Configuration Management Tool

Fix cannot find KDC for realm while getting initial credentials and kinit configuration file does not specify default realm

KDC realm

Key Distribution Center (KDC) is a component in the Kerberos authentication protocol. It was designed to secure network communications and verify the identities of users and services in a networked environment. In this article, we shall discuss the steps to “Fix cannot find KDC Realm Error” while getting initial credentials and kinit configuration file does not specify default realm. Please see How to configure Kerberos for Ansible Authentication. Also. see how to fix “Error – kinit: KDC reply did not match expectations while getting initial credentials“. Here’s a brief explanation of what a KDC does:

  1. The KDC serves as a trusted third party that enables secure authentication. When a user wants to access a network service. The KDC helps verify their identity without exposing their password over the network.
  2. When a user logs in, the KDC provides them with a Ticket Granting Ticket (TGT). This TGT is a time-limited authentication token that the user can use to request access to various network services without entering their password numerous times.
  3. When a user wants to access a specific network service, they present their TGT to the KDC. The KDC then issues a Service Ticket that’s specific to the requested service. This Service Ticket is encrypted and can be used to access the service without revealing the user’s credentials.
  4. All communication between the user, the KDC, and the network services is encrypted, ensuring the security of the authentication process.

The reason for the error “cannot find KDC for realm”

Here are some errors I ran into while trying to set up Ansible for the second time in my test laboratory. Please see Bidding Farewell to NTLM in favour of Kerberos, and How to disable automatic Windows updates.

These two errors here are based on a lot of factors

  • My domain setup was not resolving when this was done,
  • Ensure to include the realm with the principal you are logging in as
    And remember to set the default realm also in the krb5.config file.

Concept: Authentication Services relies on DNS (Domain Naming Service) to locate the Key Distributions Center (KDC) which in AD is a domain controller.

So if your DNS is not properly configured for your domain it will fail. 

To test the name resolution for your domain controller, simply run the “nslookup” command.

How to fix the KDC Realm Initialization Error

Ensure the Ansible server is pointing to the DNS server Address or else this will not work as desired.

initial credentials

Create an A record to ensure the domain name is resolvable via DNS.

nslookup techdirectarchive.local
kinit configuration

Note: Alternatively, the name resolution requires the Ansible server to locate the domain controllers and can be manually added to the host file by including an entry in the /etc/hosts file for each domain controller, e.g techdirectarchive.local

Next, After the krb5 configuration file has been updated correctly, you should be able to authenticate and get a valid token successfully. The following steps show how to authenticate and get a token:

Moreover, You may get the error “kinit: configuration file does not specify default realm” if you try to use the “kinit” command only, use the command below

kinit username@TECHDIRECT.LOCAL

As you can see above, the kinit command did not work correctly initially.

default_realm Identifies the default Kerberos realm for the client. Set its value to your Kerberos realm. If this value is not set, then a realm must be specified with every Kerberos principal when invoking programs such as kinit.

Other Possible tips to note.
Ensure that the “krb5.conf” is configured correctly. The kinit command fails for user authentication because Kerberos is case-sensitive.

However, Here is the right syntax: “kinit username@TECHDIRECT.LOCAL“. Ensure the domain name is in all CAPS, or else you will get an error.

FAQ Section on KDC

What is the Key Distribution Center (KDC) in the context of a realm?

The KDC is a component of the Kerberos authentication system used for securing network communications. In the context of a realm, the KDC plays a central role in authenticating users and services. It consists of two main parts: the Authentication Server (AS) and the Ticket Granting Server (TGS). The AS authenticates users and issues a Ticket Granting Ticket (TGT), which the TGS uses to grant service tickets. This process enables secure and efficient access to network services within the realm.

What is the significance of KDC in realm-based authentication?

The Key Distribution Center (KDC) is crucial in realm-based authentication because it forms the backbone of the Kerberos authentication protocol. It facilitates secure and efficient user authentication and service access within a specific realm. When a user or service requests access to a resource, the KDC issues tickets that contain encryption keys. These tickets serve as proof of identity and provide secure communication channels between clients and services. The KDC’s role in realm-based authentication enhances security, minimizes the exposure of sensitive credentials, and simplifies the management of authentication and authorization in a networked environment.

I hope you found this blog post on the steps to fix find KDC Realm Error while getting initial credentials and kinit configuration file does not specify default realm helpful. Please let me know in the comment session if you have any questions.

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3 years ago

Hi Christian,

Trying to setup Kerberos authentication from ansible(linux) version 2.9 to windows 2k12/16 getting error like server not found in the database

Have verified the krb file, try kinit connections all look fine but throwing this kind of error message.
Pls share your thought if your overcome this kind of issues

Note: Using NTLM protocol connection establishing only issue with Kerberos

3 years ago

Error message from ansible

kerberos: authGSSClientStep() failed: ((‘Unspecified GSS failure. Minor code may provide more information’, 851968), (‘Server not found in Kerberos database’, -1765328377))”,

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