Difference Between Heimdal and MIT


Main Difference

People use the internet for several purposes, some of the random activities while others to share information to one another. This leads to providing security to such individuals who share material which should not be seen by random people. There are many ways to stop this, some websites use firewalls to prevent others from extracting such info while others use clients which help in processing the information in an encrypted way. Two such network authentication protocols are known as Heimdal and MIT, which provide security. There are a few differences between them which will be discussed in detail. MIT is one of the oldest internet authentication protocols that are available since it started in the 1980’s while Heimdal is a new entrant. MIT version is also chosen by Microsoft, who use it for windows, Heimdal, on the other hand, is used by smaller companies. Moving on to the technical side of the differences, MIT is run by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Heimdal has the license of BSD. Both of them provide windows client support and other KDC supports. One other difference between the two is that it is not compatible with Mac and compilation is done from the source for MIT Kerberos. In the case of Heimdal, the client sends the operating system. The case for Red Hat distros is different where MIT provides the fedora while Heimdal complies it from the source and the statement remains the same in the case of Solaris 10. MIT Kerberos does not have a KDC support built in for Samba 4 while Heimdal is the support built in. By the technical side, it can be said that they are different though they have the same functions and are just provided by various companies. Further detail about these two types of protocols is provided in the next sections.

Comparison Chart

atest network authentication protocolOldest network authentication protocol
Written in the Swedish languageWritten in English language
KDC support for Samba 4No KDC support for Samba 4
Compiled from the sourceSolaris 10 is present in shipped

Definition of Heimdal

Heimdal Kerberos is a network authentication protocol which keeps the user safe from external attacks. It considers the system safe initially and then makes itself a third party to which data is shared between people and all the systems deems it safe so there is no intervention from outside sources. It works on a simple principle that individuals who are using the system have to prove their identity to access the network. The request is sent to Heimdal when the name is entered with both parties, which checks if they are correct and then allows them to use the system. All the data is saved with the help of password and is visible when both the entities enter it. This protocol avoids people from the situation that others can impersonate them on their own network, and once someone has logged in and wants the details to be saved, it is possible. Heimdal is the applying of Kerberos 5 which is written in a foreign language and is free of cost. Several packages include it and it is pre-installed on Windows and Java.


Definition of MIT

The MIT Kerberos is a network protocol authentication which is used for protecting the client and server apps, it is also integrated with other products to make it more viable and spread its use. It was created by Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Several people over the internet share information with others which can be both sensitive and personal, therefore giving protection for individuals who are active on the web led to the making of MIT Kerberos. The best thing about this client is that it’s free of charge and can be used with the permission of MIT. It works on a simple principle, the user shares their identity with the network, which checks for and then approves the identity with the help of cryptography. This allows the sharing of information on an unsecured network. Once the information is validated, the user can also encode all their dealings so that no data is leaked to others. It can work on different operating networks including windows while the protocol is supplied in the coded form so that people can check and make sure their privacy will be kept intact.

Differences in a Nutshell

  1. The oldest network authentication protocol is MIT while one of the latest ones is Heimdal.
  2. Heimdal is written in the Swedish language, but MIT is written in the English
  3. MIT is run by Massachusetts Institute of Technology while Heimdal uses the license from BSD to work.
  4. There is no KDC support for Samba 4 in MIT, but this support is present in Heimdal.
  5. Red Hat distros are provided with MIT while they are compiled from the source in Heimdal.
  6. Solaris 10 is present in shipped with MIT, but it is compiled from the source in Heimdal.
  7. Mac OS is compiled from the source in MIT Kerberos while Heimdal ships the ship along with the package.


In a nutshell, this article has looked in to these two terms in detail and laid out a proper explanation about them so that people who are interested in technology and want to stay updated with the different terms can have a clear understanding in the context in which they are used and their properties.

Harlon Moss

Harlon currently works as a quality moderator and content writer for Difference Wiki. He graduated from the University of California in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science. Follow him on Twitter @HarlonMoss