Using the Message Authenticator Attribute

Applies To: Windows Server 2008

Message Authenticator attribute

When you configure a RADIUS client in Network Policy Server (NPS), you configure the IP address of the client. If an incoming RADIUS Access-Request message does not originate from at least one of the IP addresses of configured clients, NPS discards the message, providing protection for the NPS server. However, source IP addresses can be spoofed.


Client computers, such as wireless portable computers and other computers running client operating systems, are not RADIUS clients. RADIUS clients are network access servers—such as wireless access points, 802.1X-capable switches, virtual private network (VPN) servers, and dial-up servers—because they use the RADIUS protocol to communicate with RADIUS servers such as Network Policy Server (NPS) servers.

To provide protection from spoofed Access-Request messages and RADIUS message tampering, each RADIUS message can be additionally protected with the RADIUS Message Authenticator attribute, which is described in RFC 2869, "RADIUS Extensions."

Enabling the use of the Message Authenticator attribute provides additional security when PAP, CHAP, MS-CHAP, and MS-CHAP v2 are used for authentication. EAP uses the Message Authenticator attribute by default. Therefore, when you use EAP as an authentication method, you do not have to enable the use of the Message Authenticator attribute.

See Also


RADIUS Clients