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ldaps

Windows LDAPS expired

A lot of appliances and/or security solutions use LDAP to synchronize users from an Active Directory or an eDirectory environment. Active Directory is LDAP enabled by default. If you would like to harden your network,  you would like to use LDAPS.

LDAPS is a term to refer to LDAP communication over SSL. Intercepted LDAPS traffic cannot be read easily by hackers. In an Active Directory environment you need to have at least one Certificate Authority (CA) to enable LDAPS. Windows uses Server Authentication certificates for the LDAPS operations.

Last week I had a customer complaining that people weren’t able to access their webmail via a Microsoft ISA reverse proxy. The cause of the problem was an expired Server Certificate on the specific domain controller. The reverse proxy server uses LDAPS to authenticate the user against an Active Directory. The following event log was found on the reverse proxy server.

ldaps-error To resolve the problem I had to renew the Server Authentication certificate on the domain controller. I decided to use the “Windows method” by using the Windows CA to renew the certificate. From the domain controller with the expired certificate I opened IE and enter the URL:

http://<IP address CA>/certsrv

This opens the Microsoft Certificate Services webpage of the CA. The following screenshots show the request and installation procedure for the certificate renewal.

01_request-certSince I had to renew a Server Authentication certificate, I choose the option Request a certificate.

02_advanced To request a Server Authentication certificate I choose the option advanced certificate request.

03_create-and-submit Normally I use OpenSSL to generate the certificate signing request, which is submitted to the CA. In that scenario I had to choose option 2. This time I decide to generate the csr via the webpage and choose the first option: Create and submit a request to this CA.

04_webserver The csr is generated with the information from the screenshot above. Because I had to renew a Server Authentication certificate, I choose the Web Server certificate template. The Name field is very important and should match the FQDN of the LDAPS server. It is also important to select the Store certificate in local computer certificate store option. This ensures that the certificate isn’t installed in the user’s certificate store, because the certificate cannot be exported with private key.

When you submit the certificate request, you have to wait until the request is approved. The approval has to be done by someone who manages the CA environment. If you open the CA MMC snap-in you will see one or more pending request. The pending request needs to be approved. After the request was approved, I browsed to the Microsoft Certificate Services webpage, like shown below.

05_status_pendingI choose the option View the status of a pending certificate request. Remember that I did the whole procedure on the LDAPS server to be sure that the certificate is stored in the servers local computer certificate store. The last step involves installing the certificate in the local computers certificate store. After the installation I always check the store to see if the private key is present for the certificate.

06_install_certThe renewal of the certificate is almost done. The LDAPS services depends on the process LSASS.exe. To “associate” the SSL certificate with the LDAPS server I needed to reboot the server. During the reboot the first valid Server Authentication SSL certificate within the local computer certificate store is used by the LDAPS server.

The reverse proxy server was able to use LDAPS again after the reboot of the specific domain controller.

Secure LDAP between Softerra and Novell NDS

Softerra LDAP Browser is a powerful tool for browsing servers, which support LDAP. Using Softerra LDAP Browser against a Novell NDS with secure LDAP is a different story. A secure LDAP connection is a connection which uses SSL certificates to encrypt the data stream.

I had to use my LDAP Browser to query a Novell NDS over a secure LDAP connection. After some searching, troubleshooting and cursing, I finally had a working situation. Here are the steps to perform this task:

  1. Download and install NetScape Communicator 4.8: I hear you think, but you have to install this specific version to retrieve the SSL certificate from the NDS server;
  2. Browse with NetScape to the NDS server: if the NDS server has the IP address 10.10.10.10 and secure LDAP is running on TCP port 636, you should browse to the following URL https://10.10.10.10:636 and accept the certificate;
  3. Retrieve the cert7.db and key3.db files from NetScape and copy to Softerra: after accepting the certificate, two new files are generated in the install directory from NetScape. These files are cert7.db and key3.db. The specific folder, in my situation, is: %install directory%\Users\default\. These files should be copied to the install directory from the Softerra LDAP Browser;
  4. Configure Softerra LDAP Browser: the last step is configuring Softerra LDAP Browser to connect to the NDS server over a secure LDAP connection. When using the correct parameters, the secure LDAP connection should be accessible and you are ready to browse;

Change password through LDAPS on ISA server

Today I received the question about allowing users to changes his/her password through webmail, whereby webmail is published via an ISA server 2006 reverse proxy. This is possible, but it requires the configuration of LDAPS to authenticate users.

