Friday, October 19, 2007

How Kerberos was evolved - Inside Story Part 2

In my last post I discussed few steps for the evolution of kerberos protocol implementation. In this post I am going to conclude it so read on...

Just want to recolect the problem statements where I left in last post so you get some continuity


1) Once tickets are generated at the user system and passed over the wire for service access they can be tapped over the wire. For example user got the encrypted ticket during authentication process and it was successfully decrypted, Now user will pass this ticket to mail server for mail access. At this time someone can tap the ticket and replay it later.

2) Tickets are good for ever. Once assigned no ticket session expiry.

For solving first problem Authentication Server (Ticket Granting Server [TGS]) will generate a sessionkey which will be sent to the user. TGS will also send a ticket encrypted with service password to the user. Below is the detailed structure

[SesssionKey:[*Service Ticket encrypted with service Key]]

* Structure of service ticket is [SessionKey:lifespan:issuing time:service name]

issuing time and lifespan are introduced so tickets can be valid for specific amount of time and not good for ever.

TGS will encrypt session key and ticket with user's password to solve the replay attack because password is only shared between user and Authentication Server.

Step by Step process for user authentication and service access

1) User enters the userid and KINIT program on the user machine sends that to TGS for authentication.

2) TGS server creates Ticket Granting Ticket [TGT] (this will be used to get service tickets)and send to the user by encrypting the whole content by users passwod.

3) User decrypts the TGT using the password to get the ticket. If someone spoof the packet then he will not be able to decrypt it as the password is shared between user and TGS only.

4) User wants to access his mail but user does not have mail service ticket so user contacts TGT for mail service ticket by submitting Authenticator,TGT, Name of the user and workstation address. This Authenticator with the session key sent by the TGS in the initial handshaking.

* Authenticator = {username:servie name: time stamp : lifespan}

5) TGS will get the session key of the user and decrypts the authenticator. After validating the identity it generates following and send by encrypting the whole content using the SESSION Key.

i) Ticket for the mail service. This ticket has the session key, service name, lifespan, timestamp and client address. This ticket is encrypted with the service password. (Even User can not decrypt it)
ii) Session key to be used to encrypt the conversation with mail service

6) User recieves the packet and decrypts the content using the session key (Given during first handshake with the TGS).

7) User prepares the Authenticator and encrypts it with the SESSION key (generated for the mail service communication in step 5).

8) Mail Service recieves the Authenticator and Ticket. Decryptst the ticket using it's password to get the session key. Using the session key decrypts the Authenticator. Validate the Authenticator and sends the acknowledgement to the user by encrypting the session key.

9) User receives the acknowledgement and start using the service.

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