Chapter: Cryptography and Network Security Principles and Practice : Mutual Trust : User Authentication


Kerberos is an authentication service developed as part of Project Athena at MIT. The problem that Kerberos addresses is this: Assume an open distributed environment in which users at workstations wish to access services on servers distributed throughout the network.


Kerberos is an authentication service developed as part of Project Athena at MIT. The problem that Kerberos addresses is this: Assume an open distributed environment in which users at workstations wish to access services on servers distributed throughout the network. We would like for servers to be able to restrict access to authorized users and to be able to authenticate requests for service. In this environ- ment, a workstation cannot be trusted to identify its users correctly to network ser- vices. In particular, the following three threats exist:

1.                                       A user may gain access to a particular workstation and pretend to be another user operating from that workstation.

2.                                       A user may alter the network address of a workstation so that the requests sent from the altered workstation appear to come from the impersonated workstation.

3.                                       A user may eavesdrop on exchanges and use a replay attack to gain entrance to a server or to disrupt operations.

In any of these cases, an unauthorized user may be able to gain access to services and data that he or she is not authorized to access. Rather than building in elabo- rate authentication protocols at each server, Kerberos provides a centralized authentication server whose function is to authenticate users to servers and servers to users. Unlike most other authentication schemes described in this book, Kerberos relies exclusively on symmetric encryption, making no use of public-key encryption.

Two versions of Kerberos are in common use. Version 4 [MILL88, STEI88] implementations still exist. Version 5 [KOHL94] corrects some of the security deficiencies of version 4 and has been issued as a proposed Internet Standard (RFC 4120).5

We begin this section with a brief discussion of the motivation for the Kerberos approach. Then, because of the complexity of Kerberos, it is best to start with a description of the authentication protocol used in version 4. This enables us to see the essence of the Kerberos strategy without considering some of the details required to handle subtle security threats. Finally, we examine version 5. Motivation

If a set of users is provided with dedicated personal computers that have no network connections, then a user’s resources and files can be protected by physically securing each personal computer. When these users instead are served by a centralized time- sharing system, the time-sharing operating system must provide the security. The operating system can enforce access-control policies based on user identity and use the logon procedure to identify users.

Today, neither of these scenarios is typical. More common is a distributed archi- tecture consisting of dedicated user workstations (clients) and distributed or central- ized servers. In this environment, three approaches to security can be envisioned.

1.                        Rely on each individual client workstation to assure the identity of its user or users and rely on each server to enforce a security policy based on user identi- fication (ID).

2.                        Require that client systems authenticate themselves to servers, but trust the client system concerning the identity of its user.

3.                        Require the user to prove his or her identity for each service invoked. Also require that servers prove their identity to clients.

In a small, closed environment in which all systems are owned and operated by a single organization, the first or perhaps the second strategy may suffice.6 But in a more open environment in which network connections to other machines are supported, the third approach is needed to protect user information and resources housed at the server. Kerberos supports this third approach. Kerberos assumes a distributed client/server architecture and employs one or more Kerberos servers to provide an authentication service.

The first published report on Kerberos [STEI88] listed the following requirements.

                 Secure: A network eavesdropper should not be able to obtain the necessary information to impersonate a user. More generally, Kerberos should be strong enough that a potential opponent does not find it to be the weak link.

                 Reliable: For all services that rely on Kerberos for access control, lack of availability of the Kerberos service means lack of availability of the supported services. Hence, Kerberos should be highly reliable and should employ a distributed server architecture with one system able to back up another.

                 Transparent: Ideally, the user should not be aware that authentication is taking place beyond the requirement to enter a password.

                 Scalable: The system should be capable of supporting large numbers of clients and servers. This suggests a modular, distributed architecture.

To support these requirements, the overall scheme of Kerberos is that of a trusted third-party authentication service that uses a protocol based on that pro- posed by Needham and Schroeder [NEED78], which was discussed in Section 15.2.

It is trusted in the sense that clients and servers trust Kerberos to mediate their mutual authentication. Assuming the Kerberos protocol is well designed, then the authentication service is secure if the Kerberos server itself is secure.7

Kerberos Version 4

Version 4 of Kerberos makes use of DES, in a rather elaborate protocol, to pro- vide the authentication service. Viewing the protocol as a whole, it is difficult to see the need for the many elements contained therein. Therefore, we adopt a strat- egy used by Bill Bryant of Project Athena [BRYA88] and build up to the full protocol by looking first at several hypothetical dialogues. Each successive dia- logue adds additional complexity to counter security vulnerabilities revealed in the preceding dialogue.

