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NTLM / Kerberos Authentication Mechanism

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Kerberos/NTLM Single Sign On (SSO)

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    The Kerberos protocol is an authentication protocol for client/server applications. For authentication purposes, tickets are given to the clients from the Kerberos Key Distribution Center (KDC). The Kerberos ticket is presented to the servers after the connection has been established. Kerberos authentication tickets represent the client’s network credentials.

    Windows Challenge/Response(NTLM) is the authentication protocol used on networks that include systems running the Windows operating system and on stand-alone systems.

    Windows authentication uses either Kerberos authentication protocol or NTLM authentication protocol, depending on the client and server configurations.

    NTLM Authentication Protocol:

      kerberos SSO
    • The NEGOTIATE_MESSAGE defines an NTLM Negotiate message that is sent from the client to the server. This message allows the client to specify its supported NTLM options to the server.
    • The CHALLENGE_MESSAGE defines an NTLM challenge message that is sent from the server to the client and it is used by the server to challenge the client to prove its identity.
    • The AUTHENTICATE_MESSAGE defines an NTLM authenticate message that is sent from the client to the server after the CHALLENGE_MESSAGE is processed by the client.


    kerberos SSO
    • Message A: Client/TGS Session Key encrypted using the secret key of the client/user.
    • Message B: Ticket-Granting-Ticket encrypted using the secret key of the TGS.
    • Message C: Composed of the TGT from message B and the ID of the requested service.
    • Message D: Authenticator encrypted using the Client/TGS Session Key.
    • Message E: client-to-server ticket encrypted using the service's secret key.
    • Message F: Client/Server Session Key encrypted with the Client/TGS Session Key.
    • Message G: a new Authenticator, which includes the client ID, timestamp and is encrypted using Client/Server Session Key.
    • Message H: the timestamp found in the client's Authenticator encrypted using the Client/Server Session Key.
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