Cannot connect to EAP (ieee8021x) without a .config file

Felipe Ferreri Tonello eu at
Mon Nov 26 17:35:09 PST 2012

Hello Marcel

Thank you for your answer.

On 11/23/2012 12:26 AM, Marcel Holtmann wrote:
> Hi Filipe,
>>>> But in this case, since there is no need of certificate, shouldn't
>>>> connman be able to try to connect without it? I'm just saying it
>>>> because
>>>> when I try to connect to this network with an iPhone it connects
>>>> without
>>>> any certificate (it just ask if you want to accept a certificate) and
>>>> with an Android it just connect without even asking to accept a
>>>> certificate.
>>> It is true that Android (and iPhone) asks you these questions when you
>>> click on an 802.1x EAP network. Unfortunately they have to ask the use
>>> up front before proceeding with the connection attempt, since the WiFi
>>> network information from the Access Point does not contain any
>>> information about the used EAP protocol. Thus they are as lost as
>>> ConnMan what the EAP method of connecting to the network actually is.
>>> Asking the user happens before anything starts connecting.
>> Android does that but not iPhone. iPhone just asks for the user/password,
>> tries to connect and shows a certificate that the user needs to accept. Do
>> you guess what they do?
>> The main problem is that, as we know, users doesn't care about this
>> certificates, eap protocols and so on. And if on iOS they are not asked
>> those informations, they expect the same in other devices.
>> Btw, what is this certificate for and why with connman and Android the user
>> don't need to accept it?
> that last I have been told is that iOS on purpose does not check these
> certificates against the global trusted certificates. Simple because non
> of them are authorized for WiFi usage anyway.

So does connman always accept it? How is it handled?

> The only get trusted if you provide your own CA via device management.
> Also iOS is kinda stupid. They always show the username/password
> question for the 802.1x networks. Even if that would not work. There are
> networks that completely authorize by just using certificates.
>>>> Since there is no certificate the user expects to connect directly.
>>>> IMO
>>>> it's ugly to some Agent (or external program) to write a .config file
>>>> just so connman can recognize the service.
>>> Whether any certificates exist or not needs a user decision as much as
>>> the EAP method itself. Thus any UI trying to connect to an 802.1x EAP
>>> network must prompt the user, give the information to ConnMan and then
>>> connect. The current implementation in ConnMan is such that an EAP
>>> network needs to be described as a .config file. Maybe it's less
>>> implementation friendly to write a file with the needed information, but
>>> it shouldn't be a too big obstacle since the UI has already received all
>>> the needed (known) information from the user.
>> Some times the Agent will not have rights to write in /var/lib/connman or
>> whatever where connman is reading those files.
> The agent should never have access to /var/lib/connman ever. If you do
> that, then your security model is broken.

Well, you need to write there somehow. I said an Agent just for the sake 
of the argument, but it's a external tool anyway.

What about writing there user/password credentials? Is there anyway to 
secure the password in the .config file?

>> But I agree that knowing this information is not a problem to write a
>> .config file.
>> Another point is the fact that the Agent doesn't know when it should ask
>> those informations to the user. Perhaps by checking the service's security
>> property is ieee8021x?
>> I remember that there was a discussion here and Marcel Holtmann said that
>> Agents shouldn't ask this kind of information to the user, that's why there
>> is no API for that. But as we are discussing now we still need to ask that
>> in case of EAP. So there is clearly an inconsistency here.
> I am totally fine if we ask username and password for 802.1x from the
> user, but nothing more. To do that, we need to first know if username
> and password would actually work in that case.

Is there anyway to know that? As you said, there are networks that works 
fine with the certificate only.



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