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Failed Authentication Message Inquiry

We have cisco router and after checking the log I saw this message:

pam_aaa:authentication failed from <ipaddress> -sshd[2909] 

pam_aaa:authentication failed from <ipaddress> -sshd[2913]

pam_aaa:authentication failed from <ipaddress> -sshd[3158]

I wanted to validate that number inside the [] brackets are the source port number? Any reference or direction to a Cisco documentation of the message is much appreciated. 


Reza Sharifi
Hall of Fame Expert

This document references to Nexus but you may be able to use it for your router to troubleshoot the issue.

The local user database does not contain the user account that the user is using to login with.


Perform the following steps to check the authentication fallback method.

  • As a best practice, include the aaa authentication login error-enable command in the configuration. When it is included in the configuration, the login session sees whether the fallback method is operating correctly. If messages, such as “Remote AAA servers unreachable; local authentication done" or “Remote AAA servers unreachable; local authentication failed", are received, then the fallback method is operating correctly.
  • If the remote AAA servers are not accessible, check to see if the local user database has the user credential for local authentication. Use the show user-account command to display the credential.
  • link
  • HTH

Hi Reza, I'm really more interested on the the numeric characters inside the [] bracket. I looked in this doc

It was not clear enough to say that the numerical character in the bracket [] are the port number.

pam_aaa:authentication failed from <ipaddress> -sshd[2909] 

I'm not looking for the reason for the error message; but more to the substance of the number inside the bracket []. Is it the source port # of the device who failed to login or something else that Cisco have defined?  

BTW, the device is a Cisco MDS 9396S and I'm checking the link you've provided as well and see if there's any info that fit to what I'm looking for. 

Thank you in advance for your response. 

Hi Alex,

You are right.  The document is not clear but you can actually test it for your self.

You can simply open an SSH session to the Cisco device and than use "sh tcp brief all" command to see the source and destination port for the ssh session and match it with what is in the logs.

The output of "sh tcp brief all"  should look like this.  The source port is 56044

TCB       Local Address               Foreign Address             (state)
3D9B0DDC           ESTAB