Security Overview

Beginning in HTCondor version 9, a main goal is to make all condor installations easier to secure. In previous versions, a default installation typically required additional steps after setup to enable end-to-end security for all users and daemons in the system. Configuring various different types of authentication and security policy could also involve setting quite a number of different configuration parameters and a fairly deep foray into the manual to understand how they all work together.

This overview will explain the high-level concepts involved in securing an HTCondor pool. If possible, we recommend performing a clean installation “from scratch” and then migrating over pieces of your old configuration as needed. Here are some quick links for getting started if you want to jump right in:

Quick Links:

If you are upgrading an existing pool from 8.9.X to 9.0.X, please visit

If you are installing a new HTCondor pool from scratch, please read about Downloading and Installing

General Security Flow

Establishing a secure connection in HTCondor goes through four major steps, which are very briefly enumerated here for reference.

  1. Negotiation: In order for a client and server to communicate, they need to agree on which security mechanisms will be used for the connection. This includes whether or not the connection will be authenticated, which types of authentication methods can be used, whether the connection will be encrypted, and which different types of encryption algorithms can be used. The client sends its capabilities, preferences, and requirements; the server compares those against its own, decides what to do, and tells the client; if a connection is possible, they both then work to enact it. We call the decisions the server makes during negotiation the “security policy” for that connection; see Security Negotiation for details on policy configuration.

  2. Authentication/Mapping: If the server decides to authenticate (and we strongly recommend that it almost always either do so or reject the connection), the methods allowed are tried in the order decided by the server until one of them succeeds. After a successful authentication, the server decides the canonical name of the user based on the credentials used by the client. For SSL, this involves mapping the DN to a format. For most other methods the result is already in format. For details on different types of supported authentication methods, please see Authentication.

  3. Encryption and Integrity: If the server decided that encryption would be used, both sides now enable encryption and integrity checks using the method preferred by the server. AES is now the preferred method and enabled by default. The overhead of doing the encryption and integrity checks is minimal so we have decided to simplify configuration by requiring changes to disable it rather than enable it. For details on different types of supported authentication methods, see Encryption.

  4. Authorization: The canonical user is now checked to see if they are allowed to send the command to the server that they wish to send. Commands are “registered” at different authorization levels, and there is an ALLOW/DENY list for each level. If the canonical user is authorized, HTCondor performs the requested action. If authorization fails, the permission is DENIED and the network connection is closed. For list of authorization levels and more information on configuring ALLOW and DENY lists, please see Authorization.

Highlights of New Features In Version 9.0.0

Introducing: IDTOKENS

In 9.0.0, we have introduced a new authentication mechanism called IDTOKENS. These tokens are easy for the administrator to issue, and in many cases users can also acquire their own tokens on a machine used to submit jobs (running the condor_schedd). An IDTOKEN is a relatively lightweight credential that can be used to prove an identity. The contents of the token are actually a JWT ( that is signed by a “Token Signing Key” that establishes the trustworthiness of the token. Typically, this signing key is something accessible only to HTCondor (and owned by the “root” user of the system) and not users, and by default lives in /etc/condor/passwords.d/POOL. To make configuration easier, this signing key is generated automatically by HTCondor if it does not exist on the machine that runs the Central Manager, or the condor_collector daemon in particular. So after installing the central manager and starting it up for the first time, you should as the administrator be all set to start issuing tokens. That said, you will need to copy the signing key to all other machines in your pool that you want to be able to receive and validate the IDTOKEN credentials that you issue.

Documentation for the command line tools used for creating and managing IDTOKENS is available in the Token Authentication section.

Introducing: AES

In version 9.0.0 we have also added support for AES, a widely-used encryption method that has hardware support in most modern CPUS. Because the overhead of encryption is so much lower, we have turned it on by default. We use AES in such a way (called AESGCM mode) that it provides integrity checks (checksums) on transmitted data, and this method is now on by default and is the preferred method to be used if both sides support it.

Types of Network Connections

We generally consider user-to-daemon and daemon-to-daemon connections distinctly. User-to-daemon connections almost always issue READ or WRITE level commands, and the vast majority of those connections are to the schedd or the collector; many of those connections will be between processes on the same machine. Conversely, daemon-to-daemon connections are typically between two different machines, and use commands registered at all levels.

User-to-Daemon Connections (User Authentication)

In order for users to submit jobs to the HTCondor system, they will need to authenticate to the condor_schedd daemon. They also need to authenticate to the SchedD to modify, remove, hold, or release jobs. When users are interacting with the condor_schedd, they issue commands that need to be authorized at either the “READ” or “WRITE” level. (Unless the user is an administrator, in which case they might also issue “ADMINISTRATOR”-level commands).

Authenticating using FS

On a Linux system this is typically done by logging into the machine that is running the condor_schedd daemon and authentication using a method called FS (on Linux see Windows note below this paragraph). FS stands for “File System” and the method works by having the user create a file in /tmp that the condor_schedd can then examine to determine who the owner is. Because this operates in /tmp, this only works for connections to daemons on the same machine. FS is enabled by default so the administrator does not need to do anything to allow users to interact with the job queue this way. (There are other methods, mentioned below, that can work over a network connection.)

[Windows note: HTCondor on Windows does not use FS, but rather a method specific to Windows called NTSSPI. See the section on Authentication for more more info. ]

If it is necessary to do a “remote submit” – that is, run condor_submit on a different machine than is running the condor_schedd – then the administrator will need to configure another method. FS_REMOTE works similarly to FS but uses a shared directory other than /tmp. Mechanisms such as KERBEROS, SSL, and MUNGE can also be configured. However, with the addition of IDTOKENS in 9.0.0, it is easy to configure and deploy this mechanism and we would suggest you do so unless you have a specific need to use one of the alternatives.

Authenticating using IDTOKENS

If a user is able to log in to the machine running the condor_schedd, and the SchedD has been set up with the Token Signing Key (see above for how that is created and deployed) then the user can simply run condor_token_fetch and retrieve their own token. This token can then be (securely) moved to another machine and used to interact with the job queue, including submission, edits, hold, release, and removing the job.

If the user cannot log in to the machine running the condor_schedd, they should ask their administrator to create tokens for them using the condor_token_create command line tool. Once again, more info can be found in the Token Authentication section.

Daemon-to-Daemon Connections (Daemon Authentication)

HTCondor daemons need to trust each other to pass information security from one to the other. This information may contain important attributes about a job to run, such as which executable to run, the arguments, and which user to run the job as. Obviously, being able to tamper those could allow an impersonator to perform all sorts of nefarious tasks.

For daemons that run on the same machine, for example a condor_master, condor_schedd, and the condor_shadow daemons launched by the condor_schedd, this authentication is performed using a secret that is shared with each condor daemon when it is launched. These are called “family sessions”, since the processes sharing the secret are all part of the same unix process family. This allows the HTCondor daemons to contact one another locally without having to use another type of authentication. So essentially, when we are discussing daemon-to-daemon communication, we are talking about HTCondor daemons on two different physical machines. In those cases, they need to establish trust using some mechanism that works over a network. The FS mechanism used for user job submission typically doesn’t work here because it relies on sharing a directory between the two daemons, typically /tmp. However, IDTOKENS are able to work here as long as the server has a copy of the Signing Key that was used to issue the token that the client is using. The daemon will authenticate as condor@$(TRUST_DOMAIN) where the trust domain is the string set by the token issuer, and is usually equal to the $(UID_DOMAIN) setting on the central manager. (Note that setting UID_DOMAIN has other consequences.)

Once HTCondor has determined the authenticate principal, it checks the authorization lists as mentioned above in General Security Flow. For daemon-to-daemon authorization, there are a few lists that may be consulted.

If the condor daemon receiving the connection is the condor_collector, it first checks to see if there are specific authorization lists for daemons advertising to the collector (i.e. joining the pool). If the incoming command is advertising a submit node (i.e. a condor_schedd daemon), it will check ALLOW_ADVERTISE_SCHEDD. If the incoming command is for an execute node (a condor_startd daemon), it will check ALLOW_ADVERTISE_STARTD. And if the incoming command is for a condor_master (which runs on all HTCondor nodes) it will check ALLOW_ADVERTISE_MASTER. If the list it checks is undefined, it will then check ALLOW_DAEMON instead.

If the condor daemon receiving the connection is not a condor_collector, the ALLOW_DAEMON is the only list that is looked at.

It is notable that many daemon-to-daemon connections have been optimized to not need to authenticate using one of the standard methods. Similar to the “family” sessions that work internally on one machine, there are sessions called “match” sessions that can be used internally within one POOL of machines. Here, trust is established by the negotiator when matching a job to a resource – the Negotiator takes a secret generated by the condor_startd and securely passes it to the condor_schedd when a match is made. The submit and execute machines can now use this secret to establish a secure channel. Because of this, you do not necessarily need to have authentication from one to the other configured; it is enough to have secure channels from the SchedD to the Collector and from the StartD to the collector. Likewise, a Negotiator can establish trust with a SchedD in the same way: the SchedD trusts the Collector to tell only trustworthy Negotiators its secret. However, some features such as condor_ssh_to_job and condor_tail will not work unless the access point can authenticate directly to the execute point, which is why we mentioned needing to distribute the signing key earlier – if the server does not have the signing key, it cannot directly validate the incoming IDTOKEN used for authentication.

Security Terms

Security in HTCondor is a broad issue, with many aspects to consider. Because HTCondor’s main purpose is to allow users to run arbitrary code on large numbers of computers, it is important to try to limit who can access an HTCondor pool and what privileges they have when using the pool. This section covers these topics.

There is a distinction between the kinds of resource attacks HTCondor can defeat, and the kinds of attacks HTCondor cannot defeat. HTCondor cannot prevent security breaches of users that can elevate their privilege to the root or administrator account. HTCondor does not run user jobs in sandboxes (possibly excepting Docker or Singularity jobs) so HTCondor cannot defeat all malicious actions by user jobs. An example of a malicious job is one that launches a distributed denial of service attack. HTCondor assumes that users are trustworthy. HTCondor can prevent unauthorized access to the HTCondor pool, to help ensure that only trusted users have access to the pool. In addition, HTCondor provides encryption and integrity checking, to ensure that network transmissions are not examined or tampered with while in transit.

Broadly speaking, the aspects of security in HTCondor may be categorized and described:


Authorization or capability in an operating system is based on a process owner. Both those that submit jobs and HTCondor daemons become process owners. The HTCondor system prefers that HTCondor daemons are run as the user root, while other common operations are owned by a user of HTCondor. Operations that do not belong to either root or an HTCondor user are often owned by the condor user. See User Accounts in HTCondor on Unix Platforms for more detail.


Proper identification of a user is accomplished by the process of authentication. It attempts to distinguish between real users and impostors. By default, HTCondor’s authentication uses the user id (UID) to determine identity, but HTCondor can choose among a variety of authentication mechanisms, including the stronger authentication methods Kerberos and SSL.