After examining the protocol, we look at some other aspects of version 4.

A SIMPLE AUTHENTICATION DIALOGUE In an unprotected network environment, any client can apply to any server for service. The obvious security risk is that of impersonation. An opponent can pretend to be another client and obtain unauthorized privileges on server machines. To counter this threat, servers must be able to confirm the identities of clients who request service. Each server can be required to undertake this task for each client/server interaction, but in an open environment, this places a substantial burden on each server.

An alternative is to use an authentication server (AS) that knows the pass- words of all users and stores these in a centralized database. In addition, the AS shares a unique secret key with each server. These keys have been distributed physically or in some other secure manner. Consider the following hypothetical dialogue:

In this scenario, the user logs on to a workstation and requests access to server V. The client module C in the user’s workstation requests the user’s password and then sends a message to the AS that includes the user’s ID, the server’s ID, and the user’s password. The AS checks its database to see if the user has supplied the proper password for this user ID and whether this user is permitted access to server V. If both tests are passed, the AS accepts the user as authentic and must now convince the server that this user is authentic. To do so, the AS creates a ticket that contains the user’s ID and network address and the server’s ID. This ticket is encrypted using the secret key shared by the AS and this server. This ticket is then sent back to C. Because the ticket is encrypted, it cannot be altered by C or by an opponent.

With this ticket, C can now apply to V for service. C sends a message to V con- taining C’s ID and the ticket. V decrypts the ticket and verifies that the user ID in the ticket is the same as the unencrypted user ID in the message. If these two match, the server considers the user authenticated and grants the requested service.

Each of the ingredients of message (3) is significant. The ticket is encrypted to prevent alteration or forgery. The server’s ID (IDV) is included in the ticket so that the server can verify that it has decrypted the ticket properly. IDC is included in the ticket to indicate that this ticket has been issued on behalf of C. Finally, ADC serves to counter the following threat. An opponent could capture the ticket transmitted in message (2), then use the name IDC and transmit a message of form (3) from another workstation. The server would receive a valid ticket that matches the user ID and grant access to the user on that other workstation. To prevent this attack, the AS includes in the ticket the network address from which the original request came. Now the ticket is valid only if it is transmitted from the same workstation that ini- tially requested the ticket.


A MORE SECURE AUTHENTICATION DIALOGUE Although the foregoing scenario solves some of the problems of authentication in an open network environment, problems remain. Two in particular stand out. First, we would like to minimize the number of times that a user has to enter a password. Suppose each ticket can be used only once. If user C logs on to a workstation in the morning and wishes to check his or her mail at a mail server, C must supply a password to get a ticket for the mail server. If C wishes to check the mail several times during the day, each attempt requires reentering the password. We can improve matters by saying that tickets are reusable. For a single logon session, the workstation can store the mail server ticket after it is received and use it on behalf of the user for multiple accesses to the mail server.

However, under this scheme, it remains the case that a user would need a new ticket for every different service. If a user wished to access a print server, a mail server, a file server, and so on, the first instance of each access would require a new ticket and hence require the user to enter the password.

The second problem is that the earlier scenario involved a plaintext transmis- sion of the password [message (1)]. An eavesdropper could capture the password and use any service accessible to the victim.

To solve these additional problems, we introduce a scheme for avoiding plain- text passwords and a new server, known as the ticket-granting server (TGS). The new (but still hypothetical) scenario is as follows.

The new service, TGS, issues tickets to users who have been authenticated to AS. Thus, the user first requests a ticket-granting ticket (Tickettgs) from the AS. The client module in the user workstation saves this ticket. Each time the user requires access to a new service, the client applies to the TGS, using the ticket to authenticate itself. The TGS then grants a ticket for the particular service. The client saves each service-granting ticket and uses it to authenticate its user to a server each time a particular service is requested. Let us look at the details of this scheme:

1.                                       The client requests a ticket-granting ticket on behalf of the user by sending its user’s ID to the AS, together with the TGS ID, indicating a request to use the TGS service.

