Category Archives: IT Security

Resetting Domain Controller Computer Object Passwords Twice

There are times when you may need to reset the Domain Controller computer object passwords.

NOTE: You will have to move the PDC role to another DC in order to perform this task on the DC that currently holds this FSMO role.


  1. Logon to a Domain Controller as a Domain Admin with an interactive session.
  2. Temporarily Stop the “Kerberos Key Distribution Center” Service and set it’s Startup to Manual
  3. Run the following command:
    “netdom resetpwd /s:DC01 /ud:DOMAIN\DomAdmin /pd:*
    1. Enter the password the account specified above
  4. Restart the “Kerberos Key Distribution Center” Service and set it’s Startup to Automatic

You can pull the pwdLastSet field of the Domain Controllers to verify that the password did actually update.

In certain instances dealing with Cybersecurity & Incident Response you may need to perform this action twice on all Domain Controllers.

“Double-Tap” reset of the krbtgt account

We recently ran a “double-tap” reset of the krbtgt account in our Active Directory and ran into very few problems. We have the default 10 hour Kerberos ticket lifetime configured.

EDIT: The biggest issue was an internal .NET Portal that was federated with ADFS, it needed to be restarted

We ran the script that is out on Microsoft’s github repository.

We ran this first in our test environment and then scheduled the run for our Production environment a week night evening at 10pm to make sure people would be around if there were issues the following morning.

The recommended way to run this script is using the following modes:

  1. Mode 1 – Informational Run Only
  2. Mode 8 – Create bogus krbtgt test account
  3. Mode 2 – Simulation Run to verify replication
  4. Mode 3 – Simuation Run to verify replication and password reset of bogus krbtgt
  5. Mode 4 – Real Run, Modifying Real krbtgt Account
  6. Mode 9 – Cleanup bogus krbtgt test account

We ran Mode 3 and Mode 4 twice, on the second run of Mode 4 you will see some warning text that there could be a major domain impact.

The only major impact that was noticed in our environment was that remote desktop to many of our servers stopped working if using the fully qualified name. A workaround to this would be to use the IP which will use NTLM authentication.

However, after our 10 hour ticket time all machines were back to working as expected.

This script should be run a couple times a year depending on who you ask for only a single-tap reset of the account. I’ve heard recommendations from every 90 days to every 180 days. It should also be run anytime someone who can forge golden tickets leaves the environment (Twice if there is concern).

Windows Server 2022, IIS Certificate Authentication not working. (Connection Reset)

I was working with a colleague of mine the other day on this issue. If you are using WIndows Server 2022 with IIS to setup a website that will use client certificate authentication and notice that you are not prompted for a certificate….. the issue is probably TLS 1.3.

Windows Server 2022 IIS by default uses TLS 1.3. If you check the box to disable TLS 1.3 which will fall back to TLS 1.2 everything works.

Still not sure at this moment who is to blame, Microsoft, or the web browsers.

EDIT: Update from the Microsoft Article

Yes, I got answer: Microsoft implemented TLS 1.3 in most secure way by RFC. IIS wants to perform post-handshake authentication. Unfortunately common browsers do not support it in default configuration. You can enable it only with Firefox (when I last checked, maybe samething changed in near past). So, de facto IIS default configuration for two-way SSL with common browsers do not work with IIS when TLS 1.3 only is enabled.

You can enable IIS and TLS 1.3 only configuration by enabling in-handshake method for IIS instead on post-handshake method.

Forcing ADFS 3.0 to run TLS 1.2

If you haven’t already forced ADFS to run on TLS 1.2 you are behind the curve. Activating TLS 1.2 on ADFS and turning off all other vulnerable services is relatively easy.

Step 1: Disable SSL 2.0, SSL 3.0, TLS 1.0, TLS 1.1, RC4 & Enable Strong Auth for .NET

The first step that always goes unsaid is to snapshot your Virtual Machines or get a solid backup state before making any changes to a running production environment. The next unsaid step is to perform these activities on a test/dev environment before taking down Production!

