.
From the Partition Access list, select a partition name.
7.
From the Terminal Access list, select Enabled or Disabled.
8.
Click Update.
Note that you can sometimes inadvertently affect your own user account, if the BIG-IP system is configured to perform remote user authentication, and you or another system administrator changes the default role or partition assigned to all external user accounts:
If you log on to the BIG-IP system using one of these remotely-authenticated Administrator accounts, and you or another Administrator user modifies the default role of all external accounts from Administrator to a lesser role, the system modifies the user role of your own account to the lesser role. However, the change to your own account does not actually occur until you log off and log on again to the BIG-IP system, thus allowing you to complete any tasks you initiated that still require the Administrator role.
Similarly, your user account can be affected if the BIG-IP system is configured to perform remote user authentication, and the default partition assigned to all external user accounts is a specific partition. In this case, if you are logged on to the BIG-IP system through the bigpipe shell using one of the remotely-authenticated accounts, and another user who is logged on through the Configuration utility modifies the default partition for external users, the BIG-IP system immediately logs you off when you attempt to issue another bigpipe command.
Important: If a BIG-IP system administrator changes the user role or partition assignment (or both) for any remote user account, the BIG-IP system logs off all users immediately. (A remote user account in this case refers to Other External Users or users whose access control was assigned using the bigpipe remoterole command.) Any users logged on to the peer unit of a redundant system configuration are also logged off when you synchronize the changed configuration to that unit.
As stated in the previous section, you do not use the Configuration utility to create remote user accounts (user name and password) for the BIG-IP system. Instead, you create those user accounts on the remote server, using the mechanism provided by the remote server vendor. For authorization (access control) data, however, if you have the Administrator role assigned to your own user account, you can use the Configuration utility to explicitly assign access control properties to existing remote accounts.
Note: The BIG-IP system automatically assigns a default user role and other authorization properties to an existing remote account if you do not explicitly do so. For information on configuring the default user role, see To change the default remote-account authorization.
Remote user account names do not appear in the Configuration utility on the User List screen. Therefore, to assign non-default authorization properties to an existing remote account, you must simulate the creation of a new account on the BIG-IP system, configuring the User Name setting with the precise name of the existing remote account. You then configure the other properties on the Create screen as well. In this way, you assign authorization properties to an existing remote user account.
Use the following procedure to assign non-default authorization properties to an existing remote user account. (If you have already configured authorization properties of an individual account and want to change them again, see Changing authorization for an individual user account.)
1.
On the Main tab of the navigation pane, expand System, and click Users.
The User List screen opens.
Note: The User List screen does not show the remote user account in the list of user accounts.
2.
In the upper-right corner of the screen, click Create.
This displays the New User screen.
3.
In the User Name box, type the name of the remote user to which you want to assign a user role.
Important: This user name must precisely match the user name assigned to the remote user account.
4.
For the Role setting, select a user role.
5.
For the Partition Access setting, select a partition name.
Note: If you selected Administrator or Resource Administrator in step 4, this setting is not shown. Users with the Administrator or Resource Administrator role automatically have access to all partitions on the BIG-IP system. For more information on partition access, see Granting partition access.
6.
From the Terminal Access box, select an access level, to allow or prevent access to the BIG-IP system through the advanced or bigpipe command line interface.
7.
Click Finished.
Sometimes you might want to change the user role, partition access, and terminal access that you previously assigned to a remote account. To do so, you must change the properties of that account by clicking the account name on the User List screen. Only those remote user accounts to which you have explicitly assigned a user role appear in the list of user accounts. For the procedure on changing the authorization properties for this type of account, see To change authorization for an individual user account, following.
Remote user accounts that simply inherit the default user role (configured when you specified the remote authentication server) appear in the list of remote user accounts under the name Other External Users. For more information on assigning default authorization properties, see Understanding default remote-account authorization.
1.
On the Main tab of the navigation pane, expand System, and click Users.
This opens the User List screen, displaying a list of user accounts to which you explicitly assigned user roles.
2.
In the User Name column, click a user name.
This displays the properties for that user account.
3.
From the Role list, select a user role.
4.
From the Partition Access list, select a partition name.
5.
From the Terminal Access list, select an access level.
If you want to assign the same non-default access control properties to a group of remotely-stored user accounts, you can use the bigpipe remoterole command. This command stores all access control information on a group-wide basis for remotely-stored user accounts.
After using the remoterole command, you can propagate that access-control information to all BIG-IP devices on the network, using the single configuration file (SCF) feature. The remoterole command, combined with the SCF feature, removes the need to manually assign access control properties to each individual BIG-IP user within a group, on each BIG-IP device on your network.
For additional information on using the remoterole command, see these guides:
For syntax information for the remoterole command, see the Bigpipe Utility Reference Guide.
For a complete description of how to use the remoterole command to assign authorization properties to groups of remotely-stored user accounts, see the guide titled BIG-IP® Local Traffic Manager: Implementations.
The section titled Creating local user accounts, describes how to configure the settings of a local user account to grant access to a particular partition. For remote accounts, you can also grant access to a partition.
When you initially configure a remote server for authentication of BIG-IP system users, all remote user accounts have access to the Common partition. If you want a specific remote account to have access to a partition other than Common, you can specify a different partition when you configure the authorization properties for that account. Remote accounts that have the Administrator user role assigned to them automatically have full access to all partitions on the BIG-IP system,
Using the Configuration utility, you can display a list of those remote user accounts to which you explicitly assigned a non-default user role. If a remote user account has the default role assigned to it, you cannot see that account in the list of remote user accounts.
1.
On the Main tab of the navigation pane, expand System, and click Users.
The User List screen opens, displaying a list of all standard user accounts.
2.
On the menu bar, click Authentication.
The Authentication screen opens.
3.
Verify that the User Directory setting specifies a remote authentication server type (Active Directory, LDAP, or RADIUS).
5.
View the list of user accounts.
Remote user accounts that are assigned the default user role appear in the list as Other External Users.
2.
In the user-account list, find the user account you want to view and click the account name.
This displays the properties of that user account.
Note: The only properties displayed for a remote user account are the account name, the user role assigned to the account, the accounts partition access, and the accounts terminal access.
When you use the Configuration utility to delete a remote user account, you are not actually deleting the account from the remote server. Instead, you are changing the values of the users authorization properties back to the default values. For more information on default authorization values, see Understanding default remote-account authorization.
1.
On the Main tab of the navigation pane, expand System, and click Users.
This opens the User List screen, displaying a list of all standard user accounts.
3.
Click Delete.
A confirmation page appears.
4.
Click Delete.
The BIG-IP system generates a log message whenever a user or an application attempts to log on to or log off of the system. The system logs both successful and unsuccessful logon attempts. The system stores these log messages in the /var/log/secure file.
When the system logs an authentication message in the /var/log/secure file, the message can contain the following types of information:
Figure 14.2 shows examples of log messages for both successful and failed logon attempts made by user jsmith.
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