|By ManageEngine IT Matters||
|September 19, 2016 03:18 PM EDT|
By Derek Melber, Technical Evangelist, ManageEngine
As I tour the world helping Active Directory administrators, auditors and security professionals secure their Windows environment, I often get questions about privileged access. The questions usually are about how privileges are granted and how an organization can know if its privileges are correct. These are great questions considering the onset of so many attacks on Windows in the past five to seven years. It is important to see that privileged access is usually at the core of these attacks.
There are many ways to grant privileges in a Windows environment. Granting privileges is rather easy. Reporting and analyzing the current privileged access, however, can be a bit harder. There is no centralized location that shows an administrator or auditor the current privileged access. Understanding the different technologies and features that grant privileged access is the first step. Then, for each area where privileges can be granted, there are five steps that should be taken to ensure ongoing privileged access security.
Those steps include:
- Reporting on the current settings
- Analyzing the settings to understand who has privileged access
- Configuring the correct privileged access
- Monitoring for changes to privileged access
- Alerting, in real time, for key privileged access changes
The technologies and features in a Windows environment that grant privileged access include:
- Group membership
- User rights
- Access control lists or permissions
Depending on how the group is configured in the environment, it can have the highest level of privileges or just a few privileges. For example, the Domain Admins group has nearly the highest level of privileges in the entire Active Directory domain. Just adding a user to this group grants this level of privilege. However, the most complex concept with reporting on groups is to get the recursive group members, i.e., the users who are located in nested groups of the main group and who need to be reported as well.
There are plenty of reporting tools that can get group membership recursively, though. PowerShell by Microsoft and ADManager Plus by ManageEngine are two options.
User rights control global access over different aspects of a domain controller, server or workstation. User rights are configured using Group Policy, giving granular control of each computer individually. Therefore, each computer could have a unique set of user rights, making the reporting and configuration of these settings difficult and time consuming.
Every Windows computer comes with a built-in tool, secpol.msc, which can report the current user rights on each computer. The tool must be run locally, but it is extremely powerful and gives precise configurations. Since each user right provides some level of privilege over the computer, each and every user right should be evaluated and configured to meet the minimum requirements for server access.
Access Control Lists
Controlling access to files and folders is essential for assuring the security of data within any organization. You need to properly configure the access control lists for your key data and ensure that they only provide access to the appropriate people. The wrong privileges granted to a file or folder could severely hurt, or even destroy, a company.
Reporting on who has access to a file or folder is a monumental task, due to the volume of files and folders on a typical network. Therefore, selection of the most important data must occur, and then those selected files and folders can be the focus of the security hardening. There are many tools that can help report on data access control lists, but if you do not want to purchase a tool, you can always use the built-in xcacls.exe tool, which comes with all Windows computers.
The concept of delegation falls under the category of access control lists, but it is a specific term used for Active Directory and Group Policy management. Due to the complexity of Active Directory delegation, the configuration of the delegation is typically done through the Delegate Control Wizard. This wizard is located on the drop-down menu for the domain node for each Organizational Unit in the Active Directory Users and Computers tool. The wizard defines which account (user or group) is granted a specific task. The most common tasks are resetting passwords for users and modifying group membership, both of which have a potential impressive security impact if the wrong account is granted the delegation.
The Delegate Control Wizard can only configure the delegations-it can't report or remove delegations. Therefore, a different tool must be used for each task. The built-in dsacls.exe tool is ideal for reporting on delegations for each Active Directory node. As for modifications to existing delegations, that is typically left up to manual efforts performed on the Security tab located on the object's Property page.
Assuring that privileged access is understood, configured properly and monitored is a huge step toward hardening the security of your Windows environment. Without the correct reports, configurations or monitoring, it is impossible to know what privileges are granted. Beyond that, without the knowledge of privileged access, you are leaving your organization open for an easy attack. However, with the correct tools in place to monitor and alert on changes to correct privileged access, there is little that can sneak by you if an attack occurs.