2.                                       The AS responds with a ticket that is encrypted with a key that is derived from the user’s password (Kc), which is already stored at the AS. When this response arrives at the client, the client prompts the user for his or her password, gener- ates the key, and attempts to decrypt the incoming message. If the correct pass- word is supplied, the ticket is successfully recovered.

Because only the correct user should know the password, only the correct user can recover the ticket. Thus, we have used the password to obtain credentials from Kerberos without having to transmit the password in plaintext. The ticket itself consists of the ID and network address of the user, and the ID of the TGS. This cor- responds to the first scenario. The idea is that the client can use this ticket to request multiple service-granting tickets. So the ticket-granting ticket is to be reusable. However, we do not wish an opponent to be able to capture the ticket and use it. Consider the following scenario: An opponent captures the login ticket and waits until the user has logged off his or her workstation. Then the opponent either gains access to that workstation or configures his workstation with the same network address as that of the victim. The opponent would be able to reuse the ticket to spoof the TGS. To counter this, the ticket includes a timestamp, indicating the date and time at which the ticket was issued, and a lifetime, indicating the length of time for which the ticket is valid (e.g., eight hours). Thus, the client now has a reusable ticket and need not bother the user for a password for each new service request. Finally, note that the ticket-granting ticket is encrypted with a secret key known only to the AS and the TGS. This prevents alteration of the ticket. The ticket is reen- crypted with a key based on the user’s password. This assures that the ticket can be recovered only by the correct user, providing the authentication.

Now that the client has a ticket-granting ticket, access to any server can be obtained with steps 3 and 4.

3.                        The client requests a service-granting ticket on behalf of the user. For this pur- pose, the client transmits a message to the TGS containing the user’s ID, the ID of the desired service, and the ticket-granting ticket.

4.                        The TGS decrypts the incoming ticket using a key shared only by the AS and the TGS (Ktgs) and verifies the success of the decryption by the presence of its ID. It checks to make sure that the lifetime has not expired. Then it compares the user ID and network address with the incoming information to authenti- cate the user. If the user is permitted access to the server V, the TGS issues a ticket to grant access to the requested service.

The service-granting ticket has the same structure as the ticket-granting ticket. Indeed, because the TGS is a server, we would expect that the same elements are needed to authenticate a client to the TGS and to authenticate a client to an appli- cation server. Again, the ticket contains a timestamp and lifetime. If the user wants access to the same service at a later time, the client can simply use the previously acquired service-granting ticket and need not bother the user for a password. Note that the ticket is encrypted with a secret key (Kv) known only to the TGS and the server, preventing alteration.

Finally, with a particular service-granting ticket, the client can gain access to  the corresponding service with step  5.

5.                        The client requests access to a service on behalf of the user. For this purpose, the client transmits a message to the server containing the user’s ID and the service-granting ticket. The server authenticates by using the contents of the ticket.

This new scenario satisfies the two requirements of only one password query per user session and protection of the user password.


THE VERSION 4 AUTHENTICATION DIALOGUE Although the foregoing scenario enhances security compared to the first attempt, two additional problems remain. The heart of the first problem is the lifetime associated with the ticket-granting ticket. If this lifetime is very short (e.g., minutes), then the user will be repeatedly asked for a password. If the lifetime is long (e.g., hours), then an opponent has a greater opportunity for replay. An opponent could eavesdrop on the network   and capture a copy of the ticket-granting ticket and then wait for the legitimate user to log out. Then the opponent could forge the legitimate user’s network address and send the message of step (3) to the TGS. This would give the opponent unlimited access to the resources and files available to the legitimate user.

Similarly, if an opponent captures a service-granting ticket and uses it before it expires, the opponent has access to the corresponding service.

Thus, we arrive at an additional requirement. A network service (the TGS or an application service) must be able to prove that the person using a ticket is the same person to whom that ticket was issued.

The second problem is that there may be a requirement for servers to authen- ticate themselves to users. Without such authentication, an opponent could sabotage the configuration so that messages to a server were directed to another location. The false server would then be in a position to act as a real server and capture any infor- mation from the user and deny the true service to the user.

We examine these problems in turn and refer to Table 15.1, which shows the actual Kerberos protocol.

