Double authentication with Google Authenticator in Pandora FMS

Introduction – Internet and its issues

For a long time, the Internet has been an easily accessible place for most people around the world, full of information, fun, and in general, it is an almost indispensable tool for most companies, if not all, and very useful in many other areas, such as education, administration, etc. But, since evil is a latent quality in the human being, this useful tool has also become a double-edged sword.

We speak of “cyberattacks”, or computer attacks. These “cyberattacks” are a set of code in a programming language, usually C, prepared to exploit a vulnerability in a system, or to find them. Although the most effective ones are created by people with great computer knowledge, some use already created programs, although yes, less effective than the first. That is why we hear news about cyberattacks on a daily basis. With each year that goes by, these cyberattacks multiply exponentially, being one of the biggest concerns for companies around the world. Because of this, protecting your system must be your highest priority in fighting against this problem.

From firewalls to applications, you must add all the security measures at your reach to your computing devices, both in the work environment and in your personal space, to guarantee the highest security. Although cybercriminals are more focused on attacking companies, obviously because there are more benefits, it never hurts to protect your personal life.

Problem Description – Password Attacks

Among all possible computer attacks, one of the most frequent ones is the brute force attack or password attack. This attack consists of using a series of commands or programs, together with a combination of alphanumeric characters and sets of symbols, simulating a username and password. Later, these data are launched against the entity, application or web page, as can be the case of Pandora FMS. It has that name because it is a constant attack, it does not try to exploit any specific vulnerability, but simply seeks to crack the username and password by constantly launching that code, with all possible user and password combinations. Although there are thousands of other attacks, we will focus on this one in particular, since it is one of the easiest to perform.

Solution – Google Authenticator

One of the simplest and most useful solutions to try to minimize this problem is to use a two-step authentication program (2FA). The most recommended and used one is the Google version, called “Google Authenticator“. It is a mobile application, available for both Android and iOS. This application consists of linking our account with the application itself, by scanning a QR code. Once you scan it, it will show you a 6-digit number that you must enter to verify your identity and link your account with Google’s. After having linked it, the application will provide you with a 6-digit number, with an expiration of thirty seconds, which you must enter each time you log into your account, and thus verify that you are the owner of said account.

Pandora FMS offers the possibility of configuring this application integrating its use with the server. That way, when you want to log in to Pandora FMS console, it will be necessary to enter a “code”, and thus guarantee that only the user who can obtain that code through the application can log in.

Configuring that tool is as simple as going to the “Authentication” section within the “Setup” tab.

Google-Authenticator

Here the task will be as simple as activating “Double authentication” and, if desired, forcing its use on all users. Once it is done, click on “Update”.

Google-Authenticator

Google-Authenticator

When updating, a window will appear asking you to download the Google authenticator application. Remember it is a mobile application, and, although the link redirects you to the website, you may download it from the Android Play Store or Apple App Store. If you already had it, you would only have to click continue.

Google-Authenticator

Then, open the application and scan the QR code with it. This will add an account to your application’s registry where a 6-digit number will appear. In case this fails, click “Refresh code”. If everything goes well, continue.

Google-Authenticator

The last window that will appear will be to ask you for the code that was generated in the application, to finish linking your Pandora FMS user with the device where the codes are generated. You will only have to enter this code and you will have finished the configuration of your double authenticator.

Google-Authenticator

To do the test, log out of Pandora FMS and re-enter the credentials of your user, and this time instead of showing you the console it will ask you to enter the application code.

Google-Authenticator

Farewell

Once you have correctly configured this tool, your system will be somewhat more secure, although of course, that does not mean that it is impenetrable, since every day, the so-called “hackers” create new codes to violate this type of security. That is why we always recommend changing passwords frequently and keeping all your devices updated to the latest version of their programs and software in general and continue adding new security measures throughout your network.

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