Securing Domain Admins Groups in Active Directory

This is just a quick post to raise awareness of one way we can help protect our Domain Admins Group in Active Directory. I have talked previously about privilege separation and the need within the Enterprise to reduce the credential foot print of high privilege accounts. As Microsoft describes in this particular article discussing best practices, Domain Admin accounts should only be used for build and disaster recovery scenarios and should not be used for day to day activities. By following this simple rule you are mitigating against having Domain Admin credentials being cached on workstations or member servers, and therefore less likely to be dumped out of memory should the box become compromised.

We can secure the Domain Admins group for both member workstations and member servers with the following Group Policy Objects from the following user rights policy in Computer Configuration\Policies\Windows Settings\Security Settings\Local Settings\User Rights Assignments:

  • Deny access to this computer from the network
  • Deny log on as a batch job
  • Deny log on as a service
  • Deny log on locally
  • Deny log on through Remote Desktop Services user rights

Lets take a closer look and create the policy:

In our Group Policy Management console we will start off with a new policy:

Right click on the policy and click edit. Find the first policy ‘Deny access to this computer from the network’. Open it up and add the Domain Admins group to the list. Click ‘OK’.

Rinse and Repeat for the remaining policies:

Link the policy through to your computers and member workstations. Remember if your using ‘Jump boxes’ to administer your domain controllers you will need to create an exception for these and  with a different policy.

This is one small piece in a massive jigsaw of securing AD. However I hope this helps, for further reading visit https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server/identity/ad-ds/plan/security-best-practices/appendix-f–securing-domain-admins-groups-in-active-directory .

 

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