Credentials Cache

Windows 2000 stores tickets and keys obtained from the KDC in a credentials cache, an area of volatile memory protected by the LSA. Only processes running in the LSA's security context have access to the cache. Its memory is never paged to disk. All objects stored there are destroyed when a security principal logs off or the system is shut down.

The credentials cache is managed by the Kerberos SSP, which runs in the LSA's security context. Whenever tickets and keys must be obtained or renewed, the LSA calls the Kerberos SSP to accomplish the task.

The credentials cache is also used to store a copy of an interactive user's password-derived key. If the user's TGT expires during a logon session, the Kerberos SSP uses its copy of the password-derived key to obtain a new TGT without interrupting the user's logon session. The password-derived key is not stored permanently on the computer, and the local copy in the credentials cache is destroyed when the credentials cache is flushed.

Password-derived keys for services and computers are handled differently. They are stored in a secure area of the computer's registry, just as they were in of Windows NT. Password-derived keys for user accounts on the local system, which are used only for access to computers in stand-alone mode, are also stored in the registry. These keys are never used for network access.