Re: Protecting private key on a soft cert

From: Michel Gallant (neutron_at_istar.ca)
Date: 06/17/04


Date: Wed, 16 Jun 2004 19:08:34 -0400

CSP protection for MS providers in W2k+ is based on DPAPI.
A fair level of details on how the various keys are derived based on
logged on user is described here:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/dnsecure/html/windataprotection-dpapi.asp

- Mitch Gallant
   MVP Security

"saict" <thurberk@cscsw.com> wrote in message news:7eab6777.0406160828.56c12b5@posting.google.com...
> Hello,
>
> My understanding of how Microsoft handles a private key is that it
> stores an encrypted version in the registry. When an API call is made
> which requires its use the OS retrieves that key, decrypts it on the
> fly, uses it, erases it out of memory and returns the relevant result.
>
> Correct me if I'm wrong, but presuming my understanding is correct,
> can somebody give me any further details on private key protection?
>
> For example, is there some message generated to decrypt the private
> key which is also stored in the registry or somewhere else on the
> harddrive? If not, what are the mechanics of decrypting this private
> key on the fly? Where is Microsoft retrieving the decryption key from
> to decrypt the private key in the registry? Does anyone know what
> algorithm and key size is being used to encrypt the private key before
> it is stored in the registry?
>
> Thank you in advance for whatever answers you can supply.



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