Kerberos Working Group                                          Karthik
Internet Draft                                                Larry Zhu
Document: draft-ietf-krb-wg-kerberos-referrals-03.txt       John Brezak
Category: Standards Track                                     Microsoft
                                                             Mike Swift
                                                          University of
                                                       Jonathan Trostle
                                                          Cisco Systems
                                                        Expires: August

           Generating KDC Referrals to locate Kerberos realms

Status of this Memo

   This document is an Internet-Draft and is in full conformance with
   all provisions of Section 10 of RFC2026 [1].

   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. Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of
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   documents at any time. It is inappropriate to use Internet- Drafts
   as reference material or to cite them other than as "work in

   The list of current Internet-Drafts can be accessed at
   The list of Internet-Draft Shadow Directories can be accessed at

1. Abstract

   The draft documents a new method for a Kerberos Key Distribution
   Center (KDC) to respond to client requests for kerberos tickets when
   the client does not have detailed configuration information on the
   realms of users or services. The KDC will handle requests for
   principals in other realms by returning either a referral error or a
   cross-realm TGT to another realm on the referral path. The clients
   will use this referral information to reach the realm of the target
   principal and then receive the ticket.

2. Conventions used in this document

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   this document are to be interpreted as described in RFC-2119 [2].

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3. Introduction

   Current implementations of the Kerberos AS and TGS protocols, as
   defined in [3], use principal names constructed from a known user or
   service name and realm. A service name is typically constructed from
   a name of the service and the DNS host name of the computer that is
   providing the service. Many existing deployments of Kerberos use a
   single Kerberos realm where all users and services would be using
   the same realm. However in an environment where there are multiple
   trusted Kerberos realms, the client needs to be able to determine
   what realm a particular user or service is in before making an AS or
   TGS request. Traditionally this requires client configuration to
   make this possible.

   When having to deal with multiple trusted realms, users are forced
   to know what realm they are in before they can obtain a ticket
   granting ticket (TGT) with an AS request. However, in many cases the
   user would like to use a more familiar name that is not directly
   related to the realm of their Kerberos principal name. A good
   example of this is an RFC-822 style email name. This document
   describes a mechanism that would allow a user to specify a user
   principal name that is an alias for the user's Kerberos principal
   name. In practice this would be the name that the user specifies to
   obtain a TGT from a Kerberos KDC. The user principal name no longer
   has a direct relationship with the Kerberos principal or realm. Thus
   the administrator is able to move the user's principal to other
   realms without the user having to know that it happened.

   Once a user has a TGT, they would like to be able to access services
   in any trusted Kerberos realm. To do this requires that the client
   be able to determine what realm the target service's host is in
   before making the TGS request. Current implementations of Kerberos
   typically have a table that maps DNS host names to corresponding
   Kerberos realms. In order for this to work on the client, each
   application canonicalizes the host name of the service by doing a
   DNS lookup followed by a reverse lookup using the returned IP
   address. The returned primary host name is then used in the
   construction of the principal name for the target service. In order
   for the correct realm to be added for the target host, the mapping
   table [domain_to_realm] is consulted for the realm corresponding to
   the DNS host name. The corresponding realm is then used to complete
   the target service principal name.

   This traditional mechanism requires that each client have very
   detailed configuration information about the hosts that are
   providing services and their corresponding realms. Having client
   side configuration information can be very costly from an
   administration point of view - especially if there are many realms
   and computers in the environment.

   There are also cases where specific DNS aliases (local names) have
   been setup in an organization to refer to a server in another
   organization (remote server). The server has different DNS names in

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   each organization and each organization has a Kerberos realm that is
   configured to service DNS names within that organization. Ideally
   users are able to authenticate to the server in the other
   organization using the local server name. This would mean that the
   local realm be able to produce a ticket to the remote server under
   its name. You could give that remote server an identity in the local
   realm and then have that remote server maintain a separate secret
   for each alias it is known as. Alternatively you could arrange to
   have the local realm issue a referral to the remote realm and notify
   the requesting client of the server's remote name that should be
   used in order to request a ticket.

