AD Attack Surface Reduction

Reduce Your Active Directory Attack Surface

Reduce your Active Directory attack surface by finding and closing the security gaps your legacy AD environment has accumulated over years of production.

AD misconfigurations pave the way to cyberattacks

Many organizations have legacy Active Directory forests spanning years or decades. Misconfigurations can accumulate over time because of competing priorities and lax enforcement of best practices such as locking down excessive permissions. As a result, most production Active Directory installations have dozens or hundreds of AD security vulnerabilities that threat actors can easily exploit. Semperis helps you reduce the AD attack surface by uncovering AD security vulnerabilities, mapping them against a standard security framework such as MITRE ATT&CK, and providing prioritized guidance to minimize or eliminate the vulnerabilities.

Microsoft Digital Defense Report:
of customers impacted by incidents had “insecure AD configuration”
Purple Knight users report:
average initial overall security score (a failing grade) for their AD environments
Microsoft Digital Defense Report:
1 hour, 42 minutes
the median time for an attacker to begin moving laterally after device compromise
Microsoft Digital Defense Report:
of organizations impacted by cyber incidents had no effective vulnerability and patch management process

Gain control of AD security

Directory Services Protector continuously monitors your Active Directory for Indicators of Exposure (IOEs) and Indicators of Compromise (IOCs) and provides actionable remediation guidance to reduce the AD attack surface.


Find AD security vulnerabilities lurking throughout your environment


Get actionable guidance on finding and fixing AD misconfigurations.

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Continuously monitor AD for configuration drift to keep vulnerabilities out.

Uncover and correct AD misconfigurations

Address accumulated AD vulnerabilities

As an almost quarter-century-old technology, your AD has vulnerabilities that have accumulated over time. And not just a few, either. Many AD environments will have 30 to 50 security vulnerabilities such as expired passwords or weak passwords—most of which will be a surprise to the AD administrators. Cyber criminals know where to look for AD vulnerabilities, and love to exploit them. Working through best practices helps, but you simply can’t discover all AD vulnerabilities without a purpose-built AD threat detection solution that is constantly updated to meet current threats. Semperis solutions help you find and fix AD security misconfigurations.

  • Scan for hundreds of AD vulnerabilities (IOEs and IOCs)
  • Map each vulnerability to MITRE ATT&CK, MITRE D3FEND, and ANSSI security frameworks
  • Use expert guidance from AD security pros to quickly close gaps
  • Continually monitor each AD security vulnerability for changes
  • Integrate detailed AD security data with SIEM and SOAR for better visibility
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Uncover common AD misconfigurations

Exploiting Active Directory misconfigurations is a popular path for attackers because it works. Many organizations with legacy AD environments struggle to stay on top of risky settings that proliferate over time. Onboarding and offboarding employees, consolidating identity systems through mergers and acquisitions, and rapid expansion (or contraction) of the employee base can lead to inadequate AD security practices. Common AD security misconfigurations that can create opportunities for cyberattacks include:

  • Non-default principals with DCSync rights
  • Permission changes on the AdminSDHolder object
  • Reversible passwords in Group Policy Objects
  • Anonymous access to Active Directory
  • Zerologon vulnerabilities
  • Non-expiring service account passwords
  • Non-domain admin access to domain controllers
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Uncover Vulnerabilities in Your Hybrid AD Environment

As the SolarWinds attack demonstrated, a compromise of on-premises Active Directory (AD) can be parlayed into a compromise of Azure AD. IT teams often are not equipped to detect and remediate IOEs or IOCs in Azure AD, and practitioners rarely have the visibility or expertise necessary to thwart attacks that start in the cloud and move on-premises, or vice versa. Most organizations will be operating in a hybrid identity scenario for the foreseeable future. It is simply not feasible to abandon on-premises assets for a wholesale shift to the cloud. Semperis provides visibility into security vulnerabilities across the hybrid AD environment so IT and security teams can detect and mitigate threats no matter where they originate.

  • Provides a single dashboard view of IOEs and IOCs in both on-prem AD and cloud-based Azure AD
  • Continuously monitors for new threats, including vulnerabilities specific to Azure AD
  • Enables rollback of risky changes to Azure AD group, role, and user objects
  • Provides backup and quick recovery of Azure AD group, role, and user objects
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Our mission resonates with industry leaders

I recommend Purple Knight for its ease of use—it’s GUI-based, it gives you a quick report card, and gives you a good, easy checklist of things to start working on.

Learn more Jim Shakespear Director of IT Security, Southern Utah University
School District

Purple Knight is a powerful tool with a nicely packaged set of scripts that does a fantastic job of showing you some of the hidden aspects of your AD that are just waiting to be discovered by the wrong person.

Learn more Patrick Emerick Senior Systems Engineer, Bethel School District
Gartner Peer Insights

We have lots of changes happening to our Active Directory environment, adding Linux servers, etc… [Directory Services Protector] helps us monitor and revert dangerous changes with one button click.

Read review IT Team Member, Enterprise Organization

Purple Knight is the first utility I’ve used that digs this deep into Active Directory. It works so well, I didn’t need to find anything else.

Learn more Micah Clark IT Manager, Central Utah Emergency Communications

Frequently asked questions about reducing the AD attack surface

What is the “Active Directory attack surface”?

The Active Directory attack surface is the number of all possible attack vectors (for example domain-joined clients, VPNs, internet-connected Exchange servers – any points that interact with Active Directory) that must be protected against an unauthorized user. The smaller the attack surface, the easier Active Directory is to protect.

Why is Active Directory so vulnerable to attacks?

Most Active Directory forests have been around for many years, even decades. This adds up to a lot of changes to the environment over time. And in a busy production environment, changes often get made to satisfy urgent customer requests without full security considerations. To add to the problem, changes that are made are rarely reviewed. This creates a large attack surface, coupled with the fact that gaining control of Active Directory allows the threat actor to extend control to much of an organization’s IT infrastructure.


How can I reduce the Active Directory attack surface?

There are several steps you can take, including reading and following Microsoft documentation on reducing AD attack surface. The overall goal is to conduct continual vulnerability assessments of your AD environment and develop a prioritized list of IOEs and IOCs for remediation. By systematically uncovering and addressing vulnerabilities, you can significantly improve your overall security posture and reduce opportunities for cyberattackers to exploit misconfigurations.

Are there tools to make reducing the Active Directory attack surface easier?

Using a free AD attack surface analysis tool such as Purple Knight will give you a comprehensive view of your vulnerabilities with recommendations in just minutes. You can use the prioritized remediation guidance (developed by AD security experts) to build a plan for finding and fixing your AD security problems.

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