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Kerberos for unified login

We are looking for a "unified login" for all of our networked resources (Windows, Linux, AIX, Mac and potentially the mainframe). We would like to implement this when we install Active Directory this summer. Do you have any suggestions on how this can be accomplished or where I can find specific information?
Single sign-on is one of those things that every systems administrator longs for, every developer cringes over and every security person has mixed emotions about. Single sign-on makes for less fuss and a unified management domain, but also means that if someone gets into one account, they get into them all.

Nonetheless, the world is probably better off with it than without it. One half of all help desk calls in corporations are for lost passwords.

Given what you are trying to connect together, you should closely examine a technology called Kerberos. It was originally developed at MIT, and many applications have been "Kerberized," as it's called. Kerberos is also at the heart of the new Microsoft systems. Unfortunately, Microsoft has added in their own extensions, so you will have to tweak to get everything working together -- but you'd probably have to do that anyway.

For more information on this topic, visit these other searchSecurity resources:
Best Web Links: Securing Microsoft Applications
Best Web Links: Authentication/Access Control
Tech Tip: Kerberos and network access security

This was last published in January 2002

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