Authorization specifies who is allowed to do what. Some users are allowed to submit jobs, while other users are allowed administrative privileges over HTCondor itself. HTCondor provides authorization on either a per-user or on a per-machine basis.


HTCondor may encrypt data sent across the network, which prevents others from viewing the data. With persistence and sufficient computing power, decryption is possible. HTCondor can encrypt the data sent for internal communication, as well as user data, such as files and executables. Encryption operates on network transmissions: unencrypted data is stored on disk by default. However, see the ENCRYPT_EXECUTE_DIRECTORY setting for how to encrypt job data on the disk of an execute node.


The man-in-the-middle attack tampers with data without the awareness of either side of the communication. HTCondor’s integrity check sends additional cryptographic data to verify that network data transmissions have not been tampered with. Note that the integrity information is only for network transmissions: data stored on disk does not have this integrity information. Also note that integrity checks are not performed upon job data files that are transferred by HTCondor via the File Transfer Mechanism described in the Submitting a Job section.

Quick Configuration of Security

Note: This method of configuring security is experimental. Many tools and daemons that send administrative commands between machines (e.g. condor_off, condor_drain, or condor_defrag) won’t work without further setup. We plan to remove this limitation in future releases.

While pool administrators with complex configurations or application developers may need to understand the full security model described in this chapter, HTCondor strives to make it easy to enable reasonable security settings for new pools.

When installing a new pool, assuming you are on a trusted network and there are no unprivileged users logged in to the submit hosts:

  1. Start HTCondor on your central manager host (containing the condor_collector daemon) first. For a fresh install, this will automatically generate a random key in the file specified by SEC_TOKEN_POOL_SIGNING_KEY_FILE (defaulting to /etc/condor/passwords.d/POOL on Linux and $(RELEASE_DIR)\\POOL on Windows).

  2. Install an auto-approval rule on the central manager using condor_token_request_auto_approve. This automatically approves any daemons starting on a specified network for a fixed period of time. For example, to auto-authorize any daemon on the network for the next hour (3600 seconds), run the following command from the central manager:

    $ condor_token_request_auto_approve -netblock -lifetime 3600
  3. Within the auto-approval rule’s lifetime, start the submit and execute hosts inside the appropriate network. The token requests for the corresponding daemons (the condor_master, condor_startd, and condor_schedd) will be automatically approved and installed into /etc/condor/tokens.d/; this will authorize the daemon to advertise to the collector. By default, auto-generated tokens do not have an expiration.

This quick-configuration requires no configuration changes beyond the default settings. More complex cases, such as those where the network is not trusted, are covered in the Token Authentication section.

HTCondor’s Security Model

At the heart of HTCondor’s security model is the notion that communications are subject to various security checks. A request from one HTCondor daemon to another may require authentication to prevent subversion of the system. A request from a user of HTCondor may need to be denied due to the confidential nature of the request. The security model handles these example situations and many more.

Requests to HTCondor are categorized into groups of access levels, based on the type of operation requested. The user of a specific request must be authorized at the required access level. For example, executing the condor_status command requires the READ access level. Actions that accomplish management tasks, such as shutting down or restarting of a daemon require an ADMINISTRATOR access level. See the Authorization section for a full list of HTCondor’s access levels and their meanings.

There are two sides to any communication or command invocation in HTCondor. One side is identified as the client, and the other side is identified as the daemon. The client is the party that initiates the command, and the daemon is the party that processes the command and responds. In some cases it is easy to distinguish the client from the daemon, while in other cases it is not as easy. HTCondor tools such as condor_submit and condor_config_val are clients. They send commands to daemons and act as clients in all their communications. For example, the condor_submit command communicates with the condor_schedd. Behind the scenes, HTCondor daemons also communicate with each other; in this case the daemon initiating the command plays the role of the client. For instance, the condor_negotiator daemon acts as a client when contacting the condor_schedd daemon to initiate matchmaking. Once a match has been found, the condor_schedd daemon acts as a client and contacts the condor_startd daemon.

HTCondor’s security model is implemented using configuration. Commands in HTCondor are executed over TCP/IP network connections. While network communication enables HTCondor to manage resources that are distributed across an organization (or beyond), it also brings in security challenges. HTCondor must have ways of ensuring that communications are being sent by trustworthy users and not tampered with in transit. These issues can be addressed with HTCondor’s authentication, encryption, and integrity features.

Access Level Descriptions

Authorization is granted based on specified access levels. This list describes each access level, and provides examples of their usage. The levels implement a partial hierarchy; a higher level often implies a READ or both a WRITE and a READ level of access as described.


This access level can obtain or read information about HTCondor. Examples that require only READ access are viewing the status of the pool with condor_status, checking a job queue with condor_q, or viewing user priorities with condor_userprio. READ access does not allow any changes, and it does not allow job submission.


This access level is required to send (write) information to HTCondor. Examples that require WRITE access are job submission with condor_submit and advertising a machine so it appears in the pool (this is usually done automatically by the condor_startd daemon). The WRITE level of access implies READ access.


This access level has additional HTCondor administrator rights to the pool. It includes the ability to change user priorities with the command condor_userprio, as well as the ability to turn HTCondor on and off (as with the commands condor_on and condor_off). The condor_fetchlog tool also requires an ADMINISTRATOR access level. The ADMINISTRATOR level of access implies both READ and WRITE access.


This access level is required to modify a daemon’s configuration using the condor_config_val command. By default, this level of access can change any configuration parameters of an HTCondor pool, except those specified in the condor_config.root configuration file. The CONFIG level of access implies READ access.


This access level is used for commands that are internal to the operation of HTCondor. An example of this internal operation is when the condor_startd daemon sends its ClassAd updates to the condor_collector daemon (which may be more specifically controlled by the ADVERTISE_STARTD access level). Authorization at this access level should only be given to the user account under which the HTCondor daemons run. The DAEMON level of access implies both READ and WRITE access.


This access level is used specifically to verify that commands are sent by the condor_negotiator daemon. The condor_negotiator daemon runs on the central manager of the pool. Commands requiring this access level are the ones that tell the condor_schedd daemon to begin negotiating, and those that tell an available condor_startd daemon that it has been matched to a condor_schedd with jobs to run. The NEGOTIATOR level of access implies READ access.


This access level is used specifically for commands used to advertise a condor_master daemon to the collector. Any setting for this access level that is not defined will default to the corresponding setting in the DAEMON access level. The ADVERTISE_MASTER level of access implies READ access.


This access level is used specifically for commands used to advertise a condor_startd daemon to the collector. Any setting for this access level that is not defined will default to the corresponding setting in the DAEMON access level. The ADVERTISE_STARTD level of access implies READ access.


This access level is used specifically for commands used to advertise a condor_schedd daemon to the collector. Any setting for this access level that is not defined will default to the corresponding setting in the DAEMON access level. The ADVERTISE_SCHEDD level of access implies READ access.


This access level is different from all the others. Whereas all of the other access levels refer to the security policy for accepting connections from others, the CLIENT access level applies when an HTCondor daemon or tool is connecting to some other HTCondor daemon. In other words, it specifies the policy of the client that is initiating the operation, rather than the server that is being contacted.

The following is a list of registered commands that daemons will accept. The list is ordered by daemon. For each daemon, the commands are grouped by the access level required for a daemon to accept the command from a given machine.



The command sent as a result of condor_reconfig to reconfigure a daemon.



All commands that relate to a condor_schedd daemon claiming a machine, starting jobs there, or stopping those jobs.


The command that condor_preen sends to request the current state of the condor_startd daemon.


The command that the condor_negotiator daemon sends to match a machine’s condor_startd daemon with a given condor_schedd daemon.



The command that initiates a new negotiation cycle. It is sent by the condor_schedd when new jobs are submitted or a condor_reschedule command is issued.


The command that can retrieve the current state of user priorities in the pool, sent by the condor_userprio command.


The command that can set the current values of user priorities, sent as a result of the condor_userprio command.



Commands that update the condor_collector daemon with new condor_master ClassAds.


Commands that update the condor_collector daemon with new condor_schedd ClassAds.


Commands that update the condor_collector daemon with new condor_startd ClassAds.


All other commands that update the condor_collector daemon with new ClassAds. Note that the specific access levels such as ADVERTISE_STARTD default to the DAEMON settings, which in turn defaults to WRITE.


All commands that query the condor_collector daemon for ClassAds.



The command that the condor_negotiator sends to begin negotiating with this condor_schedd to match its jobs with available condor_startds.


The command which condor_reschedule sends to the condor_schedd to get it to update the condor_collector with a current ClassAd and begin a negotiation cycle.

The commands which write information into the job queue (such as condor_submit and condor_hold). Note that for most commands which attempt to write to the job queue, HTCondor will perform an additional user-level authentication step. This additional user-level authentication prevents, for example, an ordinary user from removing a different user’s jobs.


The command from any tool to view the status of the job queue.

The commands that a condor_startd sends to the condor_schedd when the condor_schedd daemon’s claim is being preempted and also when the lease on the claim is renewed. These operations only require READ access, rather than DAEMON in order to limit the level of trust that the condor_schedd must have for the condor_startd. Success of these commands is only possible if the condor_startd knows the secret claim id, so effectively, authorization for these commands is more specific than HTCondor’s general security model implies. The condor_schedd automatically grants the condor_startd READ access for the duration of the claim. Therefore, if one desires to only authorize specific execute machines to run jobs, one must either limit which machines are allowed to advertise themselves to the pool (most common) or configure the condor_schedd ‘s ALLOW_CLIENT setting to only allow connections from the condor_schedd to the trusted execute machines.

MASTER: All commands are registered with ADMINISTRATOR access:


Master restarts itself (and all its children)


Master shuts down all its children

off -master

Master shuts down all its children and exits


Master spawns all the daemons it is configured to spawn

Security Negotiation

Because of the wide range of environments and security demands necessary, HTCondor must be flexible. Configuration provides this flexibility. The process by which HTCondor determines the security settings that will be used when a connection is established is called security negotiation. Security negotiation’s primary purpose is to determine which of the features of authentication, encryption, and integrity checking will be enabled for a connection. In addition, since HTCondor supports multiple technologies for authentication and encryption, security negotiation also determines which technology is chosen for the connection.

Security negotiation is a completely separate process from matchmaking, and should not be confused with any specific function of the condor_negotiator daemon. Security negotiation occurs when one HTCondor daemon or tool initiates communication with another HTCondor daemon, to determine the security settings by which the communication will be ruled. The condor_negotiator daemon does negotiation, whereby queued jobs and available machines within a pool go through the process of matchmaking (deciding out which machines will run which jobs).