Derek Melber is the technical evangelist for ManageEngine, a division of Zoho Corporation. As one of only a handful of Microsoft Group Policy MVPs, Derek helps Active Directory administrators, auditors and security professionals understand the finer points of how to manage, audit, recover and solve issues that occur in Active Directory and Group Policy. He educates IT professionals worldwide on Active Directory, Group Policy and Security and has authored over 15 books on Windows security and management. He's famous for his video shorts in which he offers quick, practical solutions for Active Directory management.
Have you ever noticed how some IT people seem to lead successful, rewarding, and satisfying lives and careers, while others struggle? IT author and speaker Don Crawley uncovered the five principles that successful IT people use to build satisfying lives and careers and he shares them in this fast-paced, thought-provoking webinar. You'll learn the importance of striking a balance with technical skills and people skills, challenge your pre-existing ideas about IT customer service, and gain new in...
Mar. 25, 2017 09:15 AM EDT Reads: 2,337
SYS-CON Events announced today that SD Times | BZ Media has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. BZ Media LLC is a high-tech media company that produces technical conferences and expositions, and publishes a magazine, newsletters and websites in the software development, SharePoint, mobile development and commercial UAV markets.
Mar. 25, 2017 09:15 AM EDT Reads: 4,086
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
Mar. 25, 2017 08:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,911
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudistics, an on-premises cloud computing company, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloudistics delivers a complete public cloud experience with composable on-premises infrastructures to medium and large enterprises. Its software-defined technology natively converges network, storage, compute, virtualization, and management into a ...
Mar. 25, 2017 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,713
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
Mar. 25, 2017 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 13,901
SYS-CON Events announced today that Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR), an industry leader in automated, scalable and secure networks, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Juniper Networks challenges the status quo with products, solutions and services that transform the economics of networking. The company co-innovates with customers and partners to deliver automated, scalable and secure network...
Mar. 25, 2017 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,141
"I think that everyone recognizes that for IoT to really realize its full potential and value that it is about creating ecosystems and marketplaces and that no single vendor is able to support what is required," explained Esmeralda Swartz, VP, Marketing Enterprise and Cloud at Ericsson, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Mar. 25, 2017 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 3,979
Historically, some banking activities such as trading have been relying heavily on analytics and cutting edge algorithmic tools. The coming of age of powerful data analytics solutions combined with the development of intelligent algorithms have created new opportunities for financial institutions. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Sebastien Meunier, Head of Digital for North America at Chappuis Halder & Co., will discuss how these tools can be leveraged to develop a lasting competitive advanta...
Mar. 25, 2017 07:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,556
SYS-CON Events announced today that Loom Systems will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Founded in 2015, Loom Systems delivers an advanced AI solution to predict and prevent problems in the digital business. Loom stands alone in the industry as an AI analysis platform requiring no prior math knowledge from operators, leveraging the existing staff to succeed in the digital era. With offices in S...
Mar. 25, 2017 06:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,032
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 add...
Mar. 25, 2017 06:45 AM EDT Reads: 739
SYS-CON Events announced today that HTBase will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. HTBase (Gartner 2016 Cool Vendor) delivers a Composable IT infrastructure solution architected for agility and increased efficiency. It turns compute, storage, and fabric into fluid pools of resources that are easily composed and re-composed to meet each application’s needs. With HTBase, companies can quickly prov...
Mar. 25, 2017 06:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,704
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named “Platinum Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business – from apparel to energy – is being rewritten by software. From ...
Mar. 25, 2017 06:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,511
What if you could build a web application that could support true web-scale traffic without having to ever provision or manage a single server? Sounds magical, and it is! In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Munns, Senior Developer Advocate for Serverless Applications at Amazon Web Services, will show how to build a serverless website that scales automatically using services like AWS Lambda, Amazon API Gateway, and Amazon S3. We will review several frameworks that can help you build serverle...
Mar. 25, 2017 06:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,622
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
Mar. 25, 2017 05:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,378
Culture is the most important ingredient of DevOps. The challenge for most organizations is defining and communicating a vision of beneficial DevOps culture for their organizations, and then facilitating the changes needed to achieve that. Often this comes down to an ability to provide true leadership. As a CIO, are your direct reports IT managers or are they IT leaders? The hard truth is that many IT managers have risen through the ranks based on their technical skills, not their leadership abi...
Mar. 25, 2017 05:00 AM EDT Reads: 10,854