Posts Tagged ‘Certificate Services’

ADCS on Windows server 2012 does not replace space characters in URL paths CDP and AIA extensions

October 15th, 2013 Comments off

Having a Windows Server 2012 with the certification authority role (ADCS) installed where the CA name contains space characters. When a certificate is issued from this CA, the ADCS service does not replace the space characters with “%20” in the URL paths for certificate revocation list (CRL) distribution points and authority information access extensions. This results in errors when clients accesses the URL’s.

A supported hotfix is available from Microsoft that is intended to correct the problem described above. To download the hotfix, read KB2827759


Restricting Enrollment Agents

February 10th, 2012 Comments off

Once someone has an Enrollment Agent certificate, that person can enroll for a certificate and generate a smart card on behalf of anyone in the organization, including all domain admins. The resulting smart card could then be used to log on to the network and impersonate the real user. Because of the powerful capability of the Enrollment Agent certificate, it is strongly recommended that your organization maintain very strong security policies for these certificates.

Permitting an enrollment agent to enroll only a certain type of certificate to a certain group of users was not possible before Windows 2008. In Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition the enterprise CA does not provide any configurable means to control enrollment agents except by enforcing the application policy extension of the enrollment agent certificate, which verifies that the credentials grant the ability to enroll on behalf of other users, including the domain admins.

In Windows Server 2008 the PKI architecture of an enterprise has the possibility to restrict enrollment agents so that enrollment is only possible for a certain certificate template and a certain group of users. By providing a technical possibility to limit the scope of enrollment agents, an enterprise can is given a better tool to control the delegation of trust and the risk associated with granting that trust.

On a Windows Server 2008 Enterprise-based certification authority (CA), the restricted enrollment agent features allow an enrollment agent to be used for one or many certificate templates. For each certificate template, you can choose which users or security groups the enrollment agent can enroll on behalf of.

Note: The feature cannot constrain an enrollment agent based on a certain Active Directory organizational unit (OU) or container; you must use security groups instead. The restricted enrollment agent is not available on a Windows Server® 2008 Standard-based CA.

By using the Certificate Services snap-in, you can create a permissions list for each enrollment agent to configure which users or security groups an enrollment agent can enroll on behalf of for each certificate template.


The Active Directory Certificate Services Ultimate Guide – Part 1

October 14th, 2011 Comments off

The Basics of PKI

Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) refers to the set of hardware, software, people, policies, and procedures necessary to create, manage, store, distribute, and revoke certificates based on public key cryptography. The characteristic operation of PKI is known as certification (the issuance of certificates). PKI certification provides a framework for the security feature known as authentication (proof of identification).

Understanding the role of PKI in identity management involves the following basic terms:

  • The Public/Private Key Pair – The mathematics of public/private key pairs is beyond the scope of this guide, but it is important to note the functional relationship between a public and a private key. PKI cryptographic algorithms use the public key of the receiver of an encrypted message to encrypt data, and the related private key and only the related private key to decrypt the encrypted message.
  • Digital Signature – A digital signature of a message is created with the signer’s private key. The corresponding public key, which is available to everyone, is then used to verify this signature. The secrecy of the private key must be maintained because the framework falls apart after the private key is compromised.
  • Certification Authority (CA) – An authority that trusted to create and issue certificates that contain public keys acting as a trust in a public key infrastructure and providing services that authenticate the identity of individuals, computers, and other entities in a network.
  • Certificate – A data structure containing an entities public key and related identification information, which is digitally signed with the private key of the CA that issued it. The certificate securely binds together the information that it contains; any attempt to tamper with it will be detected at the time of use.
  • Self-signed – In a self-signed certificate, the public key in the certificate and the key used to verify the certificate are the same. Some self-signed certificates are designated as Root CAs.
  • Root CA – A root CA is a special class of CA, which is trusted unconditionally by a client and is at the top of a certification hierarchy. All certificate chains terminate at a root CA. The root authority must sign its own certificate because there is no higher certifying authority in the certification hierarchy.
  • Subordinate CA / Intermediate CA / Cross CA / Bridge CA – A CA that has been certified by another CA. Subordination creates a managed trust between separate certification authorities resulting in CA hierarchies.
  • Certificate policy and practice statements –  The two documents that outline how the CA and its certificates are to be used, the degree of trust that can be placed in these certificates, legal liabilities if the trust is broken, and so on.
  • Public key standards – Standards are developed to describe the syntax for digital signing and encrypting of messages and to ensure that a user has an appropriate private key. Internet X.509 Public Key Infrastructure Certificate and Certificate Revocation List (CRL) Profile, as specified in RFC5280 is one part of a family of standards for the X.509 Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) for the Internet.
  • Revocation and Expiration – Certificates are issued with a planned lifetime, which is defined through a validity start time and an explicit expiration date. Once issued, a certificate becomes valid when its validity time has been reached, and it is considered valid until its expiration date. However, various circumstances may cause a certificate to become invalid prior to the expiration of the validity period. Such circumstances include change of name, change of association between subject and CA, and compromise or suspected compromise of the corresponding private key. Under such circumstances, the issuing CA needs to revoke the certificate.
  • Registration Authority (RA) – A Registration Authority vouches to a CA for the binding between public keys and the identity and attributes of a prospective certificate holder. Essentially, using the RA is a form of administrative delegation—the CA delegates to the RA the task of verifying the binding of a public key to an entity.
  • Certificate Chains – A certificate chain consists of all the certificates needed to certify the subject identified by the end certificate. In practice this includes the end certificate, the certificates of intermediate CAs, and the certificate of a root CA trusted by all parties in the chain. Every intermediate CA in the chain holds a certificate issued by the CA one level above it in the trust hierarchy.