The configuration macro names that determine what features will be used during client-daemon communication follow the pattern:


The <feature> portion of the macro name determines which security feature’s policy is being set. <feature> may be any one of


The <context> component of the security policy macros can be used to craft a fine-grained security policy based on the type of communication taking place. <context> may be any one of


Any of these constructed configuration macros may be set to any of the following values:


Security negotiation resolves various client-daemon combinations of desired security features in order to set a policy.

As an example, consider Frida the scientist. Frida wants to avoid authentication when possible. She sets


The machine running the condor_schedd to which Frida will remotely submit jobs, however, is operated by a security-conscious system administrator who dutifully sets:


When Frida submits her jobs, HTCondor’s security negotiation determines that authentication will be used, and allows the command to continue. This example illustrates the point that the most restrictive security policy sets the levels of security enforced. There is actually more to the understanding of this scenario. Some HTCondor commands, such as the use of condor_submit to submit jobs always require authentication of the submitter, no matter what the policy says. This is because the identity of the submitter needs to be known in order to carry out the operation. Others commands, such as condor_q, do not always require authentication, so in the above example, the server’s policy would force Frida’s condor_q queries to be authenticated, whereas a different policy could allow condor_q to happen without any authentication.

Whether or not security negotiation occurs depends on the setting at both the client and daemon side of the configuration variable(s) defined by SEC_*_NEGOTIATION. SEC_DEFAULT_NEGOTIATION is a variable representing the entire set of configuration variables for NEGOTIATION. For the client side setting, the only definitions that make sense are REQUIRED and NEVER. For the daemon side setting, the PREFERRED value makes no sense. Table 3.2 shows how security negotiation resolves various client-daemon combinations of security negotiation policy settings. Within the table, Yes means the security negotiation will take place. No means it will not. Fail means that the policy settings are incompatible and the communication cannot continue.

Daemon Setting




Client Setting









Table 3.2: Resolution of security negotiation.

Enabling authentication, encryption, and integrity checks is dependent on security negotiation taking place. The enabled security negotiation further sets the policy for these other features. Table 3.3 shows how security features are resolved for client-daemon combinations of security feature policy settings. Like Table 3.2, Yes means the feature will be utilized. No means it will not. Fail implies incompatibility and the feature cannot be resolved.

Daemon Setting





Client Setting





















Table 3.3: Resolution of security features.

The enabling of encryption and/or integrity checks is dependent on authentication taking place. The authentication provides a key exchange. The key is needed for both encryption and integrity checks.

Setting SEC_CLIENT_<feature> determines the policy for all outgoing commands. The policy for incoming commands (the daemon side of the communication) takes a more fine-grained approach that implements a set of access levels for the received command. For example, it is desirable to have all incoming administrative requests require authentication. Inquiries on pool status may not be so restrictive. To implement this, the administrator configures the policy:


The DEFAULT value for <context> provides a way to set a policy for all access levels (READ, WRITE, etc.) that do not have a specific configuration variable defined. In addition, some access levels will default to the settings specified for other access levels. For example, defaults to DAEMON, and DAEMON defaults to WRITE, which then defaults to the general DEFAULT setting.

Configuration for Security Methods

Authentication and encryption can each be accomplished by a variety of methods or technologies. Which method is utilized is determined during security negotiation.

The configuration macros that determine the methods to use for authentication and/or encryption are


These macros are defined by a comma or space delimited list of possible methods to use. The Authentication section lists all implemented authentication methods. The Encryption section lists all implemented encryption methods.


The client side of any communication uses one of two macros to specify whether authentication is to occur:



For the daemon side, there are a larger number of macros to specify whether authentication is to take place, based upon the necessary access level:











As an example, the macro defined in the configuration file for a daemon as


signifies that the daemon must authenticate the client for any communication that requires the WRITE access level. If the daemon’s configuration contains


and does not contain any other security configuration for AUTHENTICATION, then this default defines the daemon’s needs for authentication over all access levels. Where a specific macro is defined, the more specific value takes precedence over the default definition.

If authentication is to be done, then the communicating parties must negotiate a mutually acceptable method of authentication to be used. A list of acceptable methods may be provided by the client, using the macros



A list of acceptable methods may be provided by the daemon, using the macros











The methods are given as a comma-separated list of acceptable values. These variables list the authentication methods that are available to be used. The ordering of the list defines preference; the first item in the list indicates the highest preference. As not all of the authentication methods work on Windows platforms, which ones do not work on Windows are indicated in the following list of defined values:

FS        (not available on Windows platforms)
FS_REMOTE (not available on Windows platforms)

For example, a client may be configured with:


and a daemon the client is trying to contact with:


Security negotiation will determine that SSL authentication is the only compatible choice. If there are multiple compatible authentication methods, security negotiation will make a list of acceptable methods and they will be tried in order until one succeeds.

As another example, the macro


indicates that either Kerberos or Windows authentication may be used, but Kerberos is preferred over Windows. Note that if the client and daemon agree that multiple authentication methods may be used, then they are tried in turn. For instance, if they both agree that Kerberos or NTSSPI may be used, then Kerberos will be tried first, and if there is a failure for any reason, then NTSSPI will be tried.

An additional specialized method of authentication exists for communication between the condor_schedd and condor_startd, as well as communication between the condor_schedd and the condor_negotiator. It is especially useful when operating at large scale over high latency networks or in situations where it is inconvenient to set up one of the other methods of authentication between the submit and execute daemons. See the description of SEC_ENABLE_MATCH_PASSWORD_AUTHENTICATION in Configuration File Entries Relating to Security for details.

If the configuration for a machine does not define any variable for SEC_<access-level>_AUTHENTICATION, then HTCondor uses a default value of OPTIONAL. Authentication will be required for any operation which modifies the job queue, such as condor_qedit and condor_rm. If the configuration for a machine does not define any variable for SEC_<access-level>_AUTHENTICATION_METHODS, the default value for a Unix machine is FS, IDTOKENS, KERBEROS. This default value for a Windows machine is NTSSPI, IDTOKENS, KERBEROS.

SSL Authentication

SSL authentication utilizes X.509 certificates to establish trust between a client and a server.

SSL authentication may be mutual or server-only. That is, the server always needs a certificate that can be verified by the client, but a certificate for the client may be optional. Whether a client certificate is required is controlled by configuration variable AUTH_SSL_REQUIRE_CLIENT_CERTIFICATE, a boolean value that defaults to False. If the value is False, then the client may present a certificate to be verified by the server. If the client doesn’t have a certificate, then its identity is set to unauthenticated by the server. If the value is True and the client doesn’t have a certificate, then the SSL authentication fails (other authentication methods may then be tried).

The names and locations of keys and certificates for clients, servers, and the files used to specify trusted certificate authorities (CAs) are defined by settings in the configuration files. The contents of the files are identical in format and interpretation to those used by other systems which use SSL, such as Apache httpd.

The configuration variables AUTH_SSL_CLIENT_CERTFILE and AUTH_SSL_SERVER_CERTFILE specify the file location for the certificate file for the initiator and recipient of connections, respectively. Similarly, the configuration variables AUTH_SSL_CLIENT_KEYFILE and AUTH_SSL_SERVER_KEYFILE specify the locations for keys. If no client certificate is used, the client will authenticate as user anonymous@ssl.

The configuration variables AUTH_SSL_SERVER_CAFILE and AUTH_SSL_CLIENT_CAFILE each specify a path and file name, providing the location of a file containing one or more certificates issued by trusted certificate authorities. Similarly, AUTH_SSL_SERVER_CADIR and AUTH_SSL_CLIENT_CADIR each specify a directory with one or more files, each which may contain a single CA certificate. The directories must be prepared using the OpenSSL c_rehash utility.

Bootstrapping SSL Authentication

HTCondor daemons exposed to the Internet may utilize server certificates provided by well-known authorities; however, SSL can be difficult to bootstrap for non-public hosts.

Accordingly, on first startup, if COLLECTOR_BOOTSTRAP_SSL_CERTIFICATE is True, the condor_collector generates a new CA and key in the locations pointed to by TRUST_DOMAIN_CAFILE and TRUST_DOMAIN_CAKEY, respectively. If AUTH_SSL_SERVER_CERTFILE or AUTH_SSL_SERVER_KEYFILE do not exist, the collector will generate a host certificate and key using the generated CA and write them to the respective locations.

The first time an unknown CA is encountered by tool such as condor_status, the tool will prompt the user on whether it should trust the CA; the prompt looks like the following:

$ condor_status
The remote host presented an untrusted CA certificate with the following fingerprint:
SHA-256: 781b:1d:1:ca:b:f7:ab:b6:e4:a3:31:80:ae:28:9d:b0:a9:ee:1b:c1:63:8b:62:29:83:1f:e7:88:29:75:6:
Subject: /O=condor/
Would you like to trust this server for current and future communications?
Please type 'yes' or 'no':

The result will be persisted in a file at .condor/known_hosts inside the user’s home directory.

Similarly, a daemon authenticating as a client against a remote server will record the result of the authentication in a system-wide trust whose location is kept in the configuration variable SEC_SYSTEM_KNOWN_HOSTS. Since a daemon cannot prompt the administrator for a decision, it will always deny unknown CAs _unless_ BOOTSTRAP_SSL_SERVER_TRUST is set to true.

The first time any daemon is authenticated, even if it’s not through SSL, it will be noted in the known_hosts file.

The format of the known_hosts file is line-oriented and has three fields,


Any blank line or line prefixed with # will be ignored. Any line prefixed with ! will result in the CA certificate to _not_ be trusted. To easily switch an untrusted CA to be trusted, simply delete the ! prefix.


The following line would cause to _not_ be trusted:


Kerberos Authentication

If Kerberos is used for authentication, then a mapping from a Kerberos domain (called a realm) to an HTCondor UID domain is necessary. There are two ways to accomplish this mapping. For a first way to specify the mapping, see The Unified Map File for Authentication to use HTCondor’s unified map file. A second way to specify the mapping is to set the configuration variable KERBEROS_MAP_FILE to the path of an administrator-maintained Kerberos-specific map file. The configuration syntax is

KERBEROS_MAP_FILE = /path/to/etc/condor.kmap

Lines within this map file have the syntax


Here are two lines from a map file to use as an example:


If a KERBEROS_MAP_FILE configuration variable is defined and set, then all permitted realms must be explicitly mapped. If no map file is specified, then HTCondor assumes that the Kerberos realm is the same as the HTCondor UID domain.

The configuration variable KERBEROS_SERVER_PRINCIPAL defines the name of a Kerberos principal, to override the default host/<hostname>@<realm>. A principal specifies a unique name to which a set of credentials may be assigned.

The configuration variable KERBEROS_SERVER_SERVICE defines a Kerberos service to override the default host. HTCondor prefixes this to /<hostname>@<realm> to obtain the default Kerberos principal. Configuration variable KERBEROS_SERVER_PRINCIPAL overrides KERBEROS_SERVER_SERVICE.

For example, the configuration


results in HTCondor’s use of


as the server principal.

