Securing Certificate Services
Standalone and Enterprise Root servers contain the single copy of the company's private key. This component is essential in authenticating any and all access to the PKI-secured data and entry points.
Physical security and data security are both very important
Locking Down Servers
Microsoft provides very
Change the local administrator and guest account
Separating Server Roles
Placing more than a single role on a server makes an attacker's job easier. It then becomes possible to compromise several roles in the company's PKI infrastructure. Certificate Services storage and enrollment can be separated. The following list includes some of the tiers that can be physically placed on separate servers:
Assigning Administrative Roles
Administrators need to work with senior executives to define the roles that will be assigned to personnel within the company when it comes to managing the PKI and
The persons entrusted with issuing smartcards within an organization are known as
Delegating the authority to issue smartcards has administrative as well as security benefits. Some of those benefits are listed here:
There are also some disadvantages to delegating smartcard enrollment. Here are several points to consider:
Getting the Most Out of Smartcards
Any security measure that makes it harder for end-users to do their job is never accepted whole-heartedly. Administrators have to perform
Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP do not support the type of devices known as contact-less smartcards.
Choosing an Appropriate Smartcard
There are a variety of smartcards and USB tokens from which to choose. Smartcards that are used in a Windows Server 2003 environment run on the Microsoft Smartcard operating system. Smartcards and their readers must
Administrators have to plan for the usage requirements for the smartcards or USB tokens. The following list includes some considerations for the physical card or token:
Smartcards and tokens use their memory to store the certificate of the user, the smartcard operating system, and additional applications. To use the smartcard in a Windows logon environment, you must be able to program the card to store the
Smartcards come in two common memory configurations8KB and 32KB. To use the Microsoft Smartcard operating system, you need to specify the 32KB device.
Maximum Length of User's Logon Certificate
The maximum length of the user's logon certificate is 1,024 bits due to fact that it is the largest certificate that will fit in the 2.5KB space provided on the smartcard.
Table 3.1. Typical Smartcard Memory Use (32KB Device)
The memory configuration of the smartcard is ultimately up to the company and the administrator. Smartcards can be divided into public and private memory spaces. You can define separate protected memory for the operating system, certificates, e-wallets, and other applications. This section of the card's memory can be allocated as Read Only.
The memory capacity on smartcards is increasing as vendor technology
Multiple Applications Must Use a Single Smartcard Logon Certificate
Multiple applications, such as physical access and secure
Administrators have three roles of smartcards at their disposal. When planning the company's smartcard deployment you need to determine the number and type of each card.
In better defining the user cards, the two types are as
Smartcard Life Expectancy
Administrators must take into account a few factors when deciding on the type and durability of the smartcards or tokens. These considerations should be based on the normal wear and tear expected on the device and the length of end-user's usage.
When purchasing the smartcard device you should ask the vendor(s) for expected lifetime documentation for the device
The physical device that the computer uses to interface with the smartcard is known as the "smartcard reader." The readers come in a few form factors, including USB, RS-232 serial port, and Personal Computer Memory Card International Association (PCMCIA) Type II slot.
The USB style token device is the simplest of the smartcard/reader combinations because it doesn't require a separate smartcard reader. One item to consider when choosing this type of device is the physical availability and access to
Smartcard Management Tools
You need to evaluate the bundled software that comes with the smartcard or token device. The management software can enable you and the company's developers to customize the memory allocation and custom applications.
Some smartcard and token device manufacturers supply additional security management software as well. This is important when the deployment of smartcards is transitioning from pilot to production as well as maintaining the user's smartcard credentials on the devices.
Custom application development requires a robust application programming interface (API) from the smartcard vendor. This is
Making Users Use Smartcards
Figure 3.1. Group policy smartcard enforcement.
Figure 3.2. Group policy smartcard removal behavior.
Many company expenditures are underused, if used at all, because of increasing end-users perceived complexity. The smartcard is one device that can make the users' experience actually become easier.
Users will find that they don't have to memorize those hard-to-remember strong passwords. Administrators won't find yellow Post-it notes with the user's strong password stuck to the lower-corner of the user's monitor or under her keyboard.