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6 Things in search for a better place

6.1 Making things work on Ciscos

Modern versions of Cisco IOS has some support for authenticating via Kerberos 5. This can be used both by having the router get a ticket when you login (boring), and by using Kerberos authenticated telnet to access your router (less boring). The following has been tested on IOS 11.2(12), things might be different with other versions. Old versions are known to have bugs.

To make this work, you will first have to configure your router to use Kerberos (this is explained in the documentation). A sample configuration looks like the following:

     aaa new-model
     aaa authentication login default krb5-telnet krb5 enable
     aaa authorization exec krb5-instance
     kerberos local-realm FOO.SE
     kerberos srvtab entry host/router.foo.se 0 891725446 4 1 8 012345678901234567
     kerberos server FOO.SE 10.0.0.1
     kerberos instance map admin 15

This tells you (among other things) that when logging in, the router should try to authenticate with kerberised telnet, and if that fails try to verify a plain text password via a Kerberos ticket exchange (as opposed to a local database, RADIUS or something similar), and if that fails try the local enable password. If you're not careful when you specify the `login default' authentication mechanism, you might not be able to login at all. The `instance map' and `authorization exec' lines says that people with `admin' instances should be given `enabled' shells when logging in.

The numbers after the principal on the `srvtab' line are principal type, time stamp (in seconds since 1970), key version number (4), keytype (1 == des), key length (always 8 with des), and then the key.

To make the Heimdal KDC produce tickets that the Cisco can decode you might have to turn on the `encode_as_rep_as_tgs_rep' flag in the KDC. You will also have to specify that the router can't handle anything but `des-cbc-crc'. This can be done with the `del_enctype' command of `kadmin'.

This all fine and so, but unless you have an IOS version with encryption (available only in the U.S) it doesn't really solve any problems. Sure you don't have to send your password over the wire, but since the telnet connection isn't protected it's still possible for someone to steal your session. This won't be fixed until someone adds integrity to the telnet protocol.

A working solution would be to hook up a machine with a real operating system to the console of the Cisco and then use it as a backwards terminal server.