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Can I use some integration of Windows Active Directory and a Certificate Authority to embed a client certificate in a browser that will be trusted by a server?

I have a private domain and control over who can login. Is it reasonably possible and secure to have, upon login, a client-side cert installed such that the browser can take advantage of it and provide it when logging into specific sites (also on my network).

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You can use Group Policy to install the certificate on the client machines. You will need to bind the certificate to your site through IIS/Apache to complete the process. Keep in mind that you will need to ensure that your internal CA is trusted by your internal clients.

I think this is in fact reasonably secure, and one of the use cases that Certificate Services was designed to accommodate.

Here is a link from MSDN detailing the specifics of implementing such a system: https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb727098.aspx

  • Thank you for the insightful answer and links. Appreciate it. – Bill Noto Feb 11 '15 at 2:43

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