Cisco IOS Authentication

Martin Pauly pauly at
Fri Apr 6 10:24:37 CEST 2018

Hello Tom,

> We are looking into using freeRADIUS to provide authentications to our> Cisco IOS devices.
> There is a very helpful guide on the wiki 
>, however, the article only lists
> 'Cleartext-Password' as an acceptable method for storing the user's
> password attribute within freeRADIUS. Is it possible to use a more secure
> method of storing the passwords that is compatible with Cisco IOS?

why store inside freeradius? For CLI access to our IOS devices,
I use a dedicated RADIUS VM and authenticate all IOS shell access against
its local linux accounts, i.e. /etc/shadow on the RADIUS server is my password storage.
With all recent Linuxes using SHA-512 Hashes and a stripped-down config on the
dedicated machine, this should IMHO suffice as a password store -- but only
if your number of users is small (~12 in our case).

- On the (management) LAN, the only protection is the MD5 encryption with the shared secret.
- If you set up a second VM for redundancy, keeping the passwords in sync must be done manually.

We actually have this second VM (on a different cluster).
Again, this only feasible because of the small number of users.

Another way to go might be SSH keys on IOS, I haven't tried these yet.

Cheers, Martin
   Dr. Martin Pauly     Phone:  +49-6421-28-23527
   HRZ Univ. Marburg    Fax:    +49-6421-28-26994
   Hans-Meerwein-Str.   E-Mail: pauly at HRZ.Uni-Marburg.DE
   D-35032 Marburg

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