LDAP Transitive Trust

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A transitive trust creates an indirect trust relationship. If you’re planning to take the Security+ exam, you should have a good understanding of authentication services that include configuring  domains  in the same network using transitive trusts.

For example, can you answer this question?

Q. When you log on to your online bank account, you are also able to access a partner’s credit card site, check-ordering services, and a mortgage site without entering your credentials again. What does this describe?

A. SSO

B. Same sign-on

C. SAML

D. Kerberos

More, do you know why the correct answer is correct and the incorrect answers are incorrect? The answer and explanation is available at the end of this post.

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  • 75 question pre-assessment exam
  • Mastering Security Basics (full content from Chapter 1 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Understanding Identity and Access Management (full content from Chapter 2 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
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  • Comparing Threats, Vulnerabilities, and Common Attacks (full content from Chapter 6 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Protecting Against Advanced Attacks (full content from Chapter 7 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Using Risk Management Tools (full content from Chapter 8 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Implementing Controls to Protect Assets (full content from Chapter 9 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Understanding Cryptography and PKI (full content from Chapter 10 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Implementing Policies to Mitigate Risks (full content from Chapter 11 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • 75 question post-assessment exam
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LDAP and Secure LDAP

Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) specifies formats and methods to query directories. In this context, a directory is a database of objects that provides a central access point to manage users, computers, and other directory objects. LDAP is an extension of the X.500 standard that Novell and early Microsoft Exchange Server versions used extensively.

Windows domains use Active Directory, which is based on LDAP. Active Directory is a directory of objects (such as users, computers, and groups), and it provides a single location for object management. Queries to Active Directory use the LDAP format. Similarly, Unix realms use LDAP to identify objects.

Administrators often use LDAP in scripts, but they need to have a basic understanding of how to identify objects. For example, a user named Homer in the Users container within the GetCertifiedGetAhead.com domain is identified with the following LDAP string:
LDAP://CN=Homer,CN=Users,DC=GetCertifiedGetAhead,DC=com

  • CN=Homer. CN is short for common name.
  • CN=Users. CN is sometimes referred to as container in this context.
  • DC=GetCertifiedGetAhead. DC is short for domain component.
  • DC=com. This is the second domain component in the domain name.

Secure LDAP uses encryption to protect LDAP transmissions. When a client connects with a server using Secure LDAP, the two systems establish a Transport Layer Security (TLS) session before transmitting any data. TLS encrypts the data before transmission.

LDAP Version 2 (LDAP v2) uses Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) instead of TLS. However, LDAP Version 3 (LDAP v3) is the current standard and it uses TLS.

Remember this

LDAP is based on an earlier version of X.500. Windows Active Directory domains and Unix realms use LDAP to identify objects in query strings with codes such as CN=Users and DC=GetCertifiedGetAhead. Secure LDAP encrypts transmissions with SSL or TLS.

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SSO and Transitive Trust

A transitive trust creates an indirect trust relationship. As an example, imagine a transitive trust relationship exists between Homer, Moe, and Fat Tony:

  • Homer trusts Moe.
  • Moe trusts Fat Tony.
  • Because of the transitive trust relationship, Homer trusts Fat Tony.

Of course, this isn’t always true with people and Homer may be a little upset with Moe if he shares his secrets with Fat Tony. However, it reduces network administration in a domain.

Within an LDAP-based network, domains use transitive trusts for SSO. The following figure shows a common configuration with three domains in the same network.

The parent domain is GetCertifiedGetAhead.com and the configuration includes two child domains—Training and Blogs.

LDAP Transitive Trust

An LDAP transitive trust used for SSO

In this example, there is a two-way trust between the parent domain and the child domain, GetCertifiedGetAhead.com and Training.GetCertifiedGetAhead.com, respectively. The parent trusts the child, and the child trusts the parent. Similarly, there is a two-way trust between the parent domain and the Blogs child domain. There isn’t a direct trust between the two child domains. However, the transitive relationship creates a two-way trust between them.

All of these domains contain objects such as users, computers, and groups. Homer’s user account is in the Training domain, and a server named Costington is in the Blogs domain. With the transitive trust, it’s possible to grant Homer access to the Costington server without creating another trust relationship directly between Training and Blogs.

Without a trust relationship, you’d have to create another account for Homer in the Blogs domain before you could grant him access. Additionally, Homer would need to manage the second account’s password separately. However, with the transitive trust relationships, the network supports SSO so Homer only needs a single account.


Full Security+ Course

SY0-501 Full Security+ Course

Helping you Pass the First Time

Online access includes all of the content from the

CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-501 Study Guide

  • Introduction
  • About the exam (including information on the number of questions, test duration, passing score, types of questions and more. Also includes a listing of the exam objectives)
  • 75 question pre-assessment exam
  • Mastering Security Basics (full content from Chapter 1 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Understanding Identity and Access Management (full content from Chapter 2 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Exploring Network Technologies and Tools (full content from Chapter 3 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Securing Your Network (full content from Chapter 4 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Securing Hosts and Data (full content from Chapter 5 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Comparing Threats, Vulnerabilities, and Common Attacks (full content from Chapter 6 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Protecting Against Advanced Attacks (full content from Chapter 7 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Using Risk Management Tools (full content from Chapter 8 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Implementing Controls to Protect Assets (full content from Chapter 9 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Understanding Cryptography and PKI (full content from Chapter 10 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Implementing Policies to Mitigate Risks (full content from Chapter 11 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • 75 question post-assessment exam
  • Glossary

Get the SY0-501 Full Security+ Course Here


Test your readiness with these quality materials

Random 75-question tests

Random practice tests from the all of the practice test questions in the CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-501 Study Guide. All questions include explanations so you'll know why the correct answers are correct, and why the incorrect answers are incorrect.

3 sets Performance-based Questions

Three new sets of performance-based questions with a total of 30 questions. These new questions use a new testing engine that includes realistic drag and drop, matching, sorting, and fill in the blank questions.

Flashcard Set

  • 494 Online Security+ Glossary Flashcards
  • 222 Online Security+ Acronyms Flashcards
  • 223 Online Security+ Remember This Slide from the popular CompTIA Security+ Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-501 Study Guide

Audio - SY0-501 Security+ Remember This Audio Files

Learn by Listening. Over one hour and 20 minutes of audio (MP3 downloads.)

Audio - SY0-501 Security+ Question and Answer Audio Files

Learn by Listening. Over two hours hour and 53 minutes of audio (MP3 downloads.)

Bonus #1

Audio from the end of chapter reviews from each of the chapters in the CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-501 Study Guide. Over one hour and 40 minutes of additional audio.

Bonus #2

Access to all of the online content that is available for free to anyone that purchases the CompTIA Security+ Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-501 Study Guide. This includes labs, extra practice test questions, and supplementary materials

Bonus #3 

Access the study materials for a total of 60 days because sometimes life happens.

Get the SY0-501 Full Security+ Course Here

Q. When you log on to your online bank account, you are also able to access a partner’s credit card site, check-ordering services, and a mortgage site without entering your credentials again. What does this describe?

A. SSO

B. Same sign-on

C. SAML

D. Kerberos

Answer is A. This is an example of single sign-on (SSO) capabilities because you can log on once and access all the resources without entering your credentials again. Same sign-on requires you to reenter your credentials for each new site, but you use the same credentials.

Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) is an SSO solution used for web-based applications and the bank might be using SAML, but other SSO solutions are also available.

Kerberos is used in an internal network.

See Chapter 1 of the CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide for more information on authentication services.

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