On my campaign for multi-layer network security, we finally enabled 802.1X authentication for wired users in one of our remote offices as a pilot.
(Isn’t it funny how something you mention as an aside can get turned into a full blown project with “can we get this done by the next security meeting?”…)
We have a mix of company issued Windows “productivity” machines, developer Linux and Windows boxes and then the personal laptops (like my powerbook). Everything we do to protect the productivity network has to be Mac compatible because “we” are finally going to support (and provide) Macs!
So, Windows XP 802.1X authentication. By default it’s already configured to try authenticating with a client certificate. This is almost perfect… just one registry setting to be pushed out to tell the stack to use system certificates and authenticate as a machine account, and that meets the goal for the pilot.
Using Microsoft Internet Authentication Service on the domain controllers – very, very, very simple configuration… so simple that this router jockey documented the config.
The client cert comes from the Windows domain… it’s “non-exportable” (whatever that means).
Now the real work begins – trying to get similar functionality on the Mac platform. (Similar functionality here means as little user interaction as possible Yes, the Mac supports 802.1X, but it’s not on by default and is pretty well hidden and needs configuration to work. The client certs don’t appear automatically (why would they? The Macs don’t typically log in to the Windows domain), and so far I haven’t found such a thing as a machine certificate thats non-exportable.
I fully expect that we’ll get the Macs working just as we find the money and time to stop using the built in supplicants and use something that will let us do some security posture analysis (probably
Funk’s Juniper’s Odyssey Access Client).
Categories : 802.1X, Security