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1.1 What is Kerberos and How Does it Work?

Kerberos V5 is based on the Kerberos authentication system developed at MIT. Under Kerberos, a client (generally either a user or a service) sends a request for a ticket to the Key Distribution Center (KDC). The KDC creates a ticket-granting ticket (TGT) for the client, encrypts it using the client's password as the key, and sends the encrypted TGT back to the client. The client then attempts to decrypt the TGT, using its password. If the client successfully decrypts the TGT (i.e., if the client gave the correct password), it keeps the decrypted TGT, which indicates proof of the client's identity.

The TGT, which expires at a specified time, permits the client to obtain additional tickets, which give permission for specific services. The requesting and granting of these additional tickets is user-transparent.