Enable LDAP over SSL (LDAPS) for Microsoft Active Directory servers

Much more complicated than on SDS.

Author(s): Tamas Bures | Created: 17 April 2019 | Last modified: 19 June 2024
Tested on: -

Enable LDAP over SSL (LDAPS) for Microsoft Active Directory servers

By default Microsoft Active Directory (AD) servers will offer LDAP connections over unencrypted connections (boo!).

The steps below will create a new self signed certificate appropriate for use with and thus enabling LDAPS for an AD server. Of course the "self-signed" portion of this guide can be swapped out with a real vendor purchased certificate if required.

Steps have been tested successfully with Windows Server 2012R2, but should work with Windows Server 2008 without modification. Requires a working OpenSSL install (ideally Linux/OSX) and (obviously) a Windows Active Directory server.

Create root certificate

Using OpenSSL, create new private key and root certificate. Answer country/state/org questions as suitable:

$ openssl genrsa -des3 -out ca.key 4096
$ openssl req -new -x509 -days 3650 -key ca.key -out ca.crt

You should now have a resulting ca.key and ca.crt - hold onto these.

Import root certificate into trusted store of domain controller

  • On AD, open Manage computer certificates.
  • Add the generated ca.crt to the certificate path Trusted Root Certification Authorities\Certificates.
  • Done.

Create client certificate

We will now create a client certificate to be used for LDAPS, signed against our generated root certificate.

On AD server:

  • Create a new request.inf definition with the following contents - replacing ACTIVE_DIRECTORY_FQDN with the qualified domain name of your Active Directory server:

      Signature="$Windows NT$"
      KeySpec = 1
      KeyLength = 1024
      Exportable = TRUE
      MachineKeySet = TRUE
      PrivateKeyArchive = FALSE
      UserProtected = FALSE
      UseExistingKeySet = FALSE
      ProviderName = "Microsoft RSA SChannel Cryptographic Provider"
      ProviderType = 12
      RequestType = PKCS10
      KeyUsage = 0xa0
      OID = ; Server Authentication
  • Run the following to create a new client certificate request of client.csr (note: it's critical this must run on AD to ensure a private key -> certificate association):

      C:\> certreq -new request.inf client.csr

Back to our OpenSSL system:

  • Create v3ext.txt containing the following:

  • Create a certificate client.crt from certificate request client.csr and root certificate (with private key):

      $ openssl x509 -req -days 3650 -in client.csr -CA ca.crt -CAkey ca.key -extfile v3ext.txt -set_serial 01 -out client.crt
  • Verify generated certificate:

      $ openssl x509 -in client.crt -text
  • Ensure the following X509v3 extensions are all present:

    • X509v3 Key Usage: Digital Signature, Key Encipherment
    • X509v3 Extended Key Usage: TLS Web Server Authentication
    • X509v3 Subject Key Identifier

Accept and import certificate

  • On AD with client.crt present, run the following:

      C:\> certreq -accept client.crt
  • Open Manage computer certificates, the new certificate should now be present under Personal\Certificates. Ensure that:

    • Certificate has a private key association.
    • The "Intended Purposes" is defined as "Server Authentication".
    • Certificate name is the FQDN of the active directory server.

Reload active directory SSL certificate

Alternatively you can just reboot the server, but this method will instruct the active directory server to simply reload a suitable SSL certificate and if found, enable LDAPS:

  • Create ldap-renewservercert.txt containing the following:

      changetype: modify
      add: renewServerCertificate
      renewServerCertificate: 1
  • Run the following command:

      C:\> ldifde -i -f ldap-renewservercert.txt

Test LDAPS using ldp.exe utility

  • From another domain controller, firstly install our generated root certificate ca.crt to the certificate path Trusted Root Certification Authorities\Certificates.

  • Open utility:

      C:\> ldp.exe
  • From Connection, select Connect.

  • Enter name of target domain controller.

  • Enter 636 as port number (this is the LDAPS port).

  • Click OK to confirm the connection works.

  • You're all done!