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Kerberos is the preferred single sign-on authentication system in many medium and large information systems. It’s designed to centralize the authentication information for any user or entity requesting access to resources. Kerberos uses symmetric key cryptography and assigns tickets to the entity that requests access. When a user attempts to access the local system, a local agent or process dispatches an authentication attempt to the Kerberos ticket-granting server (TGS). The TGS delivers the encrypted credentials for the user attempting to access the system. The local agent decodes the credentials using the user-supplied password. If the right password has been delivered, the user is validated and assigned authentication tickets, allowing access other Kerberos-authenticated services. A user is also assigned a set of cipher keys that can be used to encrypt all data sessions. All services and users in the system are given tickets from the TGS and are authenticated by an authentication server (AS). This provides a single source of authority to track and authenticate users. Realms can trust one another, this helps ensure the scalability of Kerberos systems.

Kerberos is applied by a…

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