Kerberos Attacks

While it may not be possible for a hacker to feed your Kerberos KDC a spiced cake to put it to sleep, there are some electronic attacks that can compromise the security of your Kerberos system. Listed below are potential compromise scenarios, and their effect on the security of the Kerberos system.

  • Root compromise of a Kerberos KDC machine. A root-level compromise of a KDC machine (master or any of the slaves) gives the attacker full control over the entire Kerberos authentication system. Even though the Kerberos database is encrypted on disk with the Kerberos master key, the master key is also kept on the KDC’s disk so no manual intervention is required (to enter in the master password) when the KDC service is started. In addition, since all Kerberos implementations provide fail-safe access to the Kerberos database for the root or Administrator user on the KDC, your entire Kerberos database should be considered compromised in the event of attackers gaining root access to any KDC on your network. See Section 6.4 later in this chapter for tips on preventing a successful attack against your KDC.

  • Compromise of a Kerberos administrator’s credentials. If an attacker obtains the password of a Kerberos administrative principal, that attacker has complete access to the entire Kerberos database. Most KDC implementations allow administrators to remotely dump the contents of the database for backup purposes, and an attacker can use this functionality to make a complete copy ...

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