PKINIT cert chains

Tom Yu tlyu at
Fri May 22 13:42:49 EDT 2015

"Nordgren, Bryce L -FS" <bnordgren at> writes:

> You've prompted me to draw a picture. The collection of "intermediate" certificates is no such thing. I appear to have been given a bag of unrelated fragments of CA chains. Many apologies for lack of due diligence. PKI tools are still pretty awkward for me to use.

No problem.  I think PKI tools are awkward for pretty much everyone to

> However, I do have the cert for the CA which signed my card (LincPass.cer), even though it's not a self-signed root CA. I specified it directly in my pkinit_anchors, but this did not resolve the issue. Does openssl (and thus MIT Kerberos) require all the certs up to a self signed root certificate, even when I want to anchor somewhat lower than that? Does this mean the anchor is really all the way at the root cert, or is it where I want it to be?

My experience is that OpenSSL wants to chain to a self-signed root cert.
I've tended to hear the term "trust anchor" used in X.509 contexts to
mean only a trusted self-signed root certificate.

> Pam_pkcs11 is authenticating with these certs for sudo, possibly because it's using Mozilla nssdb instead of openssl? Thus was I lulled into complacency.

It might be that nssdb has the relevant root cert configured in its
trust store.  I believe the OpenSSL API as we use it in our PKINIT
implementation requires that the trusted roots be specified explicitly
through the API.


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