Conduct secure, authenticated network transactions.


The open source Generic Security Service Application Programming Interface (GSS-API) defines a standardized interface through which the operating system vends secure data transport operations. The GSS framework provides an implementation of the interface and the underlying libraries.

Using GSS-API, you can:

  • Create a security context in which data can be passed between applications. A context represents a “state of trust” between two applications. Applications that share a context recognize each other and permit data transfers as long as the context lasts.

  • Apply one or more types of protection, known as security services, to the data to be transmitted. For more on security services, see Security.

  • Perform data conversion, error-checking, delegation of user privileges, information display, and identity comparison.

See RFC 2743 for the definitive description of the GSS-API 2, and RFC 2744 for a description of the related C bindings.


Memory and Context

Allocating and Releasing Objects

Manage memory and object lifetimes.

Function Status

Evaluate return values that most GSS-API functions use to indicate the outcome of an operation.

Buffer Management

Allocate and deallocate buffers with structures that hold a variety of data.

Context Services

Use context services to manage secure operations between endpoints.


Credential Management

Securely establish connections between endpoints.

Security Mechanisms

Provide a security mechanism for your implementation.

Names and Object Identifiers

Name Handling

Manage names for GSS-API principals such as a person, a machine, or an application.

Object Identifiers

Store security mechanisms, QOPs (Quality of Protection values), and name types.


Token Management

Establish secure communication with tokens.

Message Protection

Provide cryptographic protection to secure message integrity.

Kerberos Implementation

Establish secure connections using the Kerberos implementation of GSS-API.