auth_destroy - Linux


auth_destroy destroys or terminates an existing authentication mechanism handler. It’s primarily used in public-key authentication (PKI) and Kerberos environments to remove or revoke authentication credentials.


auth_destroy [-f] [-p plugin-name] [-R realm]


  • -f, –force: Forcefully destroy the authentication mechanism, even if it’s currently in use.
  • -p, –plugin-name=<plugin-name>: Specify the name of the authentication mechanism plugin to destroy.
  • -R, –realm=<realm>: Specify the Kerberos realm to destroy the authentication mechanism for (only applicable to Kerberos mechanisms).


  • Basic usage: Destroy the default authentication mechanism:

  • Destroy a specific plugin:

    auth_destroy -p my_plugin
  • Forcefully destroy a plugin, even if in use:

    auth_destroy -f -p my_plugin
  • Destroy a Kerberos authentication mechanism for a specific realm:

    auth_destroy -R my_realm

Common Issues

  • Error: Mechanism is in use: If you attempt to destroy an authentication mechanism that’s currently in use, you’ll encounter this error. Use the -f flag to force its destruction.
  • Error: No such mechanism: Ensure that the plugin you’re trying to destroy exists and is properly configured.


auth_destroy can be integrated with other tools for centralized identity management, such as:

  • PAM (Pluggable Authentication Modules): Manage authentication mechanisms for various services.
  • PolicyKit: Set policies around authentication mechanisms for administrative tasks.

Related Commands

  • auth_list: List available authentication mechanisms.
  • auth_manage: Manage authentication mechanisms (create, modify, enable/disable).
  • kinit: Authenticate to a Kerberos realm.