Unauthorized access, unsigned applications (malware) and unsecured email. What can help prevent these top 3 cyberthreats impacting organizations today? Public key infrastructure (PKI). Mark explains PKI and authentication in an article in ISACA’s The Nexus. I like his analogy describing PKI as “a virtual, encrypted handshake.” Check out the article.
We work in a bring-your-own-devices (BYOD) culture, which raises questions and challenges around identity and access management. Mark was interviewed by Solutions Review about BYOD security issues and what organizations can do. Check out the Q&A.
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises innovation and helpfulness, but it also raises cybersecurity challenges for organizations, as IoT devices typically lack any sort of security platform. Mark outlines security risks and offers up recommendations. Check out the Q&A he did with Solutions Review.
According to Pew Research Center, 84 percent of adults rely primarily on memorization or pen and paper to store passwords. But we know that storing passwords on paper could lead to exposure. Instead, using a complex password, combined with password management, and two-factor or multi-factor authentication can help greatly reduce risks. Especially with phishing on the rise.
Mark wrote an article on tips to implement two-factor and multi-factor authentication for Cyber Oregon. Cyber Oregon’s mission is to build tangible solutions to protect the digital lives of all Oregonians. The Cyber Oregon Awareness Initiative is powered by an active consortium of industry, educational institutions, organizations, and state/local government agencies. You can read Mark’s complete article here.
Microsoft just released their official statement and support for Certificate Transparency. I will be writing a full article covering this update as there are several key areas that are lacking in the Microsoft documentation. So in the interest of spreading the word on the official announcement, here is the link:
PKI Solutions offers a complete set of PKI consulting, training, professional services, support and assessments with a particular emphasis on Microsoft Active Directory Certificate Services. As the demand for cybersecurity and the increased protection offered by PKI technologies continues to grow in the enterprise and the Internet of Things, so too is PKI Solutions Inc. Do you have deep knowledge and hands-on expertise in ADCS and PKI technologies? Do you enjoy working with other like-minded professionals to design, configure and support PKIs? Here’s an opportunity to showcase your expert-level knowledge and focus on what you do best. If this sounds interesting and you can hit the ground running, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your resume and tell us a little about yourself.
A common question I often get from customers and students is about Microsoft’s Cryptographic Service Providers (CSP). The CSPs are responsible for creating, storing and accessing cryptographic keys – the underpinnings of any certificate and PKI. These keys can be symmetric or asymmetric, RSA, Elliptical Key or a host of others such as DES, 3DES, and so forth. Selecting a cryptographic provider determines what type, size and storage of key will be used – in our case, for a certificate. There are also 3rd party providers for devices such as smart cards and hardware security modules. For the purposes of this article, I will be addressing the standard Microsoft CSPs and the newer Crypto-Next Generation KSPs, their capabilities and the primary purposes you may use them.
Let me start by saying there are many more CSPs than you will typically ever need to use. To that end, in the comparison tables below, I have broken the providers into three tables. Modern Crypto-Next Generation (CNG) providers that are recommended, followed by legacy CAPI (RSA only) providers and the last table is deprecated providers seldom used anymore. In reviewing this list, the primary things we are evaluating are what types of keys can be used, their size, protections, and compatibility.
For the short answer, refer to ThePKIGuy Recommendations for each provider to see where and why you may use a specific provider.
Modern Microsoft cryptography providers
Provider Name & Type
Default Microsoft Templates
Microsoft Software Key Storage Provider (CNG)
Standard windows software based RSA and ECC provider.
OCSP Response Signing (KSP Required, Provider not specific)
Use this for any modern CNG supported key storage and creation
Microsoft Smart Card Key Storage Provider (CNG)
Supports smart card key creation and use
Use only if creating/using keys in a smart card
Microsoft Platform Crypto Provider (CNG)
Generates and stores keys in Trusted Platform Modules. Supports Key Attestation to allow CA to ensure key is created in TPM/Virtual smart card
Use only if creating/storing keys in a Trusted Platform Module
Supports hashing, data signing, and signature verification. The algorithm identifier CALG_SSL3_SHAMD5 is used for SSL 3.0 and TLS 1.0 client authentication. This CSP supports key derivation for the SSL2, PCT1, SSL3 and TLS1 protocols.
Directory Email Replication
Domain Controller Authentication
RAS and IAS Server
Router (Offline request)
Use this for any network/SSL/TLS when you must use a CSP provider
Supports Diffie-Hellman key exchange (a 40-bit DES derivative), SHA hashing, DSS data signing, and DSS signature verification. Derived from Base DSS and Diffie-Hellman Cryptographic Provider. Adds support for RC2/4, DES and 3DES encryption
EFS Recovery Agent
Enrollment Agent (Computer)
Exchange Enrollment Agent (Offline request)
Exchange Signature Only
Key Recovery Agent
Trust List Signing
User Signature Only
If using legacy CSP and you have no need for encryption this is fine.
Supports hashing, data signing with DSS, generating Diffie-Hellman (D-H) keys, exchanging D-H keys, and exporting a D-H key. This CSP supports key derivation for the SSL3 and TLS1 protocols. This CSP supports key derivation for the SSL3 and TLS1 protocols.
Legacy - Don’t use unless you are needing to support the built in Web Server template to enable IIS enrollments via GUI
An extension of the Microsoft Base Cryptographic Provider available with Windows XP and later. Default RSA CSP. Derivative of Microsoft Enchanced Cryptographic Provider. Supports all the same key lengths, but lacks configurable Salt length for RC encryption algorithms.
A superset of the DSS Cryptographic Provider that also supports Diffie-Hellman key exchange, hashing, data signing, and signature verification using the Secure Hash Algorithm (SHA) and Digital Signature Standard (DSS) algorithms.
Diffie Hellman (Key Exchange)
Deprecated - Don’t Use
Deprecated providers that are seldom used and should be avoided unless compatibility or business requirements define otherwise
Have a specific scenario where one of these providers was needed for another purpose? Have you been explicitly told to use a provider to support an application? If so, let me know so we can sort through the data and get it added to the list!
We’re pleased to announce that we’re unveiling our new company logo on our website today. The PKIGuy and the rest of the team here are excited to welcome you to our first-ever PKI Solutions logo contest!
Since cryptography is the art of writing and solving codes, we decided to have some fun with the roll-out of our new logo and get you guys involved. We want to invite you to participate in our contest to see how many cryptography clues and graphic elements that you can find in our logo.
In my last blog post (Backing up ADCS Certificate Authorities Part 1) I covered the inner workings of how ADCS and the Jet database works to maintain the CA data. In this post I am going to go over a comprehensive PowerShell script that I wrote to perform a full backup of all necessary ADCS components. In addition, this backup will ensure the CA performs the necessary log maintenance and truncation that I indicated was vital in Part 1. (more…)
One of the areas I have spoken about extensively at conferences and cover in my training classes is the unique issues associated with backing up and managing your ADCS Certificate Authority. There are several items I would like to address in this two-part series:
CA Database and log file structure
Unique issues with VM Snapshots with ADCS
CA Private Key backups (and when they aren’t happening)