Certificate enrollment: Crypto API, CNG, and other Windows APIs

One thing certreq and the Certificate Manager MMC snap-in have in common is that they rely heavily on Windows’ built-in APIs for managing certificates, encryption, and keys. This post takes a deeper look at which APIs Windows provides for cryptography, key management, certificate management, and certificate enrollment.

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Certificate enrollment: Concepts

Many of the protocols we use every day rely on certificates. The process to request and obtain a new certificate from a CA is called certificate enrollment. This post explains the basic concepts behind certificate enrollment.

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Authenticating users in tools or desktop apps

If your plan is to develop a tool or desktop app instead of a server-side application, the benefits of application default credentials are less obvious and reusing the user’s personal gcloud credentials instead might seem attractive. But there are some pitfalls.

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Impact of GCP session length on OAuth clients

Once you’ve signed in on google.com, the Cloud Console, or any other Google site, your browser session remains valid for multiple days. Not being prompted to sign in over and over again is convenient and at least in typical consumer scenarios, the risk that comes along with keeping the session is limited.

Things can look different in a corporate scenario where users might have access to sensitive data. Keeping sessions alive for 14 days (which is the default) might seem a little risky and might not be in line with an enterprise’s idea of security. G Suite Business and Cloud Identity Premium therefore allow you to change the default session length to a different period such as 8 hours. This setting applies to all Google services, not only GCP.

Recently, Google introduced another way to control session lifetime by allowing you to control the session length for Cloud Console and gcloud sessions.

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Integrating with Cloud IAP

In the last post, we discussed that each request that Cloud IAP passes to a backend appliation contains a X-Goog-Iap-Jwt-Assertion header. This header contains an IAP JWT assertion that looks a bit like an IdToken, but is not an IdToken.

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