   This draft proposes a solution for these problems and simplifies
   administration by minimizing the configuration information needed on
   each computer using Kerberos. Specifically it describes a mechanism
   to allow the KDC to handle Canonicalization of names, provide for
   principal aliases for users and services and provide a mechanism for
   the KDC to determine the trusted realm authentication path by being
   able to generate referrals to other realms in order to locate

   To rectify these problems, this draft introduces three new kinds of
   KDC referrals:

   1. AS ticket referrals, in which the client doesn't know which realm
      contains a user account.
   2. TGS ticket referrals, in which the client doesn't know which
      realm contains a server account.
   3. Cross realm shortcut referrals, in which the KDC chooses the next
      path on a referral chain

4. Realm Organization Model

   This draft assumes that the world of principals is arranged on
   multiple levels: the realm, the enterprise, and the world. A KDC may
   issue tickets for any principal in its realm or cross-realm tickets
   for realms with which it has a direct trust relationship. The KDC
   also has access to a trusted name service that can resolve any name
   from within its enterprise into a realm. This trusted name service
   removes the need to use an untrusted DNS lookup for name resolution.

   For example, consider the following configuration, where lines
   indicate trust relationships:

                /        \
               /          \

   In this configuration, all users in the MS.COM enterprise could have
   a principal name such as alice@MS.COM, with the same realm portion.
   In addition, servers at MS.COM should be able to have DNS host names

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   from any DNS domain independent of what Kerberos realm their
   principal resides in.

5. Client Name Canonicalization

   A client account may have multiple principal names. More useful,
   though, is a globally unique name that allows unification of email
   and security principal names. For example, all users at MS may have
   a client principal name of the form "joe@MS.COM" even though the
   principals are contained in multiple realms. This global name is
   again an alias for the true client principal name, which indicates
   what realm contains the principal. Thus, accounts "alice" in the
   realm NT.MS.COM and "bob" in OFFICE.MS.COM may logon as
   "alice@MS.COM" and "bob@MS.COM".

   This utilizes a new client principal name type, as the AS-REQ
   message only contains a single realm field, and the realm portion of
   this name doesn't correspond to any Kerberos realm. Thus, the entire
   name "alice@MS.COM" is transmitted in the client name field of the
   AS-REQ message, with a name type of KRB-NT-ENTERPRISE-PRINCIPAL.


   The KDC will recognize this name type and then transform the
   requested name into the true principal name. The true principal name
   can be using a name type different from the requested name type.
   Typically the returned principal name will be a KRB-NT-PRINCIPAL.
   The returned name will be the same in the AS response and in the
   ticket. The KDC will always return a different name type than KRB-
   NT-ENTERPRISE-PRINCIPAL. This is regardless of the presence of the
   "canonicalize" KDC option.

   If the "canonicalize" KDC option is set, then the KDC MAY change the
   client principal name and type in the AS response and ticket
   regardless of the name type of the client name in the request. For
   example the AS request may specify a client name of "fred@MS.COM" as
   an KRB-NT-PRINCIPAL with the "canonicalize" KDC option set and the
   KDC will return with a client name of "104567" as a KRB-NT-UID.

6. Requesting a referral

   In order to request referrals, the Kerberos client must explicitly
   request the canonicalize KDC option (bit 15) in the KDC options for
   the TGS-REQ. This flag indicates to the KDC that the client is
   prepared to receive a reply that contains a principal name other
   than the one requested. Thus, the KDCOptions types is redefined as:

        KDCOptions ::=   BIT STRING {

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   The client should expect, when sending names with the "canonicalize"
   KDC option, that names in the KDC's reply will be different than the
   name in the request.

6.1 Client Referrals

   The simplest form of ticket referral is for a user requesting a
   ticket using an AS-REQ. In this case, the client machine will send
   the AS request to a convenient trusted realm, either the realm of
   the client machine or the realm of the client name. In the case of
   the name Alice@MS.COM, the client may optimistically choose to send
   the request to MS.COM. The realm in the AS request is always the
   name of the realm that the request is for as specified in [3].

   The client will send the string "alice@MS.COM" in the client
   principal name field using the KRB-NT-ENTERPRISE-PRINCIPAL name type
   with the crealm set to MS.COM. The KDC will try to lookup the name
   in its local account database. If the account is present in the
   realm of the request, it MUST return a KDC reply structure with the
   appropriate ticket.

