Microsoft KB Archive/175439

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Article ID: 175439

Article Last Modified on 10/26/2006


  • Microsoft Exchange Server 5.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 5.5 Standard Edition

This article was previously published under Q175439


To accept logons from Internet clients, the Microsoft Exchange Server computer must be configured to accept the authentication method supported by the client. This article addresses how to enable the Exchange Server to accept Secure Socket Layer (SSL) authentication.

Check your client's documentation to determine what authentication methods it supports and how to configure the client to use authentication.

See the "More Information" section for an overview of SSL.


If you are running Exchange Server on a Windows 2000 server, the Key Manager is not integrated into the IIS Admin program. You must run Key Manager by using the executable file Keyring.exe.

To start the Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS) Key Manager in Windows 2000, click Start, click Run, type keyring.exe in the Open box, and then click OK.

To enable Exchange Server to accept SSL authentication:

  1. Make sure that Microsoft Windows NT version 4.0 is installed and that Service Pack 3 is applied.
  2. Install Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS) version 3.0 or later before you install Exchange Server. This step is critical. If IIS is not installed before Exchange Server, the protocols supported by Exchange Server are not available in the IIS Key Manager.
  3. Install Exchange Server version 5.0 or later. Select the Authentication settings for each protocol for which you want to install certificates.
    1. In the Exchange Server Administrator program, expand the Configuration container, and then click the Protocols object.
    2. Select the appropriate protocol (for example, POP3, NNTP, LDAP) by double-clicking its associated icon.
    3. In the protocol's property pages, click the Authentication tab, and then set the authentication levels.
    4. Click OK to save the settings.
  4. Using the IIS Key Manager, create a key request.
    1. Start the Key Manager that is included with Internet Information Server.
    2. Locate the Exchange Server icon, and then click the appropriate protocol (for example, POP3, NNTP, LDAP).
    3. On the menu, click Key, and then click Create New Key.
    4. Type the appropriate information in the fields. Click OK to save the information to a request file.

      NOTE: If you are on Windows 2000 and you are prompted to automatically submit the request to the on-line authority, this will fail. Continue to save the information to a file and then submit the request to the Windows 2000 (CA) Certificate Authority through the Certificate Authority's web site interface http://MachineName/certsrv. If you use a Windows 2000 Enterprise CA you will be prompted for which template to use. You need to use the Web Server template. A stand-alone root CA will not prompt you. Download the certificate from the CA in base64 encoding, not DER encoding.
    5. Send the key request to a certificate distribution company (such as Verisign) to obtain a certificate for the server.
  5. Using the IIS Key Manager, install the SSL certificate.
    1. After you obtain the certificate, start the Key Manager that is included with Internet Information Server.
    2. Locate the Exchange Server icon, and then click the appropriate protocol (for example, POP3, NNTP, LDAP).
    3. On the menu, click Key, and then click Install Key Certificate.
    4. Select the certificate file sent by the certificate vendor. If your are running IIS 4.0, you must specify the server IP address or specify to bind the certificate to "Default."
    5. On the menu, click Servers, and click Commit Changes Now.

The SSL authentication method uses public/private key technology to ensure privacy. The SSL protocol resides at the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) presentation layer and moves data from the application layer to the TCP transport layer. It is responsible for authentication, encryption, and verification of data integrity.

The authentication function assures that the data is being sent to the correct server and that the server is secure. Encryption ensures that data cannot be read by anyone other than the target server. Data integrity ensures that the data has not been corrupted or altered in transit.

Client Obtains Server Certificate

The client and server introduce themselves to each other with HELO/EHLO messages (for SMTP/ESMTP respectively) and exchange information containing the encryption method to use, session information, server certificate (containing the server's public key), and random data.

Client Verifies Server

The client verifies that the server certificate is from a certifying authority and then uses it to send a message to authenticate the server (to verify it is who it claims to be). If the server does not pass the authentication, the client typically informs the user that the server is not who it claims to be.

Client/Server Determine Encryption Key to Use for This Session

If the server replies back successfully, the client and server create a random secret key (referred to as the Master Key in the SSL specification) from the random data exchanged and the encryption method specified (such as RSA).

Data Encrypted with Agreed Upon Key

All data sent over the SSL channel is encrypted with the secret key.

Additional query words: SSL POP3 Authentication NTOP4

Keywords: kbhowto KB175439