First, consider the problem of captured ticket-granting tickets and the need to determine that the ticket presenter is the same as the client for whom the ticket was issued. The threat is that an opponent will steal the ticket and use it before it expires. To get around this problem, let us have the AS provide both the client and the TGS with a secret piece of information in a secure manner. Then the client can prove its identity to the TGS by revealing the secret information—again in a secure manner. An efficient way of accomplishing this is to use an encryption key as the secure information; this is referred to as a session key in Kerberos.

Table 15.1    Summary of Kerberos Version 4 Message  Exchanges

Table 15.1a shows the technique for distributing the session key. As before, the client sends a message to the AS requesting access to the TGS. The AS responds with a message, encrypted with a key derived from the user’s password (Kc), that contains the ticket. The encrypted message also contains a copy of the session key, Kc,tgs, where the subscripts indicate that this is a session key for C and TGS. Because this session key is inside the message encrypted with Kc, only the user’s client can read it. The same session key is included in the ticket, which can be read only by the TGS. Thus, the session key has been securely delivered to both C and the TGS.

Note that several additional pieces of information have been added to this first phase of the dialogue. Message (1) includes a timestamp, so that the AS knows that the message is timely. Message (2) includes several elements of the ticket in a form accessible to C. This enables C to confirm that this ticket is for the TGS and to learn its expiration time.

Armed with the ticket and the session key, C is ready to approach the TGS. As before, C sends the TGS a message that includes the ticket plus the ID of the requested service (message (3) in Table 15.1b). In addition, C transmits an authenti- cator, which includes the ID and address of C’s user and a timestamp. Unlike the ticket, which is reusable, the authenticator is intended for use only once and has a very short lifetime. The TGS can decrypt the ticket with the key that it shares with the AS. This ticket indicates that user C has been provided with the session key Kc,tgs. In effect, the ticket says, “Anyone who uses Kc,tgs must be C.” The TGS uses the session key to decrypt the authenticator. The TGS can then check the name and address from the authenticator with that of the ticket and with the network address of the incoming message. If all match, then the TGS is assured that the sender of the ticket is indeed the ticket’s real owner. In effect, the authenticator says, “At time TS3, I hereby use Kc,tgs.” Note that the ticket does not prove anyone’s identity but is a way to distribute keys securely. It is the authenticator that proves the client’s iden- tity. Because the authenticator can be used only once and has a short lifetime, the threat of an opponent stealing both the ticket and the authenticator for presentation later is countered.

The reply from the TGS in message (4) follows the form of message (2). The message is encrypted with the session key shared by the TGS and C and includes a session key to be shared between C and the server V, the ID of V, and the timestamp of the ticket. The ticket itself includes the same session key.

C now has a reusable service-granting ticket for V. When C presents this ticket, as shown in message (5), it also sends an authenticator. The server can decrypt the ticket, recover the session key, and decrypt the authenticator.

If mutual authentication is required, the server can reply as shown in message (6) of Table 15.1. The server returns the value of the timestamp from the authenticator, incremented by 1, and encrypted in the session key. C can decrypt this message to recover the incremented timestamp. Because the message was encrypted by the session key, C is assured that it could have been created only by V. The contents of the message assure C that this is not a replay of an old reply.

Finally, at the conclusion of this process, the client and server share a secret key. This key can be used to encrypt future messages between the two or to exchange a new random session key for that purpose.

Table 15.2 summarizes the justification for each of the elements in the Kerberos protocol, and Figure 15.1 provides a simplified overview of the action.

KERBEROS REALMS AND MULTIPLE KERBERI A full-service Kerberos environment consisting of a Kerberos server, a number of clients, and a number of application servers requires the following:

1.                        The Kerberos server must have the user ID and hashed passwords of all partic- ipating users in its database. All users are registered with the Kerberos server.

2.                        The Kerberos server must share a secret key with each server. All servers are registered with the Kerberos server.