   If the account is not present in the realm specified in the request
   and the "canonicalize" KDC option is set, the KDC will try to lookup
   the entire name, Alice@MS.COM, using a name service. If this lookup
   is unsuccessful, it MUST return the error
   KDC_ERR_C_PRINCIPAL_UNKNOWN. If the lookup is successful, it MUST
   return an error KDC_ERR_WRONG_REALM (0x44) and in the error message
   the crealm field will contain the the true realm of the client or
   another realm that has better information about the client's true
   realm. The client MUST NOT use a cname returned from a referral.

   If the KDC contains the account locally and "canonicalize" KDC
   option is not set, it MUST return a normal ticket. The client name
   and realm portions of the ticket and KDC reply message MUST be the
   client's true name in the realm, not the globally unique name.

   If the client receives a KDC_ERR_WRONG_REALM error, it will issue a
   new AS request with the same client principal name used to generate
   the first referral to the realm specified by the realm field of the

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   kerberos error message from the first request. This request MUST
   produce a valid AS response with a ticket for the canonical user

   An implementation should limit the number of referrals that it
   processes to avoid infinite referral loops. A suggested limit is 5
   referrals before giving up. In MicrosoftÆs implementation the
   default limit is 3 since through the use of the global catalog any
   domain in one forest is reachable from any other domain in another
   trusting forest with 3 or less referrals.

6.2 Service Referrals

   The primary problem is that the KDC must return a referral ticket
   rather than an error message as is done in AS request referrals.
   There needs to be a place to include in the TGS response information
   about what realm contains the service. This is done by returning
   information about the service name in the pre-auth data field of the
   KDC reply.

   If the KDC resolves the service principal name into a principal in
   the realm specified by the service realm name, it will return a
   normal ticket. When using canonicalization, the client can omit the
   service realm name. If it is supplied, it is used as a hint by the
   KDC, but the service principal lookup is not constrained to locating
   the service principal name in that specified realm. If the
   "canonicalize" flag in the KDC options is not set, then the KDC MUST
   only look up the name as a normal principal name in the specified
   service realm.

   If the "canonicalize" flag in the KDC options is set and the KDC
   doesn't find the principal locally, the KDC can return a cross-realm
   ticket granting ticket to the next hop on the trust path towards a
   realm that may be able to resolve the principal name.

   If the KDC can determine the service principal's realm, it SHOULD
   return the service realm as KDC supplied pre-authentication data
   element. The preauth data MUST be encrypted using the sub-session
   key from the authenticator if present or the session key from the

   The data itself is an ASN.1 encoded structure containing the
   server's realm, and if known, the real principal name.

                PA-SERVER-REFERRAL-INFO        25

                                           -- PA-SERVER-REFERRAL-DATA

                        referred-server-realm[0]  KERB-REALM
                        referred-name[1]         PrincipalName OPTIONAL

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   If applicable to the encryption type, the key derivation value will
   for the PA-SERVER-REFERRAL is 22.

   If the referred-name field is present, the client MUST use that name
   in a subsequent TGS request to the service realm when following the

   The client will use this information to request a chain of cross-
   realm ticket granting tickets until it reaches the realm of the
   service, and can then expect to receive a valid service ticket.

   However an implementation should limit the number of referrals that
   it processes to avoid infinite referral loops. A suggested limit is
   5 referrals before giving up.

   This is an example of a client requesting a service ticket for a
   service in realm NT.MS.COM where the client is in OFFICE.MS.COM.

        +NC = Canonicalize KDCOption set

        C: TGS-REQ sname=server/ srealm=NULL +NC to
        containing NT.MS.COM
        C: TGS-REQ sname=krbtgt/NT.MS.COM@MS.COM +NC to MS.COM
        S: TGS-REP sname=krbtgt/NT.MS.COM@MS.COM
        C: TGS-REQ sname=server/ srealm=NT.MS.COM +NC to
        S: TGS-REP sname=server/

   Notice that the client only specifies the service name in the
   initial and final TGS request.

