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Kerberos: The Definitive Guide by Jason Garman

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Firewalls, NAT, and Kerberos

Since Kerberos relies heavily on the proper functioning of DNS and some protocol messages include IP addresses in them, firewalls and NAT in particular pose obstacles to the proper functioning of Kerberos. First, let’s examine what ports must be opened on a firewall if Kerberos protocol messages need to pass through it, and then look at the thorny issue of using NAT and Kerberos together.

There are several situations to consider from the perspective of a firewall administrator. The most common is a setup where client machines are located outside of a corporate firewall, and the KDCs and application servers are located inside of the firewall. All machines involved have public IP addresses and NAT is not in use. This setup is pictured in Figure 6-4.

Clients outside firewall, KDC and application servers inside firewall
Figure 6-4. Clients outside firewall, KDC and application servers inside firewall

In order for outside clients to obtain tickets for your Kerberos realm, several ports need to be opened through the firewall to your KDCs. These ports are required in addition to whatever ports are already open to communicate with the application servers. In a scenario like this one, it is very important that no plain text passwords pass through the firewall through your application servers; therefore, it is still recommended that individual applications use a layer of encryption on top of their usual protocol to prevent an accidental ...

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