Here is an example of configuration settings that use Kerberos for authentication and require authentication of all communications of the write or administrator access level.


Kerberos authentication on Unix platforms requires access to various files that usually are only accessible by the root user. At this time, the only supported way to use KERBEROS authentication on Unix platforms is to start daemons HTCondor as user root.

Password Authentication

The password method provides mutual authentication through the use of a shared secret. This is often a good choice when strong security is desired, but an existing Kerberos or X.509 infrastructure is not in place. Password authentication is available on both Unix and Windows. It currently can only be used for daemon-to-daemon authentication. The shared secret in this context is referred to as the pool password.

Before a daemon can use password authentication, the pool password must be stored on the daemon’s local machine. On Unix, the password will be placed in a file defined by the configuration variable SEC_PASSWORD_FILE. This file will be accessible only by the UID that HTCondor is started as. On Windows, the same secure password store that is used for user passwords will be used for the pool password (see the Secure Password Storage section).

Under Unix, the password file can be generated by using the following command to write directly to the password file:

$ condor_store_cred -f /path/to/password/file

Under Windows (or under Unix), storing the pool password is done with the -c option when using to condor_store_cred add. Running

$ condor_store_cred -c add

prompts for the pool password and store it on the local machine, making it available for daemons to use in authentication. The condor_master must be running for this command to work.

In addition, storing the pool password to a given machine requires CONFIG-level access. For example, if the pool password should only be set locally, and only by root, the following would be placed in the global configuration file.

ALLOW_CONFIG = root@mydomain/$(IP_ADDRESS)

It is also possible to set the pool password remotely, but this is recommended only if it can be done over an encrypted channel. This is possible on Windows, for example, in an environment where common accounts exist across all the machines in the pool. In this case, ALLOW_CONFIG can be set to allow the HTCondor administrator (who in this example has an account condor common to all machines in the pool) to set the password from the central manager as follows.

ALLOW_CONFIG = condor@mydomain/$(CONDOR_HOST)

The HTCondor administrator then executes

$ condor_store_cred -c -n host.mydomain add

from the central manager to store the password to a given machine. Since the condor account exists on both the central manager and host.mydomain, the NTSSPI authentication method can be used to authenticate and encrypt the connection. condor_store_cred will warn and prompt for cancellation, if the channel is not encrypted for whatever reason (typically because common accounts do not exist or HTCondor’s security is misconfigured).

When a daemon is authenticated using a pool password, its security principle is condor_pool@$(UID_DOMAIN), where $(UID_DOMAIN) is taken from the daemon’s configuration. The ALLOW_DAEMON and ALLOW_NEGOTIATOR configuration variables for authorization should restrict access using this name. For example,

ALLOW_DAEMON = condor_pool@mydomain/*, condor@mydomain/$(IP_ADDRESS)
ALLOW_NEGOTIATOR = condor_pool@mydomain/$(CONDOR_HOST)

This configuration allows remote DAEMON-level and NEGOTIATOR-level access, if the pool password is known. Local daemons authenticated as condor@mydomain are also allowed access. This is done so local authentication can be done using another method such as FS.

If there is no pool password available on Linux, the condor_collector will automatically generate one. This is meant to ease the configuration of freshly-installed clusters; for POOL authentication, the HTCondor administrator only needs to copy this file to each host in the cluster.

Example Security Configuration Using Pool Password

The following example configuration uses pool password authentication and network message integrity checking for all communication between HTCondor daemons.

SEC_PASSWORD_FILE = $(LOCK)/pool_password
ALLOW_DAEMON = condor_pool@$(UID_DOMAIN)/*, \

Example Using Pool Password for condor_startd Advertisement

One problem with the pool password method of authentication is that it involves a single, shared secret. This does not scale well with the addition of remote users who flock to the local pool. However, the pool password may still be used for authenticating portions of the local pool, while others (such as the remote condor_schedd daemons involved in flocking) are authenticated by other means.

In this example, only the condor_startd daemons in the local pool are required to have the pool password when they advertise themselves to the condor_collector daemon.

SEC_PASSWORD_FILE = $(LOCK)/pool_password

Token Authentication

Password authentication requires both parties (client and server) in an authenticated session to have access to the same password file. Further, both client and server authenticate the remote side as the user condor_pool which, by default, has a high level of privilege to the entire pool. Hence, it is only reasonable for daemon-to-daemon authentication. Further, as only one password is allowed, it is impossible to use PASSWORD authentication to flock to a remote pool.

Token-based authentication is a newer extension to PASSWORD authentication that allows the pool administrator to generate new, low-privilege tokens using one of several pool signing keys. It also allows a daemon or tool to authenticate to a remote pool without having that pool’s password. As tokens are derived from a specific signing key, if an administrator removes a signing key from the directory specified in SEC_PASSWORD_DIRECTORY, then all derived tokens are immediately invalid. Most simple installs will utilize a single signing key, named POOL.

While most token signing keys are placed in the directory specified by SEC_PASSWORD_DIRECTORY, with the filename within the directory determining the key’s name, the POOL token signing key can be located elsewhere by setting SEC_TOKEN_POOL_SIGNING_KEY_FILE to the full pathname of the desired file. On Linux the same file can be both the pool signing key and the pool password if SEC_PASSWORD_FILE and SEC_TOKEN_POOL_SIGNING_KEY_FILE refer to the same file. However this is not preferred because in order to properly interoperate with older versions of HTCondor the pool password will be read as a text file and truncated at the first NUL character. This differs from the pool signing key which is read as binary in HTCondor 9.0. Some 8.9 releases used the pool password as the pool signing key for tokens, those versions will not interoperate with 9.0 if the pool signing key file contains NUL characters.

The condor_collector process will automatically generate the pool signing key named POOL on startup if that file does not exist.

To generate a token, the administrator may utilize the condor_token_create command-line utility:

$ condor_token_create -identity

The resulting token may be given to Frida and appended to a file in the directory specified by SEC_TOKEN_DIRECTORY (defaults to ~/.condor/tokens.d). Subsequent authentications to the pool will utilize this token and cause Frida to be authenticated as the identity For daemons, tokens are stored in SEC_TOKEN_SYSTEM_DIRECTORY; on Unix platforms, this defaults to /etc/condor/tokens.d which should be a directory with permissions that only allow read and write access by user root.

Note that each pool signing key is named (the pool signing key defaults to the special name POOL) by its corresponding filename in SEC_PASSWORD_DIRECTORY; HTCondor will assume that, for all daemons in the same trust domain (defaulting to the HTCondor pool) will have the same signing key for the same name. That is, the signing key contained in key1 in host is identical to the signing key contained in key1 in host

Unlike pool passwords, tokens can have a limited lifetime and can limit the authorizations allowed to the client. For example,

$ condor_token_create -identity \
      -lifetime 3600 \

will create a new token that maps to user However, this token is only valid for the ADVERTISE_STARTD authorization, regardless of what the server has configured for the condor user (the intersection of the identity’s configured authorization and the token’s authorizations, if specified, are used). Further, the token will only be valid for 3600 seconds (one hour).

In many cases, it is difficult or awkward for the administrator to securely provide the new token to the user; an email or text message from administrator to user is typically insufficiently secure to send the token (especially as old emails are often archived for many years). In such a case, the user may instead anonymously request a token from the administrator. The user will receive a request ID, which the administrator will need in order to approve the request. The ID (typically, a 7 digit number) is easier to communicate over the phone (compared to the token, which is hundreds of characters long). Importantly, neither user nor administrator is responsible for securely moving the token - e.g., there is no chance it will be leaked into an email archive.

If a condor_master, condor_startd, or condor_schedd daemon cannot authenticate with the collector, it will automatically perform a token request from the collector.

To use the token request workflow, the user needs a confidential channel to the server or an appropriate auto-approval rule needs to be in place. The simplest way to establish a confidential channel is using SSL Authentication without a client certificate; configure the collector using a host certificate.

Using the SSL authentication, the client can request a new authentication token:

$ condor_token_request
Token request enqueued.  Ask an administrator to please approve request 9235785.

This will enqueue a request for a token corresponding to the superuser condor; the HTCondor pool administrator will subsequently need to approve request 9235785 using the condor_token_request_approve tool.

If the host trusts requests coming from a specific network (i.e., the same administrator manages the network and no unprivileged users are currently on the network), then the auto-approval mechanism may be used. When in place, auto-approval allows any token authentication request on an approved network to be automatically approved by HTCondor on behalf of the pool administrator - even when requests do not come over confidential connections.

When a daemon issues a token for a client (e.g. for condor_token_fetch or condor_token_request), the signing key it uses must appear in the list SEC_TOKEN_FETCH_ALLOWED_SIGNING_KEYS. If the client doesn’t request a specific signing key to use, then the key given by SEC_TOKEN_ISSUER_KEY is used. The default for both of these configuration parameters is POOL.

If there are multiple tokens in files in the SEC_TOKEN_SYSTEM_DIRECTORY, then the daemon will search for tokens in that directory based on lexicographical order; the exception is that the file $(SUBSYS)_auto_generated_token will be searched first for daemons of type $(SUBSYS). For example, if SEC_TOKEN_SYSTEM_DIRECTORY is set to /etc/condor/tokens.d, then the condor_schedd will search at /etc/condor/tokens.d/SCHEDD_auto_generated_token by default.

Users may create their own tokens with condor_token_fetch. This command-line utility will contact the default condor_schedd and request a new token given the user’s authenticated identity. Unlike condor_token_create, the condor_token_fetch has no control over the mapped identity (but does not need to read the files in SEC_PASSWORD_DIRECTORY).

If no security authentication methods specified by the administrator - and the daemon or user has access to at least one token - then IDTOKENS authentication is automatically added to the list of valid authentication methods. Otherwise, to setup IDTOKENS authentication, enable it in the list of authentication methods:


Revoking Token: If a token is lost, stolen, or accidentally exposed, then the system administrator may use the token revocation mechanism in order to prevent unauthorized use. Revocation can be accomplished by setting the SEC_TOKEN_REVOCATION_EXPR configuration parameter; when set, the value of this parameter will be evaluated as a ClassAd expression against the token’s contents.

For example, consider the following token:


When printed using condor_token_list, the human-readable form is as follows (line breaks added for readability):

$ condor_token_list
Header: {"alg":"HS256","kid":"POOL"}
Payload: {
    "iat": 1588474719,
    "iss": "",
    "jti": "c760c2af193a1fd4e40bc9c53c96ee7c",
    "sub": ""

If we would like to revoke this token, we could utilize any of the following values for SEC_TOKEN_REVOCATION_EXPR, depending on the desired breadth of the revocation:

# Revokes all tokens from the user Alice:

# Revokes all tokens from Alice issued before or after this one:
    iat <= 1588474719

# Revokes *only* this token:
SEC_TOKEN_REVOCATION_EXPR = jti =?= "c760c2af193a1fd4e40bc9c53c96ee7c"

The revocation only works on the daemon where SEC_TOKEN_REVOCATION_EXPR is set; to revoke a token across the entire pool, set SEC_TOKEN_REVOCATION_EXPR on every host.