SSL 2.0 and SSL 3.0 should already be disabled, if they are not disable them immediately! The following link from Microsoft provides the registry keys and powershell needed to disable all of these services. Make sure these changes are being made on all Web Application Proxies (WAPs) and ADFS servers.

  • Disable SSL 2.0
  • Disable SSL 3.0
  • Disable TLS 1.0
  • Disable TLS 1.1
  • Disable RC4
  • Enable Strong Authentication for .NET Applications

Step 2: Reboot all Virtual Machines / Servers

This step is pretty self explanatory.

Step 3: ADFS is Br0ken, Oh Noes!!

Disabling TLS 1.0 will break ADFS 3.0, more specifically it breaks the connection between the WAPs and the ADFS servers. This is easy to fix though.

Following this article on re-establishing the trust:

Quick Recap: Change this registry value on the primary Web Application Proxy:

HKLM\Software\Microsoft\ADFS\ProxyConfigurationStatus –> 1

This value normally has a value of 2 (which means configured), change it back to 1, and this change does not even require a reboot.

Open up Server Manager and launch “Remote Access Manager”, select “Web Application Proxy” and put in the required information to re-establish the trust.

You may need to reboot the WAPs one more time, I had to.

Step 4: Verify SSL Services are Correct

Once all services come back up, it would be a good time to verify that all the services you think you turned off are actually off. A SSL Server Test tool would be great for that, like the one by SSL Labs:

Step 5: You may need to correct internal .NET Applications pointing to ADFS

Internal .NET Applications may start failing. If you start to receive error messages like “Authentication failed because the remote party has closed the transport stream”, it just means you are not specifying TLS 1.2.

There is a great article on Microsoft Docs here that explains the situation and the fix:

The developers will just need to specify the SecurityProtocol in their application.

GrrCon Early Bird Tickets on Sale March 1, 2022

I attended the GrrCon Cyber Security Summit & Hacker Conference for the first time last year. Although it was kind of overwhelming I learned a lot and had a great experience. I’m planning to be back at the conference this year.

GrrCon put out a tweet last week stating that the early bird tickets would be going on sale March 1, 2022.

This year’s conference is scheduled to take place October 13th & 14th at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Monitoring Domain Controller Windows Firewall Logs (Part of Active Directory Hardening Series)

The first step before you can monitor the local DC firewall logs is to make sure you have properly setup your domain controllers to log firewall activity. If you have not already turned on firewall logging and increased the log size to the maximum you can configure that by looking at my prior post:

I have shared a new script on GitHub to do some basic monitoring of dropped traffic on your Domain Controllers.

I currently run this script every hour and I get plenty of overlap for logs. The logs roll relatively quick but not that quick. I’m also logging all allows and I may change that in the future to only log drops.

In order to see dropped traffic outbound you would have to have outgoing firewall rules in place. By default traffic is not blocked going out. You can reference my previous post linked above.

In the example below you can see I’m limiting all TCP/UDP outbound traffic on Non HTTP ports to a certain subset of IP ranges:

If this Domain Controller tries to send any NON-HTTP(s) traffic outside of the organization it will show up in the DC firewall logs.

Example of HTML Report:

If your IT Security group has the hardware firewalls super locked down you may not see much if any traffic being dropped on the local DCs, but it still isn’t a bad idea to have another layer of security around such a high profile service!

Lock down your Active Directory Domain Controllers internet access! (Part of my Active Directory Hardening Series)

If you want to follow the Security Technical Implementation Guide (STIG) for Active Directory you will come across V-53727, AD.0015, stating that internet access should be restricted. If you ask Microsoft what you should do, they also state internet access should be restricted but provide no clear mechanism to do so.


What is the best way to turn off browsing the internet on Domain Controllers that doesn’t involve contacting your Information Security team? I’m glad you asked. I’m going to walk you through the process I’ve put forward to implement locked down Windows Firewall rules on the Domain Controllers.

There may be criticism here that things could be locked down even more, and I DO NOT disagree with you. This article is more about getting started on locking down your Domain Controllers not the solve-all be-all guide. This write-up is one of many I hope to include in a Domain Controller Hardening Series.

