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I don't think it's a bad use. When I logon to my SAN or UPS web interfaces, I don't want to type https://ups01.publicDNSdomain.com, and visit a site with a CT logged certificate. It's an absolutely internal thing and every Active Directory domain already has an (ideally) non-externally resolved DNS domain setup for use. You've already got an internal CA and deployed your own root because there's a series of Microsoft services that work best this way, so it makes a lot of sense to continue to use rather than trying to introduce Lets Encrypt in this scenario.



You don't have to serve that website publicly or even set up DNS records. You only need to set up DNS verification to serve one public TXT record for letsencrypt. Everything else could be internal. Letsencrypt certifies that you own domain. You can do anything with that domain.


Sometimes you don't want to make that information public though. For security (you don't want to publish your whole tech stack information) and secrecy (you don't want to publish registration of halflife3.internal.valve.com).


Then just use a wildcard cert.


Wildcard certs are a security ops nightmare. You really don't want to throw the private key for that around to every small project, and you need some good, automated way of rolling them across multiple services. Doable, but if you can avoid this, it's a better to avoid.


This 100x - in just about any organisation of any size, if you use a single wildcard cert for all internal services, then it's inevitable that the private key will end up in the hands of an employee that shouldn't have it.


I'm aware you can use Lets Encrypt that way, I just don't agree that it's bad use of an internal PKI to use it as an alternative.


Well, it's unnecessary work to install and maintain that internal CA. Keeping CA key safe is very important, because leaked key might lead to your internal connections to, e.g., Google be compromised, so it's like keeping a bomb inside your building. If you already have that internal PKI, you can use it, sure, but I still think that it's a bad idea to use it only for internal websites.




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