In order to invalidate all tokens issued by a given master password in SEC_PASSWORD_DIRECTORY, simply remove the file from the directory.

File System Authentication

This form of authentication utilizes the ownership of a file in the identity verification of a client. A daemon authenticating a client requires the client to write a file in a specific location (/tmp). The daemon then checks the ownership of the file. The file’s ownership verifies the identity of the client. In this way, the file system becomes the trusted authority. This authentication method is only appropriate for clients and daemons that are on the same computer.

File System Remote Authentication

Like file system authentication, this form of authentication utilizes the ownership of a file in the identity verification of a client. In this case, a daemon authenticating a client requires the client to write a file in a specific location, but the location is not restricted to /tmp. The location of the file is specified by the configuration variable FS_REMOTE_DIR.

Windows Authentication

This authentication is done only among Windows machines using a proprietary method. The Windows security interface SSPI is used to enforce NTLM (NT LAN Manager). The authentication is based on challenge and response, using the user’s password as a key. This is similar to Kerberos. The main difference is that Kerberos provides an access token that typically grants access to an entire network, whereas NTLM authentication only verifies an identity to one machine at a time. NTSSPI is best-used in a way similar to file system authentication in Unix, and probably should not be used for authentication between two computers.

SciTokens Authentication

A SciToken is a form of JSON Web Token (JWT) that the client can present that the server can verify. Authentication of the server by the client is done via an SSL host certificate (the same as with SSL authentication). More information about SciTokens can be found at

Some other JWT token types can be used with the SciTokens authentication method. WLCG tokens are accepted automatically. Other token types, such as EGI CheckIn tokens, require some relaxation of the SciTokens validation checks. Configuration parameter SEC_SCITOKENS_ALLOW_FOREIGN_TOKEN_TYPES determines whether any tokens will be accepted under these relaxed checks. It’s a boolean value that defaults to True. Configuration parameter SEC_SCITOKENS_FOREIGN_TOKEN_ISSUERS determines which issuers’ tokens will be accepted under these relaxed checks. It’s a list of issuer URLs that defaults to the EGI CheckIn issuer. These parameters should be used with caution, as they disable some security checks.

Ask MUNGE for Authentication

Ask the MUNGE service to validate both sides of the authentication. See: for instructions on installing.

Claim To Be Authentication

Claim To Be authentication accepts any identity claimed by the client. As such, it does not authenticate. It is included in HTCondor and in the list of authentication methods for testing purposes only.

Anonymous Authentication

Anonymous authentication causes authentication to be skipped entirely. As such, it does not authenticate. It is included in HTCondor and in the list of authentication methods for testing purposes only.

The Unified Map File for Authentication

HTCondor’s unified map file allows the mappings from authenticated names to an HTCondor canonical user name to be specified as a single list within a single file. The location of the unified map file is defined by the configuration variable CERTIFICATE_MAPFILE; it specifies the path and file name of the unified map file. Each mapping is on its own line of the unified map file. Each line contains either an @include directive, or 3 fields, separated by white space (space or tab characters):

  1. The name of the authentication method to which the mapping applies.

  2. A name or a regular expression representing the authenticated name to be mapped.

  3. The canonical HTCondor user name.

Allowable authentication method names are the same as used to define any of the configuration variables SEC_*_AUTHENTICATION_METHODS, as repeated here:


The fields that represent an authenticated name and the canonical HTCondor user name may utilize regular expressions as defined by PCRE2 (Perl-Compatible Regular Expressions). Due to this, more than one line (mapping) within the unified map file may match. Look ups are therefore defined to use the first mapping that matches.

For HTCondor version 8.5.8 and later, the authenticated name field will be interpreted as a regular expression or as a simple string based on the value of the CERTIFICATE_MAPFILE_ASSUME_HASH_KEYS configuration variable. If this configuration variable is true, then the authenticated name field is a regular expression only when it begins and ends with the / character. If this configuration variable is false, or on HTCondor versions older than 8.5.8, the authenticated name field is always a regular expression.

A regular expression may need to contain spaces, and in this case the entire expression can be surrounded by double quote marks. If a double quote character also needs to appear in such an expression, it is preceded by a backslash.

If the first field is the special value @include, it should be followed by a file or directory path in the second field. If a file is specified, it will be read and parsed as map file. If a directory is specified, then each file in the directory is read as a map file unless the name of the file matches the pattern specified in the LOCAL_CONFIG_DIR_EXCLUDE_REGEXP configuration variable. Files in the directory are read in lexical order. When a map file is read as a result of an @include statement, any @include statements that it contains will be ignored. If the file or directory path specified with an @include statement is a relative path, it will be treated as relative to the file currently being read.

The default behavior of HTCondor when no map file is specified is to do the following mappings, with some additional logic noted below:

FS (.*) \1
FS_REMOTE (.*) \1
SSL (.*) ssl@unmapped
KERBEROS ([^/]*)/?[^@]*@(.*) \1@\2
NTSSPI (.*) \1
MUNGE (.*) \1
PASSWORD (.*) \1

For SciTokens, the authenticated name is the iss and sub claims of the token, separated by a comma.

For Kerberos, if KERBEROS_MAP_FILE is specified, the domain portion of the name is obtained by mapping the Kerberos realm to the value specified in the map file, rather than just using the realm verbatim as the domain portion of the condor user name. See the Authentication section for details.

If authentication did not happen or failed and was not required, then the user is given the name unauthenticated@unmapped.

SciTokens Mapping Plugins

For SciTokens, the iss and sub claims of the token may not be sufficient to map the token to the appropriate canonical HTCondor user name. For these situations, a series of plugins can be employed to perform the mapping based on the full token payload. Each plugin can accept the token and provide a mapped identity or decline the token. If the plugin declines, then additional plugins are consulted. If all plugins decline the token, then the mapped identity scitokens@unmapped is used.

Each plugin is given a name consisting of alphanumeric characters. To use a set of plugins to perform a mapping, the third field of the matching line in the map file (the canonical name) should be the text PLUGIN: followed by a comma-separated list of plugin names. Note that no spaces should be used within the list.

For each plugin, the configuration parameter SEC_SCITOKENS_PLUGIN_<name>_COMMAND gives the executable and optional command line arguments needed to invoke the plugin. The optional configuration parameter SEC_SCITOKENS_PLUGIN_<name>_MAPPING specifies the mapped identity if the plugin accepts the token. If this parameter isn’t set, then the plugin must write the mapped identity to its stdout. If the special value PLUGIN:* is given in the map file, then the configuration parameter SEC_SCITOKENS_PLUGIN_NAMES is consulted to determine the names of the plugins to run.

When a plugin is invoked, the given binary is run. The payload of the token is provided via stdin and a series of environment variables (compatible with those set by ARC CE for its token plugins). If the plugin exits with status 0, then it accepts the token. If the plugin exits with status 1, then it declines the token and other plugins may be consulted. If the plugin exits with any other status, the entire mapping procedure fails and the client is rejected.

Here’s an example where one plugin is used for tokens from a specific issuer, and two other plugins are used for tokens from all other issuers. The first plugin has a fixed mapping given via configuration, while the other plugins will write the mapping to their stdout. The last plugin uses a command-line argument.

First, this would appear in the map file:

# Mapfile snippet:
# Plugin for specific token issuer

# Plugins for all other token issuers

Then, this would appear in the configuration files:

# Configuration file snippet:
# Plugin A for specific issuer with fixed mapping result

# Plugins B,C for all other tokens


Encryption provides privacy support between two communicating parties. Through configuration macros, both the client and the daemon can specify whether encryption is required for further communication.

The client uses one of two macros to enable or disable encryption:



For the daemon, there are many macros to enable or disable encryption:











As an example, the macro defined in the configuration file for a daemon as


signifies that any communication that changes a daemon’s configuration must be encrypted. If a daemon’s configuration contains


and does not contain any other security configuration for ENCRYPTION, then this default defines the daemon’s needs for encryption over all access levels. Where a specific macro is present, its value takes precedence over any default given.

If encryption is to be done, then the communicating parties must find (negotiate) a mutually acceptable method of encryption to be used. A list of acceptable methods may be provided by the client, using the macros SEC_DEFAULT_CRYPTO_METHODS and SEC_CLIENT_CRYPTO_METHODS


A list of acceptable methods may be provided by the daemon, using the macros











The methods are given as a comma-separated list of acceptable values. These variables list the encryption methods that are available to be used. The ordering of the list gives preference; the first item in the list indicates the highest preference. Possible values are


As of version 9.0.2 HTCondor can be configured to be FIPS compliant. This disallows BLOWFISH as an encryption method. Please see the FIPS section below.


An integrity check assures that the messages between communicating parties have not been tampered with. Any change, such as addition, modification, or deletion can be detected. Through configuration macros, both the client and the daemon can specify whether an integrity check is required of further communication.

The client uses one of two macros to enable or disable an integrity check:



For the daemon, there are macros to enable or disable an integrity check:











As an example, the macro defined in the configuration file for a daemon as


signifies that any communication that changes a daemon’s configuration must have its integrity assured. If a daemon’s configuration contains


and does not contain any other security configuration for INTEGRITY, then this default defines the daemon’s needs for integrity checks over all access levels. Where a specific macro is present, its value takes precedence over any default given.

If AES encryption is used for a connection, then a secure checksum is included within the AES data regardless of any INTEGRITY settings.

If another type of encryption was used (i.e. BLOWFISH or 3DES), then a signed MD5 check sum is the only available method for integrity checking. Its use is implied whenever integrity checks occur.

As of version 9.0.2 HTCondor can be configured to be FIPS compliant. This disallows MD5 as an integrity method. We suggest you use AES encryption as the AES-GCM mode we have implemented also provides integrity checks. Please see the FIPS section below.


Authorization protects resource usage by granting or denying access requests made to the resources. It defines who is allowed to do what.

Authorization is defined in terms of users. An initial implementation provided authorization based on hosts (machines), while the current implementation relies on user-based authorization. The Host-Based Security in HTCondor section describes the previous implementation. This IP/Host-Based security still exists, and it can be used, but significantly stronger and more flexible security can be achieved with the newer authorization based on fully qualified user names. This section discusses user-based authorization.

The authorization portion of the security of an HTCondor pool is based on a set of configuration macros. The macros list which user will be authorized to issue what request given a specific access level. When a daemon is to be authorized, its user name is the login under which the daemon is executed.

These configuration macros define a set of users that will be allowed to (or denied from) carrying out various HTCondor commands. Each access level may have its own list of authorized users. A complete list of the authorization macros:













In addition, the following are used to control authorization of specific types of HTCondor daemons when advertising themselves to the pool. If unspecified, these default to the broader ALLOW_DAEMON and DENY_DAEMON settings.







