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Linux Exposed: Kerberos Security

Sep 23, 2003, 10:00 (0 Talkback[s])

[ Thanks to Denon for this link. ]

"Kerberos is a network authentication system that can help solve those two issues. It reduces the number of passwords each user has to memorize to use an entire network to one the Kerberos password. In addition, Kerberos incorporates encryption and message integrity to solve the second issue, ensuring that sensitive authentication data is never sent over the network in the clear. By providing a secure authentication mechanism, Kerberos is an essential part of a total network security plan, providing clear benefits for both end users and administrators. It is important to recognize that implementing Kerberos on your network does not guarantee perfect security. While Kerberos is extremely secure in a theoretical sense, there are many practical security issues to be considered. In addition, it is important to remember that Kerberos provides only an authentication service; it does not prevent compromises caused by buggy server software, administrators granting permissions to unauthorized users, or poorly chosen passwords.

"While most documentation on the subject of Kerberos security simply says to 'secure the KDC,' there is much more to the story of Kerberos security than turning off unnecessary services on your KDC machines (although that is certainly good advice!). In this article, we will begin with a discussion of potential attacks against your Kerberos authentication system, follow up with steps that should be taken to prevent these attacks, and finally examine Kerberos KDC logs. After reading this article, you should understand the security implications that Kerberos presents and how to protect your network from the attack scenarios presented..."

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