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Addition of Kerberos Cipher Suites to Transport Layer Security (TLS)

The information below is for an old version of the document that is already published as an RFC.
Document Type
This is an older version of an Internet-Draft that was ultimately published as RFC 2712.
Authors Ari Medvinsky , Matt Hur
Last updated 2018-07-21 (Latest revision 1999-09-02)
RFC stream Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)
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IESG IESG state RFC 2712 (Proposed Standard)
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INTERNET-DRAFT                                        Ari Medvinsky
Transport Layer Security Working Group                       Excite
draft-ietf-tls-kerb-cipher-suites-04.txt                Matthew Hur
August 21, 1999 (Expires January 22, 2000)    CyberSafe Corporation

Addition of Kerberos Cipher Suites to Transport Layer Security (TLS)

0. Status Of this Memo

This document is an Internet-Draft and is in full conformance with
all provisions of section 10 of RFC 2026.  Internet-Drafts are
working documents of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF),
its areas, and its working groups.  Note that other groups may
also distribute working documents as Internet-Drafts.

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months and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other
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1. Abstract

This document proposes the addition of new cipher suites to the TLS
protocol [1] to support Kerberos-based authentication.  Kerberos
credentials are used to achieve mutual authentication and to establish
a master secret which is subsequently used to secure client-server

2. Introduction

Flexibility is one of the main strengths of the TLS protocol.
Clients and servers can negotiate cipher suites to meet specific
security and administrative policies.  However, to date, authentication
in TLS is limited only to public key solutions.  As a result, TLS does
not fully support organizations with heterogeneous security deployments
that include authentication systems based on symmetric cryptography.
Kerberos, originally developed at MIT, is based on an open standard[2]
and is the most widely deployed symmetric key authentication system.
This document proposes a new option for negotiating Kerberos
authentication within the TLS framework.  This achieves mutual
authentication and the establishment of a master secret using Kerberos
credentials.  The proposed changes are minimal and, in fact, no
different from adding a new public key algorithm to the TLS framework.

3. Kerberos Authentication Option In TLS

This section describes the addition of the Kerberos authentication
option to the TLS protocol.  Throughout this document, we refer to the
basic SSL handshake shown in Figure 1.  For a review of the TLS
handshake see [1].

 CLIENT                                             SERVER
 ------                                             ------
                                                    Certificate *
change cipher spec
    |              -------------------------------->
    |                                               change cipher spec
    |                                               Finished
    |                                                   |
    |                                                   |
Application Data   <------------------------------->Application Data

FIGURE 1: The TLS protocol.  All messages followed by a star are
          optional.  Note: This figure was taken from an IETF draft [1].

The TLS security context is negotiated in the client and server hello
messages.  For example: TLS_RSA_WITH_RC4_MD5 means the initial
authentication will be done using the RSA public key algorithm, RC4 will
be used for the session key, and MACs will be based on the MD5
algorithm.  Thus, to facilitate the Kerberos authentication option, we
must start by defining new cipher suites including (but not limited to):

CipherSuite      TLS_KRB5_WITH_DES_CBC_SHA            = { 0x00,0x1E };
CipherSuite      TLS_KRB5_WITH_3DES_EDE_CBC_SHA       = { 0x00,0x1F };
CipherSuite      TLS_KRB5_WITH_RC4_128_SHA            = { 0x00,0x20 };
CipherSuite      TLS_KRB5_WITH_IDEA_CBC_SHA           = { 0x00,0x21 };
CipherSuite      TLS_KRB5_WITH_DES_CBC_MD5            = { 0x00,0x22 };
CipherSuite      TLS_KRB5_WITH_3DES_EDE_CBC_MD5       = { 0x00,0x23 };
CipherSuite      TLS_KRB5_WITH_RC4_128_MD5            = { 0x00,0x24 };
CipherSuite      TLS_KRB5_WITH_IDEA_CBC_MD5           = { 0x00,0x25 };

CipherSuite      TLS_KRB5_EXPORT_WITH_DES_CBC_40_SHA  = { 0x00,0x26 };
CipherSuite      TLS_KRB5_EXPORT_WITH_RC2_CBC_40_SHA  = { 0x00,0x27 };
CipherSuite      TLS_KRB5_EXPORT_WITH_RC4_40_SHA      = { 0x00,0x28 };
CipherSuite      TLS_KRB5_EXPORT_WITH_DES_CBC_40_MD5  = { 0x00,0x29 };
CipherSuite      TLS_KRB5_EXPORT_WITH_RC2_CBC_40_MD5  = { 0x00,0x2A };
CipherSuite      TLS_KRB5_EXPORT_WITH_RC4_40_MD5      = { 0x00,0x2B };

