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Certificate Services example implementation: Key archival and recovery

Updated: November 5, 2012

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Certificate Services example implementation: Key archival and recovery

Here are the tasks required for using key recovery with a Microsoft certification authority (CA):

  1. Create a key recovery agent account

  2. Acquire the key recovery agent certificate

  3. Configure the certification authority to allow key recovery

  4. Create a new certificate template that allows key archiving

  5. Acquire an user certificate that has an archived key

  6. Perform key recovery

  7. Import the recovered private key

Note

  • Steps 6 and 7 are not required to configure key archival. They are used when a private key is lost and key recovery must take place.

Prerequisites

Before doing these tasks, for the purposes of this walkthrough:

  • You must have a Windows Server 2003 domain controller. A fictitious domain, adventure-works.com, is used in this walkthrough.

  • The Windows Server 2003 domain controller must also be configured as an enterprise root or subordinate CA. The CA is referred to by the name EntCA in this walkthrough.

Task 1--Creating a Key Recovery Agent account

Configure and add the Key Recovery Agent certificate template as a template that can be issued by the enterprise CA.

Important

  • Perform the following procedures at the domain controller.

1. Verify who can enroll the Key Recovery Agent template

a. Log on as Administrator@adventure-works.com.

b. Click Start, click Run, type certtmpl.msc and then press Enter.

c. In the console tree, click Certificate Templates.

d. In the details pane, right-click Key Recovery Agent and click Properties.

e. In Key Recovery Agent Properties, click the Security tab.

By default, the security groups can enroll the Key Recovery Agent certificate template are Domain Administrators and Enterprise Administrators.

f. If you want another recovery agent, click Add to add the user and grant that user Read and Enroll permissions.

2. Change the default issuance behavior of the Key Recovery Agent template

a. In Key Recovery Agent Properties, click the Issuance Requirements tab.

b. Clear the CA certificate manager approval check box and click OK.

c. Close Certificate Templates.

3. Configure the EntCA certification authority to issue Key Recovery Agent certificates.

a. On the Administrative Tools menu, click Certification Authority.

b. In the console tree, double-click EntCA, and then click Certificate Templates.

c. Right-click Certificate Templates, then click New, and then click Certificate to Issue.

d. In Select Certificate Template, click Key Recovery Agent, and then click OK.

Task 2--Acquiring the Key Recovery Agent certificate

In this series of steps, you will acquire a Key Recovery Agent Certificate for the purpose of recovering private keys.

Important

  • Perform the following procedures at the domain controller.

1. Create an MMC console with the Certificates snap-in loaded.

a. Ensure that you are logged on as administrator@adventure-works.com.

b. On the taskbar, click the Start button, and then click Run.

c. In Run, type mmc, and then click OK.

d. On the File menu, click Add/Remove Snap-in.

e. In Add/Remove Snap-in, click Add.

f. In the Add Stand-alone Snap-in, click Certificates, and then click Add.

g. In Certificates, click User account and then click Finish.

h. Click Close, and then click OK.

2. Acquire a Key Recovery Agent certificate.

a. In the newly-created MMC console, in the console tree, double-click Certificates (Current User).

b. In the console tree, right-click Personal, click All Tasks, and then click Request New Certificate.

c. In the Certificate Request Wizard, click Next.

d. In Certificate Template, select Key Recovery Agent, and then click Next.

e. In the Certificate Friendly Name and Description, in Friendly name, type Key Recovery, and then click Next.

f. In Completing the Certificate Request Wizard, click Finish.

g. In the console tree, double-click Personal and then click the Certificates folder.

h. Ensure that a certificate with the friendly name of "Key Recovery" exists.

i. Close the console without saving changes.

Task 3--Configuring the CA to allow key recovery

In this series of steps, you configure the EntCA enterprise CA to use the Recovery Agent certificate acquired in Task 2. The CA must load the public key for the Key Recovery Agent to be used for encrypting the recovery data.

Important

  • Perform the following procedures at the domain controller.

1. Configure the Recovery Agent to be the Administrator's Key Recovery Agent certificate.

a. Ensure that you are logged on as Administrator@adventure-works.com.

b. In Administrative Tools, open Certification Authority.

c. In the console tree, click EntCA.

d. Right-click EntCA, and then click Properties.

e. On EntCA Properties, on the Recovery Agents tab, click Archive the key and then click Add.

f. In Key Recovery Agent Selection, click the certificate that is displayed, and then click OK.

g. When prompted to restart the CA, click Yes.

