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cc: @jonoberheide

My Duo hardware token (the code generator with the button and the LCD) tends to "desynchronize" after long periods where you don't use it. The internal clock gets off, so it drifts in what token it returns vs what the server thinks it should be returning, and then it stops working.

Normally, if you log in on a regular basis the server corrects for this drift. There is probably a sliding window of N valid keys (say 10) and using one of them tells the server what the internal clock state is. But if you don't use it for a long time (more than 30 days in my experience), the clock drifts, you start going outside the window and it refuses to let you log in.

If your IT desk is open, they can "resync" it by typing in a couple numbers in a row, which lets the server scan the key sequence and find where your token is.

Use-case: We don't have Duo tokens rolled out system-wide, they are only issued for admin tasks and we have separate admin accounts for these with the Duo attached. I'm an "occasional sysadmin" who administrates several stable servers that mostly don't need to be touched.

As I don't need to use it day-to-day, my key desynchronizes quite often for me, I have had it happen at least 3 times. It would be bad if I had an after-hours emergency with my Duo token, I do not trust it. The hardware tokens are not reliable, in my book.

edit: The fix for me would be for the token to automatically resynchronize on the fly. Just like the IT guys can do, but over-the-wire. If the server sees (f.ex) three sequential login attempts with valid-but-stale keys, with the proper order and timing pattern, then it accepts them and resynchronizes the key window.

To prevent replay attacks, you would also need to add a constraint that the keys be newer than one ones last used for a sucessful login, but it should be doable. You would also want to avoid causing an account lockout as you type in the invalid keys.




Hi Paul! I believe your token should automatically resync if you enter three consecutive correct passcodes that are outside (but forward of) the current valid window.




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