To establish a Kerberos-based security context, one or more of the above
cipher suites must be specified in the client hello message.  If the TLS
server supports the Kerberos authentication option, the server hello
message, sent to the client, will confirm the Kerberos cipher suite
selected by the server.  The server's certificate, the client

CertificateRequest, and the ServerKeyExchange shown in Figure 1 will be
omitted since authentication and the establishment of a master secret
will be done using the client's Kerberos credentials for the TLS server.
The client's certificate will be omitted for the same reason.  Note that
these messages are specified as optional in the TLS protocol; therefore,
omitting them is permissible.

The Kerberos option must be added to the ClientKeyExchange message as
shown in Figure 2.

    select (KeyExchangeAlgorithm)
        case krb5:            KerberosWrapper;       /* new addition */
        case rsa:             EncryptedPreMasterSecret;
        case diffie_hellman:  ClientDiffieHellmanPublic;
    } Exchange_keys;

} ClientKeyExchange;

    opaque Ticket;
    opaque authenticator;            /* optional */
    opaque EncryptedPreMasterSecret; /* encrypted with the session key
                                        which is sealed in the ticket */
} KerberosWrapper;                   /* new addition */

FIGURE 2: The Kerberos option in the ClientKeyExchange.

To use the Kerberos authentication option, the TLS client must obtain a
service ticket for the TLS server.  In TLS, the ClientKeyExchange
message is used to pass a random 48-byte pre-master secret to the server.

The client and server then use the pre-master secret to independently
derive the master secret, which in turn is used for generating session
keys and for MAC computations.  Thus, if the Kerberos option is selected,
the pre-master secret structure is the same as that used in the RSA case;
it is encrypted under the Kerberos session key and sent to the TLS server
along with the Kerberos credentials (see Figure 2).  The ticket and
authenticator are encoded per RFC 1510 (ASN.1 encoding).  Once the
ClientKeyExchange message is received, the server's secret key is used to
unwrap the credentials and extract the pre-master secret.

Note that a Kerberos authenticator is not required, since the master
secret derived by the client and server is seeded with a random value
passed in the server hello message, thus foiling replay attacks.
However, the authenticator may still prove useful for passing
authorization information and is thus allotted an optional field (see
Figure 2).

Lastly, the client and server exchange the finished messages to complete
the handshake.  At this point we have achieved the following:
1) A master secret, used to protect all subsequent communication, is
securely established.

2) Mutual client-server authentication is achieved, since the TLS
server proves knowledge of the master secret in the finished message.

Note that the Kerberos option fits in seamlessly, without adding any new

4. Naming Conventions:

To obtain an appropriate service ticket, the TLS client must determine
the principal name of the TLS server.  The Kerberos service naming
convention is used for this purpose, as follows:
     - The literal, "host", follows the Kerberos convention when not
       concerned about the protection domain on a particular machine.
     - "MachineName" is the particular instance of the service.
     - The Kerberos "Realm" is the domain name of the machine.

5. Summary

The proposed Kerberos authentication option is added in exactly the
same manner as a new public key algorithm would be added to TLS.
Furthermore, it establishes the master secret in exactly the same manner.

6. Security Considerations

Kerberos ciphersuites are subject to the same security considerations as
the TLS protocol.  In addition, just as a public key implementation must
take care to protect the private key (for example the PIN for a
smartcard), a Kerberos implementation must take care to protect the long
lived secret that is shared between the principal and the KDC.  In
particular, a weak password may be subject to a dictionary attack.  In
order to strengthen the initial authentication to a KDC, an implementor
may choose to utilize secondary authentication via a token card, or one
may utilize initial authentication to the KDC based on public key
cryptography (commonly known as PKINIT - a product of the Common
Authentication Technology working group of the IETF).

7. Acknowledgements

We would like to thank Clifford Neuman for his invaluable comments on
earlier versions of this document.

8. References

[1] T. Dierks, C. Allen.
The TLS Protocol, Version 1.0 - RFC 2246.

[2] J. Kohl and C. Neuman
The Kerberos Network Authentication Service (V5) RFC 1510.

Authors' Addresses

    Ari Medvinsky
    555 Broadway
    Redwood City, CA 94063
    Phone +1 650 569 2119

    Matthew Hur
    CyberSafe Corporation
    1605 NW Sammamish Road
    Issaquah WA 98027-5378
    Phone: +1 425 391 6000