User Authentication with Keyboard-Interactive

Keyboard-interactive is a generic authentication method that can be used to implement different types of authentication mechanisms. Any currently supported authentication method that requires only the user's input can be performed with keyboard-interactive.

Currently, the following keyboard-interactive submethods are supported:

  • password

  • PAM (Unix only, see note below)

  • RSA SecurID


  • LAM (AIX only)

Methods that require passing some binary information, such as public-key authentication, cannot be used as submethods of keyboard-interactive. But public-key authentication, for example, can be used as an additional method alongside keyboard-interactive authentication.


PAM has support also for binary messages and client-side agents, but those cannot be supported with keyboard-interactive.

The client cannot request any specific keyboard-interactive submethod if the server allows several optional submethods. The order in which the submethods are offered depends on the server configuration. The server can be configured to allow, for example, the two optional submethods SecurID and password, and then the user can skip SecurID by pressing Enter when the server asks for a SecurID. The user will then be prompted for a password.

Using the Tectia Server Configuration tool, keyboard-interactive authentication can be configured on the Authentication page. See Authentication.