Such an environment is referred to as a Kerberos realm. The concept of realm can be explained as follows. A Kerberos realm is a set of managed nodes that share the same Kerberos database. The Kerberos database resides on the Kerberos master computer system, which should be kept in a physically secure room. A read-only copy of the Kerberos database might also reside on other Kerberos computer systems. However, all changes to the database must be made on the master computer system. Changing or accessing the contents of a Kerberos database requires the Kerberos master password. A related concept is that of a Kerberos principal, which is a service or user that is known to the Kerberos system. Each Kerberos principal is identified by its principal name. Principal names consist of three parts: a service or user name, an instance name, and a realm name

Networks of clients and servers under different administrative organiza- tions typically constitute different realms. That is, it generally is not practical or does not conform to administrative policy to have users and servers in one administrative domain registered with a Kerberos server elsewhere. However, users in one realm may need access to servers in other realms, and some servers may be willing to provide service to users from other realms, provided that those users are authenticated.

Kerberos provides a mechanism for supporting such interrealm authentication. For two realms to support interrealm authentication, a third requirement is added:

2.                       The Kerberos server in each interoperating realm shares a secret key with the server in the other realm.The two Kerberos servers are registered with each other.

The scheme requires that the Kerberos server in one realm trust the Kerberos server in the other realm to authenticate its users. Furthermore, the participating servers in the second realm must also be willing to trust the Kerberos server in the first realm.

With these ground rules in place, we can describe the mechanism as follows (Figure 15.2): A user wishing service on a server in another realm needs a ticket for that server. The user’s client follows the usual procedures to gain access to the local TGS and then requests a ticket-granting ticket for a remote TGS (TGS in another realm). The client can then apply to the remote TGS for a service-granting ticket for the desired server in the realm of the remote TGS.

The details of the exchanges illustrated in Figure 15.2 are as follows (compare Table 15.1).

The ticket presented to the remote server (Vrem) indicates the realm in which the user was originally authenticated. The server chooses whether to honor the remote request.

One problem presented by the foregoing approach is that it does not scale well to many realms. If there are N realms, then there must be N(N - 1)/2 secure key exchanges so that each Kerberos realm can interoperate with all other Kerberos realms.


Kerberos Version 5

Kerberos version 5 is specified in RFC 4120 and provides a number of improve- ments over version 4 [KOHL94]. To begin, we provide an overview of the changes from version 4 to version 5 and then look at the version 5   protocol.


DIFFERENCES BETWEEN VERSIONS 4 AND 5 Version 5 is intended to address the limitations of version 4 in two areas: environmental shortcomings and technical deficiencies. Let us briefly summarize the improvements in each area.


Kerberos version 4 was developed for use within the Project Athena environ- ment and, accordingly, did not fully address the need to be of general purpose. This led to the following environmental shortcomings.

Encryption system dependence: Version 4 requires the use of DES. Export restriction on DES as well as doubts about the strength of DES were thus of concern. In version 5, ciphertext is tagged with an encryption-type identifier so that any encryption technique may be used. Encryption keys are tagged with a type and a length, allowing the same key to be used in different algorithms and allowing the specification of different variations on a given algorithm.

1.                        Internet protocol dependence: Version 4 requires the use of Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. Other address types, such as the ISO network address, are not accommodated. Version 5 network addresses are tagged with type and length, allowing any network address type to be used.

2.                        Message byte ordering: In version 4, the sender of a message employs a byte ordering of its own choosing and tags the message to indicate least significant byte in lowest address or most significant byte in lowest address. This tech- niques works but does not follow established conventions. In version 5, all mes- sage structures are defined using Abstract Syntax Notation One (ASN.1) and Basic Encoding Rules (BER), which provide an unambiguous byte ordering.

3.                        Ticket lifetime: Lifetime values in version 4 are encoded in an 8-bit quantity in units of five minutes. Thus, the maximum lifetime that can be expressed is  28 * 5 = 1280 minutes (a little over 21 hours). This may be inadequate for some applications (e.g., a long-running simulation that requires valid Kerberos creden- tials throughout execution). In version 5, tickets include an explicit start time and end time, allowing tickets with arbitrary lifetimes.

4.                        Authentication forwarding: Version 4 does not allow credentials issued to one client to be forwarded to some other host and used by some other client. This capability would enable a client to access a server and have that server access another server on behalf of the client. For example, a client issues a request to a print server that then accesses the client’s file from a file server, using the client’s credentials for access. Version 5 provides this capability.

5.                        Interrealm authentication: In version 4, interoperability among N realms requires on the order of N 2 Kerberos-to-Kerberos relationships, as described earlier. Version 5 supports a method that requires fewer relationships, as described shortly.