I started by configuring a Certificate Authority (CA) on a member server in the domain. During the installation of CA a root certificate is generated. You need to export this root certificate with private key. Next I imported the certificate on the reverse proxy server, but didn’t mark the private key as exportable. So the root certificate cannot be exported from the reverse proxy server with its private key in the future. I checked if binding to the Active Directory is possible by using the tool ldp.exe.

The last part is configuring LDAP Validation in ISA. Go to Configuration –> General –> Specify RADIUS and LDAP Servers. First you need to add a LDAP server set, like shown in the following picture.

Important when configuring the LDAP server set is the usage of the FQDN as LDAP server hostname. This FQDN should be exactly the same compared to the FQDN mentioned in the imported root certificate.

The last step is configuring the LDAP server mapping, which is also shown below.

Because I don’t want to add a domain name during the login procedure on the OWA login page, like DOMAIN\USER, I use the Login Expression wildcard character * and link that to the configured LDAP server set. Now you can login with just username and password, instead of domain\username and password.

Next I configure a OWA Publishing policy like always, but on the Listener I use LDAP as authentication mechanism. On the Listener Forms tab you can enable or disable the options:

  • Allow users to change their passwords;
  • Remind users that their passwords will expire in this number of days;

These options add some extra option to the OWA login page. Another step to configure is the allowed users. In most environments I use the group Domain Users as allowed OWA group, because mostly all users are allowed to use OWA, else you need to configure a separate user group in Active Directory. On the Users tab you remove the All Authenticated Users and click Add. You need to define a new user group, like shown below.

User Group

This means that if you are member of the group Domain Users, you are allowed to use OWA.

The last step is configuring the public path. When logged in to OWA, you have the option to change your password through the options page. To use this feature, you need to added another path to the Path configuration in the reverse proxy server. The path, which should be added, is /iisadmpwd/*, where the External Path is the same as the Internal Path.

Over at isaserver.org, Thomas Shinder wrote a great post about using LDAPS with OWA and multiple domains. The article is called LDAP Pre-Authentication with ISA 2006 Firewalls: Using LDAP to Pre-Authenticate OWA Access.

Exchange 2007 with ISA 2006

Today I have be working on publishing Microsoft Exchange Outlook WebAccess and Active Sync to the Internet. We had some discussions with some Microsoft Consultants about a secure way to publish Outlook Web Access to the Internet, especially the authentication part of such a solution.

Some people are talking about publishing OWA directly to the Internet. In my opinion, this results in a major security thread, because you directly publish a TCP/80 and TCP/443 connection from the Exchange server to the Internet. An vulnerability or exploit in these services could end up in an hacker who takes over the Exchange server.

A second solution is placing a front-end server in a DMZ segment, but making the server a domain member for authentication. In my opinion still a security leak, because somebody who hacks the DMZ server has maybe the ability to hack or corrupt the Active Directory.

The third solution, and the solution we advise, is using a Microsoft ISA 2006 server as a front-end server in the DMZ. We configure a RADIUS or LDAPS (if you would like the option to change the password) connection to a RADIUS server or a domain member on the internal LAN segment. This ensures a secure way of authenticating users and even if somebody hacks the ISA server, he still hasn’t hacked a domain member server or a vulnerability in TCP/80 or TCP/443 of the Exchange server.

I have had a lot of help of an article on isaserver.org from Thomas Shinder while configuring the solution. I had some problems with publishing Active Sync. Ended up with enabling Basic Authentication on the Active Sync virtual directory (Microsoft-Server-ActiveSync).