AES Reversible Password Based Encryption


Directory Server was previously using the DES cipher for its password based encryption, this cipher is no longer considered safe to use. The server will now use AES for its reversible password based encryption.

Use Cases

Deployments using replication where “simple” authentication is being used by the replication agreements. The chaining plugin uses reversible passwords for its remote authentication. The DNA plugin uses the replication agreement credentials when trying to connect to remote replica servers.


AES Password Based Encryption. AES requires that the same algorithm ID used to generate the encrypted password must be used to decode the password. This algorithm ID must be stored for future decodings. To resolve this dependency, the algorithm ID(SECItem) is first converted to its ASCII equivalent, then it is base64 encoded and stored in the cipher prefix so it can be extracted for future decodings:



Just like with the DES password syntax plugin, use the nsslapd-pluginargN attributes to specify which attributes should be AES encoded:

dn: cn=AES,cn=Password Storage Schemes,cn=plugins,cn=config
nsslapd-pluginarg0: nsmultiplexorcredentials
nsslapd-pluginarg1: nsds5ReplicaCredentials


The configuration entry “cn=AES,cn=Password Storage Schemes,cn=plugins,cn=config” should be used in place of “cn=DES,cn=Password Storage Schemes,cn=plugins,cn=config”. The libdes-plugin library has also been replaced by a more appropriate name: libpbe-plugin The new plugin still handles DES, but it also includes AES, or any potential future algorithms.

Major configuration options and enablement

There is new configuration plugin entry:

dn: cn=AES,cn=Password Storage Schemes,cn=plugins,cn=config
objectClass: top
objectClass: nsSlapdPlugin
objectClass: extensibleObject
cn: AES
nsslapd-pluginPath: libpbe-plugin
nsslapd-pluginInitfunc: aes_init
nsslapd-pluginType: reverpwdstoragescheme
nsslapd-pluginEnabled: on
nsslapd-pluginarg0: nsmultiplexorcredentials
nsslapd-pluginarg1: nsds5ReplicaCredentials
nsslapd-pluginId: aes-storage-scheme
nsslapd-pluginprecedence: 1
nsslapd-pluginVersion: 1.3.4
nsslapd-pluginVendor: 389 Project
nsslapd-pluginDescription: AES storage scheme plugin


Impacts replication agreements that use simple authentication(aka username and password) where the password is encoded using the DES plugin.

Updates and Upgrades

During an upgrade ( –update) there are several processes that need to be performed

After the upgrade, the server must be restarted. When the server is restarted it will internally check for any DES encoded passwords by searching on all the attributes configured in both the DES & AES plugins. Then “cn=config” is searched for DES encoded passwords. If any “DES passwords” are found the server will decode these passwords and re-encode them using the AES Reversible Password Based Encryption.

If there are entries in the “user” database that happens to be using DES passwords then you will need to run the “des2aes” Task to manually convert them.

dn: cn=convertMyDESPasswords,cn=des2aes,cn=tasks,cn=config
objectclass: top
objectclass: extensibleObject
cn: convertMyDESPasswords
suffix: dc=example,dc=com
suffix: dc=other,dc=sufix

suffix - This multivalued attribute specifies a suffix to check for DES passwords and convert them to AES. If this attribute is omitted then all the backends/suffixes are checked



External Impact



Last modified on 7 June 2016