Apart from these environmental limitations, there are technical deficiencies in the version 4 protocol itself. Most of these deficiencies were documented in [BELL90], and version 5 attempts to address these. The deficiencies are the following.

1.                     Double encryption: Note in Table 15.1 [messages (2) and (4)] that tickets pro- vided to clients are encrypted twice—once with the secret key of the target server and then again with a secret key known to the client. The second encryption is not necessary and is computationally wasteful.

2.                     PCBC encryption: Encryption in version 4 makes use of a nonstandard mode of DES known as propagating cipher block chaining (PCBC).9 It has been demon- strated that this mode is vulnerable to an attack involving the interchange of ciphertext blocks [KOHL89]. PCBC was intended to provide an integrity check as part of the encryption operation.Version 5 provides explicit integrity mechanisms, allowing the standard CBC mode to be used for encryption. In particular, a check- sum or hash code is attached to the message prior to encryption using CBC.

1.                                    Session keys: Each ticket includes a session key that is used by the client to encrypt the authenticator sent to the service associated with that ticket. In addi- tion, the session key may subsequently be used by the client and the server to protect messages passed during that session. However, because the same ticket may be used repeatedly to gain service from a particular server, there is the risk that an opponent will replay messages from an old session to the client or the server. In version 5, it is possible for a client and server to negotiate a subsession key, which is to be used only for that one connection. A new access by the client would result in the use of a new subsession key.

2.                                    Password attacks: Both versions are vulnerable to a password attack. The mes- sage from the AS to the client includes material encrypted with a key based on the client’s password.10 An opponent can capture this message and attempt to decrypt it by trying various passwords. If the result of a test decryption is of the proper form, then the opponent has discovered the client’s password and may subsequently use it to gain authentication credentials from Kerberos. This is the same type of password attack described in Chapter 20, with the same kinds of countermeasures being applicable. Version 5 does provide a mechanism known as preauthentication, which should make password attacks more diffi- cult, but it does not prevent them.

THE VERSION 5 AUTHENTICATION DIALOGUE Table 15.3 summarizes the basic version 5 dialogue. This is best explained by comparison with version 4 (Table  15.1).

First, consider the authentication service exchange. Message (1) is a client request for a ticket-granting ticket. As before, it includes the ID of the user and the TGS. The following new elements are added:

                 Realm: Indicates realm of user

                 Options: Used to request that certain flags be set in the returned ticket

                 Times: Used by the client to request the following time settings in the ticket:

from: the desired start time for the requested ticket

till: the requested expiration time for the requested ticket

rtime: requested renew-till time

                 Nonce: A random value to be repeated in message (2) to assure that the response is fresh and has not been replayed by an opponent


Message (2) returns a ticket-granting ticket, identifying information for the client, and a block encrypted using the encryption key based on the user’s password. This block includes the session key to be used between the client and the TGS, times specified in message (1), the nonce from message (1), and TGS identifying informa- tion. The ticket itself includes the session key, identifying information for the client, the requested time values, and flags that reflect the status of this ticket and the requested options. These flags introduce significant new functionality to version 5. For now, we defer a discussion of these flags and concentrate on the overall struc- ture of the version 5 protocol.

Let us now compare the ticket-granting service exchange for versions 4   and

3.            We see that message (3) for both versions includes an authenticator, a ticket, and the name of the requested service. In addition, version 5 includes requested times and options for the ticket and a nonce—all with functions similar to those of message (1). The authenticator itself is essentially the same as the one used in version 4.

Message (4) has the same structure as message (2). It returns a ticket plus information needed by the client, with the information encrypted using the session key now shared by the client and the TGS.

Finally, for the client/server authentication exchange, several new features appear in version 5. In message (5), the client may request as an option that mutual authentication is required. The authenticator includes several new fields:

                 Subkey: The client’s choice for an encryption key to be used to protect this specific application session. If this field is omitted, the session key from the ticket (Kc,v) is used.

                 Sequence number: An optional field that specifies the starting sequence num- ber to be used by the server for messages sent to the client during this session. Messages may be sequence numbered to detect replays.

                 If mutual authentication is required, the server responds with message (6). This message includes the timestamp from the authenticator. Note that in version 4, the timestamp was incremented by one. This is not necessary in version 5, because the nature of the format of messages is such that it is not possible for an opponent to create message (6) without knowledge of the appropriate encryption keys. The subkey field, if present, overrides the subkey field, if present, in message (5).