7. Cross Realm Routing

   The current Kerberos protocol requires the client to explicitly
   request a cross-realm TGT for each pair of realms on a referral
   chain. As a result, the client need to be aware of the trust
   hierarchy and of any short-cut trusts (those that aren't parent-
   child trusts). Instead, the client should be able to request a TGT
   to the target realm from each realm on the route. The KDC will
   determine the best path for the client and return a cross-realm TGT.
   The client has to be aware that a request for a cross-realm TGT may
   return a TGT for a realm different from the one requested.

   For compatibility, the client MUST use the "canonicalize" KDC option
   if it is able to use cross-realm routing from the KDC.

8. Compatibility with earlier implementations of name canonicalization

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   The Microsoft Windows 2000 release included an earlier form of name-
   canonicalization [4]. It has these differences:

   1) The TGS referral data was returned inside of the KDC message as
      "encrypted pre auth data".

                        session-key[0]   KERB-ENCRYPTION-KEY,
                        last-request[1]  PKERB-LAST-REQUEST,
                        nonce[2]         INTEGER,
                        key-expiration[3] KERB-TIME OPTIONAL,
                        flags[4]         KERB-TICKET-FLAGS,
                        authtime[5]      KERB-TIME,
                        starttime[6]     KERB-TIME OPTIONAL,
                        endtime[7]       KERB-TIME,
                        renew-until[8]   KERB-TIME OPTIONAL,
                        server-realm[9]  KERB-REALM,
                        server-name[10]  KERB-PRINCIPAL-NAME,
                        client-addresses[11] PKERB-HOST-ADDRESSES
                        encrypted-pa-data[12] SEQUENCE OF KERB-PA-DATA

   2) The preauth data type definition in the encrypted preauth data is
      as follows:

                PA-SVR-REFERRAL-INFO        20

                PA-SVR-REFERRAL-DATA ::= SEQUENCE {
                        referred-server-name[1]  PrincipalName OPTIONAL
                        referred-server-realm[0] KERB-REALM

9. Security Considerations

   In the case of TGS requests the client may be vulnerable to a denial
   of service attack by an attacker that replays replies from previous
   requests. The client can verify that the request was one of its own
   by checking the client-address field or authtime field, though, so
   the damage is limited and detectable. Clients MUST NOT process cross
   realm referral TGTs if the KDC reply does not include the encrypted

   For the AS exchange case, it is important that the logon mechanism
   not trust a name that has not been used to authenticate the user.
   For example, the name that the user enters as part of a logon
   exchange may not be the name that the user authenticates as, given
   that the KDC_ERR_WRONG_REALM error may have been returned. The
   relevant Kerberos naming information for logon (if any), is the

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   client name and client realm in the service ticket targeted at the
   workstation that was obtained using the user's initial TGT.

   How the client name and client realm is mapped into a local account
   for logon is a local matter, but the client logon mechanism MUST use
   additional information such as the client realm and/or authorization
   attributes from the service ticket presented to the workstation by
   the user, when mapping the logon credentials to a local account on
   the workstation.

10. Acknowledgements
   The authors wish to thank Ken Raeburn for his comments and

11.1 Normative References

   1  Bradner, S., "The Internet Standards Process -- Revision 3", BCP
      9, RFC 2026, October 1996.

   2  Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement
      Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997

   3  Neuman, C., Kohl, J., Ts'o, T., Yu, T., Hartman, S., and K.
      Raeburn, "The Kerberos Network Authentication Service (V5)",
      draft-ietf-krb-wg-kerberos-clarifications-00.txt, February 22,
      2002.  Work in progress.

11.2 Informative References

   4  J. Trostle, I. Kosinovsky, and M. Swift,"Implementation of
      Crossrealm Referral Handling in the MIT Kerberos Client", In
      Network and Distributed System Security Symposium, February 2001.

12. Author's Addresses

   Karthik Jaganathan
   One Microsoft Way
   Redmond, Washington

   Larry Zhu
   One Microsoft Way
   Redmond, Washington

   Michael Swift
   University of Washington

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   Seattle, Washington

   John Brezak
   One Microsoft Way
   Redmond, Washington

   Jonathan Trostle
   Cisco Systems
   170 W. Tasman Dr.
   San Jose, CA 95134

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