Guido Grillenmeier Principal Technologist | Semperis

This paper emphasizes the significance of default read permissions in Active Directory (AD) security, which is often neglected. The AD forest is not just a security boundary, but it should also be regarded as the range of an intruder’s access and security assessment of AD objects after gaining entry into an organization’s network. Removing specific default read permissions is a low-risk measure that increases the difficulty for intruders to carry out reconnaissance and plan their next steps. Understanding the built-in logic of Microsoft’s protection mechanism for the most privileged accounts in the directory is crucial in comprehending the benefits and drawbacks of this mechanism.

This paper explains how to adjust the protection mechanism by removing risky default read permissions to improve AD safety. Moreover, the paper addresses the issue of misconfiguration debt in most AD infrastructures and how to fix the permissions on objects that were once part of a privileged group but are no longer. Ultimately, securing AD by restricting object visibility and general read permissions is critical in reducing AD’s attack surface and enhancing its security posture.