Each client side of a connection may also specify its own list of trusted servers. This is done using the following settings. Note that the FS and CLAIMTOBE authentication methods are not symmetric. The client is authenticated by the server, but the server is not authenticated by the client. When the server is not authenticated to the client, only the network address of the host may be authorized and not the specific identity of the server. ALLOW_CLIENT DENY_CLIENT


The names ALLOW_CLIENT and DENY_CLIENT should be thought of as “when I am acting as a client, these are the servers I allow or deny.” It should not be confused with the incorrect thought “when I am the server, these are the clients I allow or deny.”

All authorization settings are defined by a comma-separated list of fully qualified users. Each fully qualified user is described using the following format:


The information to the left of the slash character describes a user within a domain. The information to the right of the slash character describes one or more machines from which the user would be issuing a command. This host name may take the form of either a fully qualified host name of the form

or an IP address of the form

An example is

Within the format, wild card characters (the asterisk, *) are allowed. The use of wild cards is limited to one wild card on either side of the slash character. A wild card character used in the host name is further limited to come at the beginning of a fully qualified host name or at the end of an IP address. For example,


refers to any user that comes from, where the command is originating from the machine Another valid example,*

refers to commands coming from any machine within the domain, and issued by zmiller. A third valid example,


refers to commands coming from any user within the domain where the command is issued from any machine. A fourth valid example,


refers to commands coming from any user within the domain where the command is issued from machines within the network that match the first two octets of the IP address.

If the set of machines is specified by an IP address, then further specification using a net mask identifies a physical set (subnet) of machines. This physical set of machines is specified using the form


The network is an IP address. The net mask takes one of two forms. It may be a decimal number which refers to the number of leading bits of the IP address that are used in describing a subnet. Or, the net mask may take the form of


where a, b, c, and d are decimal numbers that each specify an 8-bit mask. An example net mask is

which specifies the bit mask


A single complete example of a configuration variable that uses a net mask is


User joesmith within the domain is given write authorization when originating from machines that match their leftmost 17 bits of the IP address.

For Unix platforms where netgroups are implemented, a netgroup may specify a set of fully qualified users by using an extension to the syntax for all configuration variables of the form ALLOW_* and DENY_*. The syntax is the plus sign character (+) followed by the netgroup name. Permissions are applied to all members of the netgroup.

This flexible set of configuration macros could be used to define conflicting authorization. Therefore, the following protocol defines the precedence of the configuration macros.

  1. DENY_* macros take precedence over ALLOW_* macros where there is a conflict. This implies that if a specific user is both denied and granted authorization, the conflict is resolved by denying access.

  2. If macros are omitted, the default behavior is to deny authorization for all users.

In addition, there are some hard-coded authorization rules that cannot be modified by configuration.

  1. Connections with a name matching *@unmapped are not allowed to do any job management commands (e.g. submitting, removing, or modifying jobs). This prevents these operations from being done by unauthenticated users and users who are authenticated but lacking a name in the map file.

  2. To simplify flocking, the condor_schedd automatically grants the condor_startd READ access for the duration of a claim so that claim-related communications are possible. The condor_shadow grants the condor_starter DAEMON access so that file transfers can be done. The identity that is granted access in both these cases is the authenticated name (if available) and IP address of the condor_startd when the condor_schedd initially connects to it to request the claim. It is important that only trusted condor_startd s are allowed to publish themselves to the collector or that the condor_schedd ‘s ALLOW_CLIENT setting prevent it from allowing connections to condor_startd s that it does not trust to run jobs.

  3. When SEC_ENABLE_MATCH_PASSWORD_AUTHENTICATION is true, execute-side@matchsession is automatically granted READ access to the condor_schedd and DAEMON access to the condor_shadow.

  4. When SEC_ENABLE_MATCH_PASSWORD_AUTHENTICATION is true, then negotiator-side@matchsession is automatically granted NEGOTIATOR access to the condor_schedd.

Example of Authorization Security Configuration

An example of the configuration variables for the user-side authorization is derived from the necessary access levels as described in HTCondor’s Security Model.

ALLOW_READ            = **
ALLOW_WRITE           = **
ALLOW_CONFIG          =*
ALLOW_DAEMON          =*

This example configuration authorizes any authenticated user in the domain to carry out a request that requires the READ access level from any machine. Any user in the domain may carry out a request that requires the WRITE access level from any machine in the domain. Only the user called condor-admin may carry out a request that requires the ADMINISTRATOR access level from any machine in the domain. The administrator, logged into any machine within the domain is authorized at the CONFIG access level. Only the negotiator daemon, running as condor on the two central managers are authorized with the NEGOTIATOR access level. And, the last line of the example presumes that there is a user called condor, and that the daemons have all been started up as this user. It authorizes only programs (which will be the daemons) running as condor to carry out requests that require the DAEMON access level, where the commands originate from any machine in the domain.

Debugging Security Configuration

If the authorization policy denies a network request, an explanation of why the request was denied is printed in the log file of the daemon that denied the request. The line in the log file contains the words PERMISSION DENIED.

To get HTCondor to generate a similar explanation of why requests are accepted, add D_SECURITY to the daemon’s debug options (and restart or reconfig the daemon). The line in the log file for these cases will contain the words PERMISSION GRANTED. If you do not want to see a full explanation but just want to see when requests are made, add D_COMMAND to the daemon’s debug options.

If the authorization policy makes use of host or domain names, then be aware that HTCondor depends on DNS to map IP addresses to names. The security and accuracy of your DNS service is therefore a requirement. Typos in DNS mappings are an occasional source of unexpected behavior. If the authorization policy is not behaving as expected, carefully compare the names in the policy with the host names HTCondor mentions in the explanations of why requests are granted or denied.


As of version 9.0.2, HTCondor is now FIPS compliant when configured to be so. In practice this means that MD5 digests and Blowfish encryption are not used anywhere. To make this easy to configure, we have added a configuration macro, and all you need to add to your config is the following:

use security:FIPS

This will configure HTCondor to use AES encryption with AES-GCM message digests for all TCP network connections. If you are using UDP for any reason, HTCondor will then fall back to using 3DES for UDP packet encryption because HTCondor does not currently support AES for UDP. The main reasons anyone would be using UDP would be if you had configured a large pool to be supported by Collector trees using UDP, or if you are using Windows (because HTCondor sends signals to daemons on Windows using UDP).

Currently, the use of the High-Availability Daemon (HAD) is not supported when running on a machine that is FIPS compliant.

Security Sessions

To set up and configure secure communications in HTCondor, authentication, encryption, and integrity checks can be used. However, these come at a cost: performing strong authentication can take a significant amount of time, and generating the cryptographic keys for encryption and integrity checks can take a significant amount of processing power.

The HTCondor system makes many network connections between different daemons. If each one of these was to be authenticated, and new keys were generated for each connection, HTCondor would not be able to scale well. Therefore, HTCondor uses the concept of sessions to cache relevant security information for future use and greatly speed up the establishment of secure communications between the various HTCondor daemons.

A new session is established the first time a connection is made from one daemon to another. Each session has a fixed lifetime after which it will expire and a new session will need to be created again. But while a valid session exists, it can be re-used as many times as needed, thereby preventing the need to continuously re-establish secure connections. Each entity of a connection will have access to a session key that proves the identity of the other entity on the opposing side of the connection. This session key is exchanged securely using a strong authentication method, such as Kerberos. Other authentication methods, such as NTSSPI, FS_REMOTE, CLAIMTOBE, and ANONYMOUS, do not support secure key exchange. An entity listening on the wire may be able to impersonate the client or server in a session that does not use a strong authentication method.

Establishing a secure session requires that either the encryption or the integrity options be enabled. If the encryption capability is enabled, then the session will be restarted using the session key as the encryption key. If integrity capability is enabled, then the check sum includes the session key even though it is not transmitted. Without either of these two methods enabled, it is possible for an attacker to use an open session to make a connection to a daemon and use that connection for nefarious purposes. It is strongly recommended that if you have authentication turned on, you should also turn on integrity and/or encryption.

The configuration parameter SEC_DEFAULT_NEGOTIATION will allow a user to set the default level of secure sessions in HTCondor. Like other security settings, the possible values for this parameter can be REQUIRED, PREFERRED, OPTIONAL, or NEVER. If you disable sessions and you have authentication turned on, then most authentication (other than commands like condor_submit) will fail because HTCondor requires sessions when you have security turned on. On the other hand, if you are not using strong security in HTCondor, but you are relying on the default host-based security, turning off sessions may be useful in certain situations. These might include debugging problems with the security session management or slightly decreasing the memory consumption of the daemons, which keep track of the sessions in use.

Session lifetimes for specific daemons are already properly configured in the default installation of HTCondor. HTCondor tools such as condor_q and condor_status create a session that expires after one minute. Theoretically they should not create a session at all, because the session cannot be reused between program invocations, but this is difficult to do in the general case. This allows a very small window of time for any possible attack, and it helps keep the memory footprint of running daemons down, because they are not keeping track of all of the sessions. The session durations may be manually tuned by using macros in the configuration file, but this is not recommended.

Host-Based Security in HTCondor

This section describes the mechanisms for setting up HTCondor’s host-based security. This is now an outdated form of implementing security levels for machine access. It remains available and documented for purposes of backward compatibility. If used at the same time as the user-based authorization, the two specifications are merged together.

The host-based security paradigm allows control over which machines can join an HTCondor pool, which machines can find out information about your pool, and which machines within a pool can perform administrative commands. By default, HTCondor is configured to allow anyone to view or join a pool. It is recommended that this parameter is changed to only allow access from machines that you trust.

This section discusses how the host-based security works inside HTCondor. It lists the different levels of access and what parts of HTCondor use which levels. There is a description of how to configure a pool to grant or deny certain levels of access to various machines. Configuration examples and the settings of configuration variables using the condor_config_val command complete this section.

Inside the HTCondor daemons or tools that use DaemonCore (see the DaemonCore section), most tasks are accomplished by sending commands to another HTCondor daemon. These commands are represented by an integer value to specify which command is being requested, followed by any optional information that the protocol requires at that point (such as a ClassAd, capability string, etc). When the daemons start up, they will register which commands they are willing to accept, what to do with arriving commands, and the access level required for each command. When a command request is received by a daemon, HTCondor identifies the access level required and checks the IP address of the sender to verify that it satisfies the allow/deny settings from the configuration file. If permission is granted, the command request is honored; otherwise, the request will be aborted.

Settings for the access levels in the global configuration file will affect all the machines in the pool. Settings in a local configuration file will only affect the specific machine. The settings for a given machine determine what other hosts can send commands to that machine. If a machine foo is to be given administrator access on machine bar, place foo in bar’s configuration file access list (not the other way around).