2. Open the Certificates console, focused on the local computer.

a. On the taskbar, click the Start button, and then click Run.

b. In Run, type mmc, and then click OK.

c. On the File menu, click Add/Remove Snap-in.

d. In Add/Remove Snap-in, click Add.

e. In Add Standalone Snap-in, click Certificates, and then click Add.

f. In Certificates, click Computer account and then click Next.

g. In Select Computer, click Local Computer, and then click Finish.

h. Click Close, and then click OK.

3. Verify the installation of the KRA certificate.

a. In the console tree, double-click Certificates (Local Computer), double-click KRA, and then click Certificates.

b. In the details pane, double-click the certificate.

The intended use of the certificate is Key Recovery Agent and the certificate is issued to Administrator. This procedure ensures that the Key Recovery Agent has been successfully configured, and then click OK.

d. Close the console without saving changes.

Task 4--Creating a new certificate template that allows key archiving

In this series of steps, you will define a new template that allows Key Archival by using the Certificate Templates console. This will allow key recovery in the domain in the event that the private key is lost or corrupted at the client computer.

Important

  • Perform the following procedures at the domain controller.

1. Open the Certificate Templates console.

a. Log on as Administrator@adventure-works.com.

b. On the taskbar, click the Start button, and then click Run.

c. In Run, type mmc, and then click OK.

d. On the File menu, click Add/Remove Snap-in.

e. In Add/Remove Snap-in, click Add.

f. In Add Standalone Snap-in, click Certificate Templates, and then click Add.

g. Click Close, and then click OK.

2. Create a duplicate of the Users certificate template with the following properties:

  • Template is named "Archive User"

  • Key archival is enabled

a. In the console tree, click Certificate Templates.

b. In the details pane, right-click the User template, and click Duplicate Template.

c. In the Properties of New Template dialog box, in the General tab, in the Display name box, type Archive User.

d. In the Request Handling tab, enable the Archive subject's private key option.

The archive key option makes it possible for the Key Recovery Agent to recover the private key from the certificate store.

e. Click the Security tab.

Domain Administrators and Domain Users can enroll for this certificate. These permissions were copied from the Users certificate template.

f. Click OK.

g. Close the console without saving changes.

Task 5--Acquiring a User certificate that has an archived key

In this series of tasks, you configure the EntCA certification authority to issue Archive User certificates. Using a newly created account, you will acquire an Archive User certificate and record the certificate's serial number for later usage.

Important

  • Perform the following procedures at the domain controller.

1. Configure EntCA to issue the new Archive User certificate template.

a. Ensure that you are logged on as Administrator@adventure-works.com, with a password of password.

b. From Administrative Tools, open Certification Authority.

c. In the console tree, double-click EntCA, and then click Certificates Templates.

d. Right-click Certificate Templates, click New, and then click Certificate to Issue.

e. In Select Certificate Template, click Archive User and then click OK.

The Archive User certificate template now appears in the details pane.

f. Close Certification Authority.

2. Create a new user account

a. In Administrative Tools, open Active Directory Users and Computers.

b. Double-click adventure-works.com.

c. In Users, create a user account with the following properties:

  • First name: Mike

  • Last name: Danseglio

  • User logon name: Mikedan

  • Password: password

  • Member of: Server Operators

  • E-mail: Mikedan

d. Click Next, and then click Finish.

e. Double-click the Mikedan account, and then select the Member of tab.

f. Click Add, in Select Groups, type Server Operators, click Check Names, and then click OK.

g. Click OK to close Properties.

h. Close Active Directory Users and Computers.

i. Close all open windows and log off of the computer.

3. Log in to the network as Mikedan@adventure-works.com and open the Certificates console.

Note

  • Mikedan was added to the Server Operators group so he can log on locally to the domain controller.

a. Log on as Mikedan@adventure-works.com.

b. On the taskbar, click the Start button, and then click Run.

c. In Run, type mmc, and then click OK.

d. From the Console menu, click Add/Remove Snap-in.

e. In Add/Remove Snap-in, click Add.

f. In Add Stand-alone Snap-in, click Certificates, click Add, and then click OK.

4. Use the Certificates MMC to acquire an Archive User certificate

a. In the newly-created MMC console, in the console tree, double-click Certificates (Current User).

b. In the console tree, right-click Personal, click All Tasks, and then click Request New Certificate.

c. In the Certificate Request Wizard, click Next.

d. On Certificate Template, select the Archive User certificate, and then click Next.

e. On Certificate Friendly Name and Description, in Friendly name, type Archive User, and then click Next.

f. On Completing the Certificate Request Wizard, click Finish.

g. On Certificate Request Wizard, click Install Certificate and then click OK.

h. Double-click Personal, and then click Certificates.

i. In the details pane, double-click the certificate with the friendly name of Archive User.

j. In Certificate, click the Details tab.

