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This guide show you how to set up the Kerberos Authentication for JIRA add-on.

Our add-ons for Confluence, Bitbucket, Fisheye and Bamboo follow an almost identical pattern. If you have one of those products, this guide is also for you.



Introduction

Our goal is to establish password-less Kerberos single sign-on for a JIRA instance available at https://issues.example.com

The Windows uses are logged into their computers using the Active Directory domain EXAMPLE.LOCAL

In this example,we assume a Microsoft Active Directory LDAP User Directory has already been set up for the same domain.

We also assume that you have Domain Admin rights such that you can create and configure user accounts in AD. If you don't have these permissions yourself, you might have to ask a colleague for help 

We recommend setting up Kerberos in a test environment before you go to production.

Installing the add-on:

Search and find our add-on Universal Plugin Manager, press Free trial. Then in the Manage Add-ons page, you'll click the Configure button on our Add-on.

Setup wizard

In our add-on configuration page, click Run Kerberos Setup Wizard. 

This wizard helps you in the following ways:

  • It helps you collect some key information about your environment
  • It shows you how to create and/or configure an Active Directory account 
  • It shows you the ktpass command you'll use to issue a Kerberos keytab file which our plugin needs to authenticate users. 

Start page

In many cases the wizard can suggest appropriate configuration values for you automatically.

If this is the case, you will be notified. You might want to jump straight to the task summary using the suggested values instead of going though each step.

For the purpose of this guide though, we will run through each steps of the wizard.

Active Directory Connection

Connecting to your Active Directory lets the wizard inspect your AD, suggest values and validate that your configuration is valid. 

You can choose a pre-configured User Directory, or connect to an Active Directory server of your choice:

Canonical host name

If issues.examle.local is a DNS CNAME record, say for server123.example.local, then the canonical name is:  server123.example.local

Otherwise, if it's a DNS A record, then the canonical name is issues.example.com

Usually, the wizard can determine this for you by looking it up in DNS on the server.

If that fails, the wizard will instruct you on how to determine this manually on the client side.

Note that even if you access JIRA using the short name http://issues, the canonical name is always in FQDN form. (It is never just issues, but issues.example.com)

Kerberos Realm name

The Kerberos Realm name looks something like EXAMPLE.LOCAL or ACCOUNTING.COMPANY.COM

It is your Active Directory Domain name in upper case, dot-separated format.

If the wizard can't look this up in AD, it will instruct you on how to determine this on your client.

Active Directory account

Kerberos services need to be mapped to an Active Directory account. We recommend you use a separate AD account for the purpose of mapping each Kerberos service.

Unless your instance is already mapped, the wizard will suggest an account name such as svc-jira-sso

Encryption types

The wizard will suggest the strongest encryption type supported by your environment.

Some factors which may limit your choice of encryption strength:

  • If your Domain Functional Level is Window 2003, then only RC-4 is supported.
  • AES-256 is only supported if your Java has the Unlimited Strength Policy Files installed

If your service is already mapped to account, then the strongest configured encryption type for that account is recommended. 

If this case, the wizard has recommended AES-128:

Task summary 

The final page of the wizard starts by displaying the configuration determined in the previous steps:




Step 1 of the task list describes describes how to create and / or configure the service account.

Depending on your AD permissions, you might need to hand this task over to your AD team.

In this case, the account svc-jira-sso needs to be created with "password never expires". Then, in the account options, we need to enable "This account supports Kerberos AES 128 bit encryption":



Step 2 shows you how to create a keytab file using ktpass. Again, this is a task you might have to delegate to your AD team.


Step 3:

Finally, you may upload the keytab file created. After the upload has finished a logon test will be performed. 


A quick review of the syntax:

Command / parameterDescription
ktpass
ktpass is pre-installed in Windows 2008 onward. Located in c:\Windows\System32
/princ HTTP/issues.example.com@EXAMPLE.LOCAL

HTTP is always used for web servers, also when using https.

issues.example.com is the canonical DNS name of JIRA

EXAMPLE.LOCAL is the Kerberos realm name of the Active Directory Domain

/mapuser svc-jira-sso@EXAMPLE.LOCAL

Maps the /princ name above to the account svc-jira-sso.

ktpass will add this attribute on the account:

servicePrincipalName: HTTP/issues.example.com
/crypto AES128-SHA1
Specifies the encryption type used when generating keys in the keytab. Must match the account supported encryption type.
/ptype KRB5_NT_PRINCIPAL
The general ptype, recommended by Microsoft.
/out c:\issues.example.com
Output location of the generated keytab file


Running the ktpass command will output a keytab file and register issues.examples.com as an HTTP Kerberos service.

Specifically, ktpass will: 

  • Add a servicePrincipalName attribute on the account with the value HTTP/issues.example.com
  • Set the userPrincipalName attribute to  HTTP/issues.example.com
  • Ask the admin to provide a password and confirm it
  • Set that password on the account
  • Generate a keytab file with an AES-128 key for the principal  HTTP/issues.example.com@EXAMPLE.LOCAL

Note that ktpass must be running in a "run as administrator" cmd window by a user with Domain Admin permissions.

Uploading the keytab file

When the keytab file is available for upload, follow the link to the keytab file configuration page:


Browser configuration

After uploading the keytab file, you will be redirected to the Kerberos Authentication Test page.

If you're lucky this test will succeed on your first try:

Internet Explorer

In our case, we got a failing test. Internet Explorer has not been configured to send Kerberos tickets to issues.example.com. It falls back to sending NTLM tickets instead:


We need to make sure issues.example.com is placed in the Local Intranet Security Zone, since that is a requirement for Internet Explorer to send Kerberos tickets.

The zone settings are usually set enterprise-wide using Group Policies. Here's the GPO we used to place *.example.com and issues.example.com in the Local Intranet Zone (Zone 1):


Other browsers

For more details on configuring Zone settings, and configuring Chrome and Firefox on Windows, Mac and Linux, see our Browser Configuration Guide

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