NOTE: These Firewall Rules May Not Work For Your Organization! We are not running DHCP, WINS, or Integrated AD DNS. We also have RPC dynamic ports locked to 1,000 ports.

For changing RPC ports on the Domain Controllers, I followed this article:

Create Group Policy and link it to Domain Controllers OU for Firewall Rules
(Set the scope to one DC if you are worried)

In this Group Policy, open it up and edit it and navigate to the following area:

  1. Computer Configuration
  2. Policies
  3. Windows Settings
  4. Security Settings
  5. Windows Firewall with Advanced Security

If you are implementing changes like this in a TEST environment which I highly recommend first and you happen to be connected to one of the DCs to do this work you will want to perform the following things first to prevent being disconnected.

These Domain Controllers should be behind a hardware firewall, so leaving all remote addresses set to ANY while you configure, you should still have protection from your hardware firewall until you can go through rule-by-rule and lock them down. I’m not providing any guidance here as all organizations are different.

Go to Inbound Rules and create your base ruleset.

Rule NameProtocolLocal Port
Active Directory Web ServicesTCP9389
NetBIOS Session ServiceTCP139
Kerberos Password ChangeTCP464
Kerberos Password ChangeUDP464
LDAP Global CatalogTCP3268
LDAPS Global CatalogTCP3269
NetBIOS Name ServiceTCP137
NetBIOS Name ServiceUDP137
NetBIOS Datagram ServiceUDP138
Remote Desktop ProtocolTCP3389
Remote Desktop ProtocolUDP3389
RPC Endpoint MapperTCP135
RPC Dynamically Assigned PortsTCP Example: 50000-51000
Windows Remote Management (WinRM)TCP5985-5986
These are created on ALL profiles

Go to Outbound Rules and create your base ruleset.

Rule NameRemote AddressProtocolLocal PortRemote Port
Allow ICMPv4, ICMPv6 OutboundAnyICMPv4/ICMPv6ANYANY
Allow All Traffic Outbound (TCP)AnyTCPANY1-79,81-442,444-65535
Allow All Traffic Outbound (UDP)AnyUDPANY1-79,81-442,444-65535
Allow Outbound Web Traffic Exceptions<IPs> Crowdstrike, PKI, etc.TCPANY80, 443
Allow Outbound Web Traffic Exceptions<IPs> Crowdstrike, PKI, etc.UDPANY80, 443
These are created on ALL profiles

By default Windows Firewall will allow all traffic outbound. These outbound rules are needed because I’m going to change the behavior to block traffic outbound by default and then put in an exception to most traffic out.

This is done to stop web traffic outbound on ports 80/443, except for the IPs we know are OK (for example Crowdstrike, or PKI services). You could and should argue that outbound traffic should be limited to your workplace but I’m not covering that level of specifics in this guide.

Right-Click “Windows Firewall with Advanced Security – LDAP://…” and click Properties.

Make sure the Firewall State is “On”, and Inbound Connections are set to “Block (default)” and Outbound Connections are set to “Block”. Verify these settings for all three Domain Profiles (Domain, Private, Public).

Next, while still in this dialog box under “Domain Profile” click Customize under Settings. I have turned off displaying a notification when a program is blocked. I have also disallowed rule merging. By turning off Rule Merging you will remove a lot of the “garbage” Microsoft Firewall Rules that are created by default. This will allow you full control of the Windows Firewall.

Next, click “Customize” under Logging, on the Domain Profile tab. Here, I’m using the default log location:

I’ve also maximized the firewall log to 32MB, and I’m logging dropped packets and successful connections, this is needed for troubleshooting later.

Once this is complete you should be able to to run “gpupdate /force” on one of your Domain Controllers and launch Windows Firewall. The Windows Firewall current rules that are being enforced are found under “Monitoring -> Firewall”

You should see all of the rules that you setup enforced and you can now begin to lock down things potentially even more-so than the hardware firewall depending on your IT Security team.

This should be enough to get you started on your journey. If you have a close relationship with your IT Security Team, it would also be good to reach out to them and get their rule-set for your Domain Controllers. You may find that you can help IT Security lock down the hardware firewall even more!