Top 5 Ways to Protect Your Active Directory
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Top 5 Ways to Protect Your Active Directory


As a security professional, you know that the best way to protect your Active Directory (AD) environment is to use strong authentication methods, have strict access control policies in place, and regularly monitor the system for unusual activity. But even with all these precautions in place, there are still ways an attacker can gain unauthorized access to your domain controllers or targets. The following five tips will help you ensure that hackers don't get into your AD environment:

Why Protect Your Active Directory

Active Directory is a critical part of any company's infrastructure. It allows employees to access email, data and applications securely and efficiently. Most companies that rely on Active Directory implement it with the goal of securing their IT assets and ensuring that they can continue to run smoothly even in times of high stress or disruption.

Active Directories are becoming the Achille's heel of companies. AD are becoming a popular way to successfully compromise a business' data. The following five tips will help keep both external hackers out of your network and internal employees from causing harm:

1. Ensure your Domain Admins group is well protected

The Domain Admins group is one of the most powerful groups on your Active Directory, as it has administrative rights over every object in your domain. As such, it is essential that you protect this group from being compromised. To do this:

  • Don't use the Domain Admins group for routine tasks like file sharing or sending emails. This will reduce the chance of a successful attack against the Windows host system which may result in gaining access to members of this group.
  • Don't use the Domain Admins group for day-to-day administration purposes because they have full administrator rights over all objects within Active Directory and can create new users with those same rights if they so choose.

2. Use of AdminSDHolder objects

An AdminSDHolder object is a special container that contains all the permissions for the AD DS and LDAP administration.

The [AdminSDHolder] attribute will be added to every user or group and maintained by the system when you create an AdminSDHolder object. The attribute remains even if you later remove the container from your domain. This means that every person who has ever had access to your domain, even if they no longer work there or have been changed or fired, still has full control over all items in Active Directory including users and computers because they have been given this right by default.

This means that it is impossible to completely remove someone who was once a part of your network but no longer needs access because their permissions are granted through these privileges!

To create an adminSDHolder object we need to first take ownership over "ADMIN$" drive which we normally don't use and then add some security settings on it using PowerShell script:

1. Open Windows PowerShell as an administrator.

2. Type "Cd C:\windows\system32\config" and hit Enter to get into the ADMIN$ folder.

3. Create a new file called "AdminSDHolder.ps1" using any text editor, like Notepad++ or Wordpad

3. Maintain continuous visibility

Maintaining continuous visibility into AD attack indicators is essential for protecting your organization from potential threats. However, it is also important to ensure that this visibility does not impact business operations. By implementing the right tools and processes, you can ensure that you have the visibility you need without disrupting the smooth functioning of your organization.

In addition to providing continuous visibility, these tools and processes can also help you detect identity and service account misuse, reduce the mean time to respond to unauthorized mass account changes and suspicious password changes, and receive proactive notifications related to AD attacks.

By taking these steps, you can effectively monitor and protect your AD environment while also enabling your organization to operate smoothly.

4. Use SID Filtering to prevent domain trusts from being used to attack other domains trust relationship

Another way you can protect your Active Directory is by using SID filtering. This security feature of Active Directory prevents domain trusts from being used to attack other domains' trust relationships.

SID filtering is enabled by default, but can be disabled if necessary and then reenabled later. If you want to enable or disable SID filtering, follow these steps:

  • Click Start > Administrative Tools > Services on your domain controller's computer or server.
  • Right-click NetLogon and then click Properties.

5. Create a new separate administrative forest for tier 0 and tier 1 administrators.

As we all know, the best way to protect your company's Active Directory is by creating a new administrative forest for tier 0 and tier 1 administrators. This will help prevent users with standard privileges from having access to critical data like user names and passwords. A separate administrative forest will also help contain any damage if an attacker manages to compromise credentials within the primary Active Directory environment.

If you're not sure how many forests you need, consider using one for each geographic location where employees work—a separate forest for each site will keep things simple for IT admins when it comes time to make changes or manage security incidents in those areas.

If possible, use different credentials for each of your administrative domains or forests so that if one gets compromised through social engineering tactics or malware infection (or just plain old bad luck), it won't affect other parts of your networked ecosystem such as applications running on server farms located elsewhere in physical space but still part of this same logical grouping known as "Data Center A."


Outsource Active directory protection by investing in a solution like SentinelOne's Ranger AD. Ranger AD provides real-time vulnerability assessment around identity security, including misconfigurations, excessive privileges, or data exposures. It also discovers weaknesses before attackers can exploit them, reducing the attack surface for Microsoft Active Directory (AD) and Azure AD. It identifies any vulnerabilities, skip the expensive and manual audits and proactively detects attacks.


In summary, the best way to keep your Active Directory secure is by using a combination of these techniques. Using AD security best practices alone won’t guarantee that your network remains invulnerable. That is why introducing a solution like Ranger AD will take your AD protection to the next level.

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