The following are the various access levels that commands within HTCondor can be registered with:


Machines with READ access can read information from the HTCondor daemons. For example, they can view the status of the pool, see the job queue(s), and view user permissions. READ access does not allow a machine to alter any information, and does not allow job submission. A machine listed with READ permission will be unable join an HTCondor pool; the machine can only view information about the pool.


Machines with WRITE access can write information to the HTCondor daemons. Most important for granting a machine with this access is that the machine will be able to join a pool since they are allowed to send ClassAd updates to the central manager. The machine can talk to the other machines in a pool in order to submit or run jobs.


For a machine to join an HTCondor pool, the machine must have both WRITE permission AND READ permission. WRITE permission is not enough.


Machines with ADMINISTRATOR access are granted additional HTCondor administrator rights to the pool. This includes the ability to change user priorities with the command condor_userprio, and the ability to turn HTCondor on and off using condor_on and condor_off. It is recommended that few machines be granted administrator access in a pool; typically these are the machines that are used by HTCondor and system administrators as their primary workstations, or the machines running as the pool’s central manager.


Giving ADMINISTRATOR privileges to a machine grants administrator access for the pool to ANY USER on that machine. This includes any users who can run HTCondor jobs on that machine. It is recommended that ADMINISTRATOR access is granted with due diligence.


This access level is used specifically to verify that commands are sent by the condor_negotiator daemon. The condor_negotiator daemon runs on the central manager of the pool. Commands requiring this access level are the ones that tell the condor_schedd daemon to begin negotiating, and those that tell an available condor_startd daemon that it has been matched to a condor_schedd with jobs to run.


This access level is required to modify a daemon’s configuration using the condor_config_val command. By default, machines with this level of access are able to change any configuration parameter, except those specified in the condor_config.root configuration file. Therefore, one should exercise extreme caution before granting this level of host-wide access. Because of the implications caused by CONFIG privileges, it is disabled by default for all hosts.


This access level is used for commands that are internal to the operation of HTCondor. An example of this internal operation is when the condor_startd daemon sends its ClassAd updates to the condor_collector daemon (which may be more specifically controlled by the ADVERTISE_STARTD access level). Authorization at this access level should only be given to hosts that actually run HTCondor in your pool. The DAEMON level of access implies both READ and WRITE access. Any setting for this access level that is not defined will default to the corresponding setting in the WRITE access level.


This access level is used specifically for commands used to advertise a condor_master daemon to the collector. Any setting for this access level that is not defined will default to the corresponding setting in the DAEMON access level.


This access level is used specifically for commands used to advertise a condor_startd daemon to the collector. Any setting for this access level that is not defined will default to the corresponding setting in the DAEMON access level.


This access level is used specifically for commands used to advertise a condor_schedd daemon to the collector. Any setting for this access level that is not defined will default to the corresponding setting in the DAEMON access level.


This access level is different from all the others. Whereas all of the other access levels refer to the security policy for accepting connections from others, the CLIENT access level applies when an HTCondor daemon or tool is connecting to some other HTCondor daemon. In other words, it specifies the policy of the client that is initiating the operation, rather than the server that is being contacted.

ADMINISTRATOR and NEGOTIATOR access default to the central manager machine. CONFIG access is not granted to any machine as its default. These defaults are sufficient for most pools, and should not be changed without a compelling reason.

Examples of Security Configuration

Here is a sample security configuration:


This example configuration presumes that the condor_collector and condor_negotiator daemons are running on the same machine.

For each access level, an ALLOW or a DENY may be added.

  • If there is an ALLOW, it means “only allow these machines”. No ALLOW means allow anyone.

  • If there is a DENY, it means “deny these machines”. No DENY means deny nobody.

  • If there is both an ALLOW and a DENY, it means allow the machines listed in ALLOW except for the machines listed in DENY.

  • Exclusively for the CONFIG access, no ALLOW means allow no one. Note that this is different than the other ALLOW configurations. It is different to enable more stringent security where older configurations are used, since older configuration files would not have a CONFIG configuration entry.

Multiple machine entries in the configuration files may be separated by either a space or a comma. The machines may be listed by

  • Individual host names, for example:

  • Individual IP address, for example:

  • IP subnets (use a trailing *), for example: 144.105.*, 128.105.67.*

  • Host names with a wild card * character (only one * is allowed per name), for example: *, sol*

To resolve an entry that falls into both allow and deny: individual machines have a higher order of precedence than wild card entries, and host names with a wild card have a higher order of precedence than IP subnets. Otherwise, DENY has a higher order of precedence than ALLOW. This is how most people would intuitively expect it to work.

In addition, the above access levels may be specified on a per-daemon basis, instead of machine-wide for all daemons. Do this with the subsystem string (described in Pre-Defined Macros on Subsystem Names), which is one of: STARTD, SCHEDD, MASTER, NEGOTIATOR, or COLLECTOR. For example, to grant different read access for the condor_schedd:

ALLOW_READ_SCHEDD = <list of machines>

Here are more examples of configuration settings. Notice that ADMINISTRATOR access is only granted through an ALLOW setting to explicitly grant access to a small number of machines. We recommend this.

  • Let any machine join the pool. Only the central manager has administrative access.

  • Only allow machines at NCSA to join or view the pool. The central manager is the only machine with ADMINISTRATOR access.

    ALLOW_READ = *
  • Only allow machines at NCSA and the U of I Math department join the pool, except do not allow lab machines to do so. Also, do not allow the 177.55 subnet (perhaps this is the dial-in subnet). Allow anyone to view pool statistics. The machine named bigcheese administers the pool (not the central manager).

    ALLOW_WRITE = *, *
    DENY_WRITE = lab-*.edu, *, 177.55.*
  • Only allow machines at NCSA and UW-Madison’s CS department to view the pool. Only NCSA machines and the machine can join the pool. Note: the machine has the read access it needs through the wild card setting in ALLOW_READ. This example also shows how to use the continuation character, \, to continue a long list of machines onto multiple lines, making it more readable. This works for all configuration file entries, not just host access entries.

    ALLOW_READ = *, *
    ALLOW_WRITE = *,
  • Allow anyone except the military to view the status of the pool, but only let machines at NCSA view the job queues. Only NCSA machines can join the pool. The central manager, bigcheese, and biggercheese can perform most administrative functions. However, only biggercheese can update user priorities.

    DENY_READ = *.mil

Changing the Security Configuration

A new security feature introduced in HTCondor version 6.3.2 enables more fine-grained control over the configuration settings that can be modified remotely with the condor_config_val command. The manual page for condor_config_val details how to use condor_config_val to modify configuration settings remotely. Since certain configuration attributes can have a large impact on the functioning of the HTCondor system and the security of the machines in an HTCondor pool, it is important to restrict the ability to change attributes remotely.

For each security access level described, the HTCondor administrator can define which configuration settings a host at that access level is allowed to change. Optionally, the administrator can define separate lists of settable attributes for each HTCondor daemon, or the administrator can define one list that is used by all daemons.

For each command that requests a change in configuration setting, HTCondor searches all the different possible security access levels to see which, if any, the request satisfies. (Some hosts can qualify for multiple access levels. For example, any host with ADMINISTRATOR permission probably has WRITE permission also). Within the qualified access level, HTCondor searches for the list of attributes that may be modified. If the request is covered by the list, the request will be granted. If not covered, the request will be refused.

The default configuration shipped with HTCondor is exceedingly restrictive. HTCondor users or administrators cannot set configuration values from remote hosts with condor_config_val. Enabling this feature requires a change to the settings in the configuration file. Use this security feature carefully. Grant access only for attributes which you need to be able to modify in this manner, and grant access only at the most restrictive security level possible.

The most secure use of this feature allows HTCondor users to set attributes in the configuration file which are not used by HTCondor directly. These are custom attributes published by various HTCondor daemons with the <SUBSYS>_ATTRS setting described in DaemonCore Configuration File Entries. It is secure to grant access only to modify attributes that are used by HTCondor to publish information. Granting access to modify settings used to control the behavior of HTCondor is not secure. The goal is to ensure no one can use the power to change configuration attributes to compromise the security of your HTCondor pool.

The control lists are defined by configuration settings that contain SETTABLE_ATTRS in their name. The name of the control lists have the following form:


The two parts of this name that can vary are the <PERMISSION-LEVEL> and the <SUBSYS>. The <PERMISSION-LEVEL> can be any of the security access levels described earlier in this section. Examples include WRITE and CONFIG.

The <SUBSYS> is an optional portion of the name. It can be used to define separate rules for which configuration attributes can be set for each kind of HTCondor daemon (for example, STARTD, SCHEDD, and MASTER). There are many configuration settings that can be defined differently for each daemon that use this <SUBSYS> naming convention. See Pre-Defined Macros for a list. If there is no daemon-specific value for a given daemon, HTCondor will look for SETTABLE_ATTRS_<PERMISSION-LEVEL>.

Each control list is defined by a comma-separated list of attribute names which should be allowed to be modified. The lists can contain wild cards characters (*).

Some examples of valid definitions of control lists with explanations:


    Grant unlimited access to modify configuration attributes to any request that came from a machine in the CONFIG access level. This was the default behavior before HTCondor version 6.3.2.


    Grant access to change any configuration setting that ended with _DEBUG (for example, STARTD_DEBUG) and any attribute that matched MAX_*_LOG (for example, MAX_SCHEDD_LOG) to any host with ADMINISTRATOR access.

User Accounts in HTCondor on Unix Platforms

On a Unix system, UIDs (User IDentification numbers) form part of an operating system’s tools for maintaining access control. Each executing program has a UID, a unique identifier of a user executing the program. This is also called the real UID. A common situation has one user executing the program owned by another user. Many system commands work this way, with a user (corresponding to a person) executing a program belonging to (owned by) root. Since the program may require privileges that root has which the user does not have, a special bit in the program’s protection specification (a setuid bit) allows the program to run with the UID of the program’s owner, instead of the user that executes the program. This UID of the program’s owner is called an effective UID.

HTCondor works most smoothly when its daemons run as root. The daemons then have the ability to switch their effective UIDs at will. When the daemons run as root, they normally leave their effective UID and GID (Group IDentification) to be those of user and group condor. This allows access to the log files without changing the ownership of the log files. It also allows access to these files when the user condor’s home directory resides on an NFS server. root can not normally access NFS files.

If there is no condor user and group on the system, an administrator can specify which UID and GID the HTCondor daemons should use when they do not need root privileges in two ways: either with the CONDOR_IDS environment variable or the CONDOR_IDS configuration variable. In either case, the value should be the UID integer, followed by a period, followed by the GID integer. For example, if an HTCondor administrator does not want to create a condor user, and instead wants their HTCondor daemons to run as the daemon user (a common non-root user for system daemons to execute as), the daemon user’s UID was 2, and group daemon had a GID of 2, the corresponding setting in the HTCondor configuration file would be CONDOR_IDS = 2.2.