Note that the certificate template that used to generate this certificate was ArchiveUser, then click OK.

k. Close the new console without saving changes

l. Close all windows and log off of the computer.

Task 6--Performing a Key Recovery

In this series of tasks, you will perform a key recovery by using Certutil.exe.

For more information on Certutil, see Certutil.

Important

  • Perform the following procedures at the domain controller.

1. Log on to the network as Administrator and ensure that the private key is still recoverable by viewing the Archived Key column in the Certification Authority console.

a. Log on as Administrator@adventure-works.com.

b. From Administrative Tools, open Certification Authority.

c. In the console tree, double-click EntCA, and then click Issued Certificates.

d. From the View menu, click Add/Remove Columns.

e. In Add/Remove Columns, in Available Column, select Archived Key, and then click Add. Archived Key should now appear in Displayed Columns.

f. Click OK and then, in the details pane, scroll to the right and confirm that the last issued certificate to Mikedan has a Yes value in the Archived Key column.

Note

  • A certificate template must have been modified so that the Archive bit and Mark Private Key as Exportable attributes were enabled. The private key is only recoverable if there is data in the Archived Key column.

g. Double-click the Archive User certificate.

h. Click the Details tab

Write down the serial number of the certificate. (Do not include spacing between digit pairs.) This is required for recovery.

The serial number will be a hexadecimal string that is 20 characters long. The serial number of the private key is the same as the serial number of the certificate. For the purposes of this walkthrough, the serial number will be referred to as serialnumber.

i. Click OK.

j. Close Certification Authority.

2. Recover the private key into a BLOB output file by using certutil.exe.

a. On the taskbar, click the Start button, click Run, type cmd, then click OK.

This opens a command prompt window.

b. Type cd \ and then press ENTER.

c. Ensure that you are in the c:\ directory.

d. At the command prompt, type:

Certutil -getkey  serialnumber outputblob

e. At the command prompt, type dir outputblob

Note

  • If the file outputblob does not exist, you probably typed the serial number incorrectly for the certificate.

The outputblob file is a PKCS#7 file containing the KRA certificates and the user certificate and chain. The inner content is an encrypted PKCS#7 containing the private key (encrypted to the KRA certificates).

3. Recover the original private/public key pair using Certutil.exe

a. On the taskbar, click the Start button, click Run, type cmd, then click OK.

This opens a command prompt window.

b. At a command prompt, type:

Certutil -recoverkey outputblob Mikedan.pfx

c. When prompted, enter the following information:

Enter new password: password

Confirm new password: password

d. Type exit, and then press ENTER.

e. Close all windows and log off as the current user.

Task 7--Importing the recovered private key

In this series of tasks, you will restore the recovered private key in Mike's certificate store by importing the Mikedan.pfx file.

Important

  • Perform the following procedures at the domain controller.

1. Log on as Mikedan@adventure-works.com and start the Certificates mmc.

a. Log on as Mikedan@adventure-works.com, with a password of password.

b. On the taskbar, click the Start button, and then click Run.

c. In Run, type mmc, and then click OK.

d. On the File menu, click Add/Remove Snap-in.

e. In Add/Remove Snap-in, click Add.

f. In Add Standalone Snap-in, click Certificates, click Add,and then click OK.

2. Delete all certificates issued by EntCA to simulate a re-installed computer.

a. Right-click Certificates (Current User), and then click Find Certificates.

b. In Find Certificates, in Contains, type EntCA and then click Find Now.

c. In Find Certificates, on the Edit menu, click Select All.

d. In Find Certificates, on the File menu, click Delete.

e. In Certificates, click Yes.

f. In Root Certificate Store, click Yes.

g. Close Find Certificates.

3. Import the certificate at c:\Mikedan.pfx and let the certificates be placed automatically.

a. In the console tree, right-click Personal and then click All Tasks and then click Import.

b. In the Certificate Import Wizard, click Next.

c. On Files to Import, in the File name box, type c:\Mikedan.pfx, and then click Next.

d. In Password, type password and then click Next.

e. On Certificate Store, click Automatically select the certificate store based on the type of certificate and then click Next.

f. On Completing the Certificate Import Wizard, click Finish

g. If the Root Certificate Store dialog box appears, click Yes.

h. In Certificate Wizard Import, click OK.

Two certificates were imported. The Archive User certificate for Mike is located in the Personal certificates store and the EntCA certificate is located in the Trusted Root Certification Authorities store.

4. Verify the serial number of the imported certificate.

a. In the console tree, double-click Personal and then click Certificates.

b. Double-click the certificate

c. In Certificate, click the Details tab. Verify that the serial number matches the original.

d. Close all open windows and log off of the network.

See Also

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