ADFS and CNAME records – HTTP/400 error with WIA

I had heard that it is better to create an A record for ADFS (i.e. you get an IP address as the reply when querying the record) rather than a CNAME record (i.e. you get a name and the IP address of that alternate name) but didn’t know why until today. Now I know at least one reason why it is better to have an IP address. 

To begin with I must point to this blog post. The author had the same error as me, but of course he wasn’t using a CNAME, so his actual problem and fix was different. But the blog post is worth a read to know the situation. I had two domains – Domain A and Domain B – each with ADFS servers. I was trying to access the ADFS server in Domain B from a machine in Domain A, and getting prompted for credentials (expected) but once I enter the correct details it would give me an HTTP/400 error. Disabling WIA and enabling Forms Based Authentication worked, so the problem was to do with WIA. These are different domains, with trusts in place, and I was entering the correct details … so what gives? 

Looking at the System logs on my machine in Domain A (not where the ADFS server is in) I had entries like this:

The Kerberos client received a KRB_AP_ERR_MODIFIED error from the server msvc_adfs2$. The target name used was HTTP/ This indicates that the target server failed to decrypt the ticket provided by the client. This can occur when the target server principal name (SPN) is registered on an account other than the account the target service is using. Ensure that the target SPN is only registered on the account used by the server. This error can also happen if the target service account password is different than what is configured on the Kerberos Key Distribution Center for that target service. Ensure that the service on the server and the KDC are both configured to use the same password. If the server name is not fully qualified, and the target domain (TWO.RAXNET.GLOBAL) is different from the client domain (TWO.RAXNET.GLOBAL), check if there are identically named server accounts in these two domains, or use the fully-qualified name to identify the server.

The highlighted entry is the clue. I was accessing the ADFS server as, and it was a CNAME to, so looks like during WIA it was using the CNAME instead of the actual name and hence using the SPN HTTP/ rather than HTTP/ It also seemed to be using the (correct) HTTP/ SPN and identifying the associated service account msvc_adfs2 but since that service account couldn’t decrypt the Kerberos tickets, I was getting an error.