              The optional sequence number field specifies the starting sequence number to be used by the client.

              TICKET FLAGS The flags field included in tickets in version 5 supports expanded functionality compared to that available in version 4. Table 15.4 summarizes the flags that may be included in a ticket.

              The INITIAL flag indicates that this ticket was issued by the AS, not by the TGS. When a client requests a service-granting ticket from the TGS, it presents a ticket-granting ticket obtained from the AS. In version 4, this was the only way to obtain a service-granting ticket. Version 5 provides the additional capability that the client can get a service-granting ticket directly from the AS. The utility of this is as follows: A server, such as a password-changing server, may wish to know that the client’s password was recently tested.

                 The PRE-AUTHENT flag, if set, indicates that when the AS received the ini- tial request [message (1)], it authenticated the client before issuing a ticket. The exact form of this preauthentication is left unspecified. As an example, the MIT implementation of version 5 has encrypted timestamp preauthentication, enabled by default. When a user wants to get a ticket, it has to send to the AS a preauthenti- cation block containing a random confounder, a version number, and a timestamp all encrypted in the client’s password-based key. The AS decrypts the block and will not send a ticket-granting ticket back unless the timestamp in the preauthentication block is within the allowable time skew (time interval to account for clock drift and network delays). Another possibility is the use of a smart card that generates

continually changing passwords that are included in the preauthenticated messages. The passwords generated by the card can be based on a user’s password but be transformed by the card so that, in effect, arbitrary passwords are used. This pre- vents an attack based on easily guessed passwords. If a smart card or similar device was used, this is indicated by the HW-AUTHENT flag.

When a ticket has a long lifetime, there is the potential for it to be stolen and used by an opponent for a considerable period. If a short lifetime is used to lessen the threat, then overhead is involved in acquiring new tickets. In the case of a ticket- granting ticket, the client would either have to store the user’s secret key, which is clearly risky, or repeatedly ask the user for a password. A compromise scheme is the use of renewable tickets. A ticket with the RENEWABLE flag set includes two expiration times: one for this specific ticket and one that is the latest permissible value for an expiration time. A client can have the ticket renewed by presenting it to the TGS with a requested new expiration time. If the new time is within the limit of the latest permissible value, the TGS can issue a new ticket with a new session time and a later specific expiration time. The advantage of this mechanism is that the TGS may refuse to renew a ticket reported as stolen.

A client may request that the AS provide a ticket-granting ticket with the MAY-POSTDATE flag set. The client can then use this ticket to request a ticket that is flagged as POSTDATED and INVALID from the TGS. Subsequently, the client may submit the postdated ticket for validation. This scheme can be useful for run- ning a long batch job on a server that requires a ticket periodically. The client can obtain a number of tickets for this session at once, with spread out time values. All but the first ticket are initially invalid. When the execution reaches a point in time when a new ticket is required, the client can get the appropriate ticket validated. With this approach, the client does not have to repeatedly use its ticket-granting ticket to obtain a service-granting ticket.

In version 5, it is possible for a server to act as a proxy on behalf of a client, in effect adopting the credentials and privileges of the client to request a service from another server. If a client wishes to use this mechanism, it requests a ticket-granting ticket with the PROXIABLE flag set. When this ticket is presented to the TGS, the TGS is permitted to issue a service-granting ticket with a different network address; this latter ticket will have its PROXY flag set. An application receiving such a ticket

may accept it or require additional authentication to provide an audit trail.11

The proxy concept is a limited case of the more powerful forwarding proce- dure. If a ticket is set with the FORWARDABLE flag, a TGS can issue to the requestor a ticket-granting ticket with a different network address and the FOR- WARDED flag set. This ticket then can be presented to a remote TGS. This capa- bility allows a client to gain access to a server on another realm without requiring that each Kerberos maintain a secret key with Kerberos servers in every other realm. For example, realms could be structured hierarchically. Then a client could walk up the tree to a common node and then back down to reach a target realm. Each step of the walk would involve forwarding a ticket-granting ticket to the next TGS in the path.

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Cryptography and Network Security Principles and Practice : Mutual Trust : User Authentication : Kerberos |

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