What is required to delete admin accounts that is member of a protected group like Domain Admins or Enterprise Admins?
The most common answer is whoever has the Delete Right on the user object. But when it comes to ACLs in Active Directory it’s not always that easy. ACLs is a powerful and complex thing in Active Directory.
If we read the Microsoft documentation on how the system evaluates if a Security Principal is allowed and denied access: Discretionary Access Control Lists (DACLs) and Access Control Entries (ACEs)
When access is requested to an Active Directory object, the Local Security Authority (LSA) compares the access token of the account that is requesting access to the object to the DACL. The security subsystem checks the object’s DACL, looking for ACEs that apply to the user and group SIDs referenced in the user’s access token. The security subsystem then steps through the DACL until it finds any ACEs that allow or deny access to the user or to one of the user’s groups. The subsystem does this by first examining ACEs that have been explicitly assigned to the object and then examining ones that have been inherited by the object. The following illustration shows the important parts of an access token and a DACL when a request is evaluated.
If an explicit deny is found, access is denied. Explicit deny ACEs are always applied, even if conflicting allow ACEs exist. Explicit allow ACEs are examined, as are inherited deny and allow ACEs. The ACEs that apply to the user are accumulated. Inherited deny ACEs overrule inherited allow ACEs but are overruled themselves by explicit allow permissions. If none of the user SIDs or group SIDs in the access token match the DACL, the user is denied access implicitly.
Now to the fun part, when talking about deletion you must consider a little more than just this logic to determine the effective permissions granting a user to delete a Domain Admin user. Continue reading →
One interesting thing when using smart card authentication is that you can still use username and passwords even if the smart card is required. There have been many examples and articles about that you can still use Pass the Hash since the NT Hash is still in use.
This is just another twist on it focusing on the clear text password.
The support for using smart card has existed a long time in Windows, it was implemented in MS KILE as a Kerberos extension in Windows 2000 and is called PKINIT. The purpose was to get rid of using passwords and offer a strong authentication with 2 factors (not to mitigate Pass the Hash and Pass the Ticket etc). Continue reading →
This is just a small note of a feature that was new in Windows 10 v1507 and Windows Server 2016.
In the early days (Windows 2000, XP and 2003) it was possible to configure Service Principals Names (SPNs) with IP addresses. And then in Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 it was removed in the Kerberos client and IP addresses on services didn’t work.
Since then if a client tries to connect to e.g. a share by its IP address it would fall back to NTLM.
I don’t know why that changed, but the good news is that they have reintroduced that functionality and you can configure the Kerberos clients to request a service ticket based on a IP hostname SPN. Continue reading →
RDP is one of the most used protocols for managing servers and jumping around in the IT infrastructure environment. This is a 3-part series about how to protect it and use it with different delegation models.
This is part one where we look at how to configure SSO and use Restricted Admin mode and other technologies minimizing our credential exposure.
Network Level Authentication
Lets start with Network Level Authentication (NLA) which should be enabled on all servers.
Network Level Authentication completes user authentication before you establish a remote desktop connection and the logon screen appears. This is a more secure authentication method that can help protect the remote computer from malicious users and malicious software. The advantages of Network Level Authentication are:
It requires fewer remote computer resources initially. The remote computer uses a limited number of resources before authenticating the user, rather than starting a full remote desktop connection as in previous versions.
It can help provide better security by reducing the risk of denial-of-service attacks.
Another thing that should be mentioned is that it also provides protection against Man In The Middle (MITM) attacks. With Kerberos or TLS it can perform a mutual authentication verifying the servers identity as well. Continue reading →
Shadow Principals is a new cool feature in Active Directory 2016. It’s part of the Optional Feature Privileged Access Management. I have covered the basic concept with Just In Time Admin Access two years ago, and I also wrote about time-based groups a year ago.
The first article is kind of outdated and everything wasn’t fully implemented yet. Missing pieces was Shadow Principals and PIM Trusts. So, I decided to write an article about it and how to test it with basic built-in functionality.
Just a quick background if you don’t want to read earlier posts:
A while back Microsoft release a guidance of Securing Privileged Access.
In step three they include creating one and even two new forests for managing privileged admin accounts (in this example we will use one). You can read more about it here: ESAE Administrative Forest Design Approach.
The idea is: to secure the existing production domain, a shadow forest will be created and is a single domain forest built on Windows Server 2016, it is hardened and locked down from day one. By using the new PAM feature we can create Shadow Principals based on the production domain and grant time limited access (which also is integrated in Kerberos).
The administrative groups in the production domain will be empty and kind of remove the map of admins in the domain. The shadow admins will only have administrative access in the production domain when needed providing just-in-time administration (JIT).
With this, Microsoft Identity Manager also comes in to play with its PAM feature managing this in the Shadow Forest, where users can request admin access.
In this example, we won’t use MIM, we will look at the Shadow Principal and test the PAM feature in Active Directory at its core basics. Continue reading →
When I upgraded a domain to Windows Server 2016 DCs I noticed a bug in the adprep program that I have reproduced in my lab and wanted to share it here.
In Active Directory 2016 there is two new groups introduced.
Enterprise Key Admins
If you create a new domain with Windows Server 2016 the groups will be created and given Read and Write access to the ms-DS-Key-Credential-Link attribute on all child objects from the domain root.
There isn’t much public documentation about this attribute, and that isn’t what this blog post is about.
But it seems to have something with Windows Hello for Business providing key-based or certificate-based authentication. That is still not fully implemented in Active Directory, it’s on the roadmap for future release. You can read more about it here: Manage identity verification using Windows Hello for Business
I have also noticed the ADFS 4.0 installation wizard tries to add the service account as member of the Enterprise Key Admins group. You can read about it here: Upgrading the ADFS farm behavior level
When I upgraded a domain, and ran adprep.exe to prepare the domain for Windows Server 2016 DCs I noticed after running adprep.exe /domainprep two new SIDs representing the two new groups. Continue reading →
I got a question about LAPS and deleted Computer objects.
What happens if a Computer is disjoined from the domain or if the object is deleted, how do we recover the LAPS password?
And for how long can we recover the LAPS password? (if we don’t look at the backups you should have).
Computer is disjoined:
If you configure the client to join another Domain or a Workgroup the Computer object isn’t deleted in the Active Directory database. At most the computer account is disabled. No problems retrieving the password there.
This is a short follow-up on my earlier blog entry on the AdminSDHolder.
As stated earlier the AdminSDHolder process that runs as a background task on the Domain Controller acting as PDC Emulator sets the Security Descriptor of Protected Admin Groups.
The thing I wanted to revisit is when the adminCount attribute and Security Descriptor isn’t set on objects. Continue reading →
Local Administrator Password Solution (LAPS) has been around for a while and last year it became an official supported tool by Microsoft (don’t know if my tweaks are though) and there is a lot of articles about implementing LAPS, which is a no brainer and it works great.
Since there are so many articles about it, I would like to share my tweaks. Consider this article more about having fun and exploring the possibilities.