On a machine where a job is submitted, the condor_schedd daemon changes its effective UID to root such that it has the capability to start up a condor_shadow daemon for the job. Before a condor_shadow daemon is created, the condor_schedd daemon switches back to root, so that it can start up the condor_shadow daemon with the (real) UID of the user who submitted the job. Since the condor_shadow runs as the owner of the job, all remote system calls are performed under the owner’s UID and GID. This ensures that as the job executes, it can access only files that its owner could access if the job were running locally, without HTCondor.

On the machine where the job executes, the job runs either as the submitting user or as user nobody, to help ensure that the job cannot access local resources or do harm. If the UID_DOMAIN matches, and the user exists as the same UID in password files on both the submitting machine and on the execute machine, the job will run as the submitting user. If the user does not exist in the execute machine’s password file and SOFT_UID_DOMAIN is True, then the job will run under the submitting user’s UID anyway (as defined in the submitting machine’s password file). If SOFT_UID_DOMAIN is False, and UID_DOMAIN matches, and the user is not in the execute machine’s password file, then the job execution attempt will be aborted.

Jobs that run as nobody are low privilege, but can still interfere with each other. To avoid this, you can configure NOBODY_SLOT_USER to the value $(STARTER_SLOT_NAME) or configure SLOT<N>_USER for each slot to define a different username to use for each slot instead of the user nobody. If NOBODY_SLOT_USER is configured to be $(STARTER_SLOT_NAME) usernames such as slot1, slot2 and slot1_2 will be used instead of nobody and each slot will use a different name than every other slot.

Running HTCondor as Non-Root

While we strongly recommend starting up the HTCondor daemons as root, we understand that it is not always possible to do so. The main problems of not running HTCondor daemons as root appear when one HTCondor installation is shared by many users on a single machine, or if machines are set up to only execute HTCondor jobs. With a submit-only installation for a single user, there is no need for or benefit from running as root.

The effects of HTCondor of running both with and without root access are classified for each daemon:


An HTCondor machine set up to execute jobs where the condor_startd is not started as root relies on the good will of the HTCondor users to agree to the policy configured for the condor_startd to enforce for starting, suspending, vacating, and killing HTCondor jobs. When the condor_startd is started as root, however, these policies may be enforced regardless of malicious users. By running as root, the HTCondor daemons run with a different UID than the HTCondor job. The user’s job is started as either the UID of the user who submitted it, or as user nobody, depending on the UID_DOMAIN settings. Therefore, the HTCondor job cannot do anything to the HTCondor daemons. Without starting the daemons as root, all processes started by HTCondor, including the user’s job, run with the same UID. Only root can switch UIDs. Therefore, a user’s job could kill the condor_startd and condor_starter. By doing so, the user’s job avoids getting suspended or vacated. This is nice for the job, as it obtains unlimited access to the machine, but it is awful for the machine owner or administrator. If there is trust of the users submitting jobs to HTCondor, this might not be a concern. However, to ensure that the policy chosen is enforced by HTCondor, the condor_startd should be started as root.

In addition, some system information cannot be obtained without root access on some platforms. As a result, when running without root access, the condor_startd must call other programs such as uptime, to get this information. This is much less efficient than getting the information directly from the kernel, as is done when running as root. On Linux, this information is available without root access, so it is not a concern on those platforms.

If all of HTCondor cannot be run as root, at least consider installing the condor_startd as setuid root. That would solve both problems. Barring that, install it as a setgid sys or kmem program, depending on whatever group has read access to /dev/kmem on the system. That would solve the system information problem.


The biggest problem with running the condor_schedd without root access is that the condor_shadow processes which it spawns are stuck with the same UID that the condor_schedd has. This requires users to go out of their way to grant write access to user or group that the condor_schedd is run as for any files or directories their jobs write or create. Similarly, read access must be granted to their input files.

Consider installing condor_submit as a setgid condor program so that at least the stdout, stderr and job event log files get created with the right permissions. If condor_submit is a setgid program, it will automatically set its umask to 002 and create group-writable files. This way, the simple case of a job that only writes to stdout and stderr will work. If users have programs that open their own files, they will need to know and set the proper permissions on the directories they submit from.


The condor_master spawns both the condor_startd and the condor_schedd. To have both running as root, have the condor_master run as root. This happens automatically if the condor_master is started from boot scripts.

condor_negotiator and condor_collector

There is no need to have either of these daemons running as root.


On platforms that need the condor_kbdd, the condor_kbdd must run as root. If it is started as any other user, it will not work. Consider installing this program as a setuid root binary if the condor_master will not be run as root. Without the condor_kbdd, the condor_startd has no way to monitor USB mouse or keyboard activity, although it will notice keyboard activity on ttys such as xterms and remote logins.

If HTCondor is not run as root, then choose almost any user name. A common choice is to set up and use the condor user; this simplifies the setup, because HTCondor will look for its configuration files in the condor user’s directory. If condor is not selected, then the configuration must be placed properly such that HTCondor can find its configuration files.

If users will be submitting jobs as a user different than the user HTCondor is running as (perhaps you are running as the condor user and users are submitting as themselves), then users have to be careful to only have file permissions properly set up to be accessible by the user HTCondor is using. In practice, this means creating world-writable directories for output from HTCondor jobs. This creates a potential security risk, in that any user on the machine where the job is submitted can alter the data, remove it, or do other undesirable things. It is only acceptable in an environment where users can trust other users.

Normally, users without root access who wish to use HTCondor on their machines create a condor home directory somewhere within their own accounts and start up the daemons (to run with the UID of the user). As in the case where the daemons run as user condor, there is no ability to switch UIDs or GIDs. The daemons run as the UID and GID of the user who started them. On a machine where jobs are submitted, the condor_shadow daemons all run as this same user. But, if other users are using HTCondor on the machine in this environment, the condor_shadow daemons for these other users’ jobs execute with the UID of the user who started the daemons. This is a security risk, since the HTCondor job of the other user has access to all the files and directories of the user who started the daemons. Some installations have this level of trust, but others do not. Where this level of trust does not exist, it is best to set up a condor account and group, or to have each user start up their own Personal HTCondor submit installation.

When a machine is an execution site for an HTCondor job, the HTCondor job executes with the UID of the user who started the condor_startd daemon. This is also potentially a security risk, which is why we do not recommend starting up the execution site daemons as a regular user. Use either root or a user such as condor that exists only to run HTCondor jobs.

Who Jobs Run As

Under Unix, HTCondor runs jobs as one of

  • the user called nobody

    Running jobs as the nobody user is the least preferable. HTCondor uses user nobody if the value of the UID_DOMAIN configuration variable of the submitting and executing machines are different, or if configuration variable STARTER_ALLOW_RUNAS_OWNER is False, or if the job ClassAd contains RunAsOwner=False.

    When HTCondor cleans up after executing a vanilla universe job, it does the best that it can by deleting all of the processes started by the job. During the life of the job, it also does its best to track the CPU usage of all processes created by the job. There are a variety of mechanisms used by HTCondor to detect all such processes, but, in general, the only foolproof mechanism is for the job to run under a dedicated execution account (as it does under Windows by default). With all other mechanisms, it is possible to fool HTCondor, and leave processes behind after HTCondor has cleaned up. In the case of a shared account, such as the Unix user nobody, it is possible for the job to leave a lurker process lying in wait for the next job run as nobody. The lurker process may prey maliciously on the next nobody user job, wreaking havoc.

    HTCondor could prevent this problem by simply killing all processes run by the nobody user, but this would annoy many system administrators. The nobody user is often used for non-HTCondor system processes. It may also be used by other HTCondor jobs running on the same machine, if it is a multi-processor machine.

  • dedicated accounts called slot users set up for the purpose of running HTCondor jobs

    Better than the nobody user will be to create user accounts for HTCondor to use. These can be low-privilege accounts, just as the nobody user is. Create one of these accounts for each job execution slot per computer, so that distinct user names can be used for concurrently running jobs. This prevents malicious or naive behavior from one slot to affect another slot. For a sample machine with two compute slots, create two users that are intended only to be used by HTCondor. As an example, call them cndrusr1 and cndrusr2. Configuration identifies these users with the SLOT<N>_USER configuration variable, where <N> is replaced with the slot number. Here is configuration for this example:

    SLOT1_USER = cndrusr1
    SLOT2_USER = cndrusr2

    Also tell HTCondor that these accounts are intended only to be used by HTCondor, so HTCondor can kill all the processes belonging to these users upon job completion. The configuration variable DEDICATED_EXECUTE_ACCOUNT_REGEXP is introduced and set to a regular expression that matches the account names just created:


    Finally, tell HTCondor not to run jobs as the job owner:

  • the user that submitted the jobs

    Four conditions must be set correctly to run jobs as the user that submitted the job.

    1. In the configuration, the value of variable STARTER_ALLOW_RUNAS_OWNER must be True on the machine that will run the job. Its default value is True on Unix platforms and False on Windows platforms.

    2. If the job’s ClassAd has the attribute RunAsOwner, it must be set to True; if unset, the job must be run on a Unix system. This attribute can be set up for all users by adding an attribute to configuration variable SUBMIT_ATTRS. If this were the only attribute to be added to all job ClassAds, it would be set up with

      SUBMIT_ATTRS = RunAsOwner
      RunAsOwner = True
    3. The value of configuration variable UID_DOMAIN must be the same for both the condor_startd and condor_schedd daemons.

    4. The UID_DOMAIN must be trusted. For example, if the condor_starter daemon does a reverse DNS lookup on the condor_schedd daemon, and finds that the result is not the same as defined for configuration variable UID_DOMAIN, then it is not trusted. To correct this, set in the configuration for the condor_starter



  1. Under Windows, HTCondor by default runs jobs under a dynamically created local account that exists for the duration of the job, but it can optionally run the job as the user account that owns the job if STARTER_ALLOW_RUNAS_OWNER is True and the job contains RunAsOwner=True.

    SLOT<N>_USER will only work if the credential of the specified user is stored on the execute machine using condor_store_cred. for details of this command. However, the default behavior in Windows is to run jobs under a dynamically created dedicated execution account, so just using the default behavior is sufficient to avoid problems with lurker processes. See Executing Jobs as the Submitting User, and the condor_store_cred manual page for details.

  2. The condor_starter logs a line similar to

    Tracking process family by login "cndrusr1"

    when it treats the account as a dedicated account.

Working Directories for Jobs

Every executing process has a notion of its current working directory. This is the directory that acts as the base for all file system access. There are two current working directories for any HTCondor job: one where the job is submitted and a second where the job executes. When a user submits a job, the submit-side current working directory is the same as for the user when the condor_submit command is issued. The initialdir submit command may change this, thereby allowing different jobs to have different working directories. This is useful when submitting large numbers of jobs. This submit-side current working directory remains unchanged for the entire life of a job. The submit-side current working directory is also the working directory of the condor_shadow daemon.

There is also an execute-side current working directory.