some generic reasons for hooking radius (or one of the AAA technologies) into your webserver for authentication are:

1) supports a variety of authentication mechanisms on an account by account basis. day one, none of the users actually need to see any difference (single administrative interface supporting all the client authentication options that might be in use). existing userid/password, challenge/response and in the referenced asuretee url, ecdsa digital signature.

2) single administrative interface for both client authentication options as well as all of their authorization and privilege options.

3) client database is accessable in real-time by the webserver, real-time updates can occur to both authentication information as well as authorization, permission and privilege information using single consistent administrative operation

4) there is no disconnect between client administration and static, stale, redundant and superfluous certificates that are a subset of a r/o administrative database entry. (RADIUS) Updates can take place in real time and immediately reflected. The certificate story (as mentioned previously, created for offline, disconnected environment) basically would do something like a) invalidate the old certificate, b) issue new CRLs, c) possibly update a OCSP LDAP, d) update the master database permissions entry for that client, e) generate a certificate that represents a subset of the master information, f) distribute it to the client and f) then have the client install the new certificate. This of course becomes unnecessary if the certificate doesn't actually contain any information and the webserver accesses the authorization and permissions from an online database. However, as has repeatedly been pointed out before, if the certificate doesn't contain any information and the webserver is accessing an online database for authorizations and permissions ... then the webserver can access the online database for the authentication material also. The certificate then is static, stale, redundant and superfluous and you are back to a single online, real-time comprehensive administrative facility (like radius) that supports client/account specifics for authentication, authorization, permissions, accounting, privileges, etc.

-- Anne & Lynn Wheeler Internet trivia 20th anv

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