Handy tool to troubleshoot your Microsoft ADCS PKI

2018-06-23 14:08:00

Doesn't look like much, but it's great

It has been little over a year now since I started at $CLIENT. I've learned so many new things in those twelve months, it's almost mindboggling. Here's how I described it to an acquaintance recently:

"To say that I’m one lucky guy would be understating things. Little over a year ago I was interviewed to join a project as their “pki guy”: I had very little experience with certificates, had messed around a bit with nShield HSMs, but my customer was willing to take a chance on me. ... ... A year onwards I’ve put together something that I feel is pretty sturdy. ... We have working DTAP environments, the production environment’s been covered with a decent keygen ceremony and I’m training the support crew for their admin-tasks. There’s still plenty of issues to iron out, like our first root/issuing CA renewal in a few weeks, but I’m feeling pretty good about it all."

As I described to them, I feel that I'm at a 5/10 right now when it comes to PKI experience. I have a good grasp of the basics, I understand some of the intricacies, I've dodged a bunch of pitfalls and I've come to know at least one platform.

How little I know about this specific platform (Microsoft's Active Directory Certificate Services) gets reinforced frequently, for example by stumbling upon Brian Komar's reply to this thread. The screenshot above might not look like much, but it made my day yesterday :) "Pkiview.msc" you say? It builds a tree-view of your PKI's structure on the lefthand side and on the right side it will show you all the relevant data points for each CA in the list. 

This is awesome, because it will show you immediately when one of your important pieces of meta-data goes unavailable. For example, in the PKI I built I have a bunch of clones of the CRL Distribution Point (CDP) spread across the network. Oddly, these clones were lighting up red in the pkiview tool. Turns out that the cloning script had died a whiles back, without any of us noticing. 

So yeah, it may not look like much, but that's one great troubleshooting tool :)

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