Blocking Remote Use of Local Accounts

The use of local accounts for remote access in Active Directory environments is problematic for a number of reasons. By far, the biggest problem is that when an administrative local account has the same user name and password on multiple machines, an attacker with administrative rights on one machine can easily obtain the account’s password…

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What's New in Recommended Security Baseline Settings for Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2, and Internet Explorer 11

The attachment on this post describes what's new in the security baseline recommendations for Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2 and Internet Explorer 11, relative to the baselines published for Windows 8, Windows Server 2012 and Internet Explorer 10.  It is included as a Word document in the download from yesterday's announcement blog post.  We are posting the document here…

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Configuring Account Lockout

We can recommend an ideal configuration for most of the settings in our security guidance. For example, the “Debug programs” privilege should be granted to Administrators and to no one else. For account lockout, however, there is no “one size fits all” setting, but there’s a lot of heated discussion whenever anyone tries to pick…

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Changes in the Security Guidance for Windows 8.1, Server 2012 R2 and IE11 since the beta

We have made a small number of changes in the baseline security guidance for Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2 and Internet Explorer 11 since we released the beta version of our guidance last April. This blog post discusses those changes and the reasons for them. Account Lockout Threshold: we’re changing the incorrect-password threshold that…

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Why We’re Not Recommending “FIPS Mode” Anymore

In the latest review of the official Microsoft security baselines for all versions of Windows client and Windows Server, we decided to remove our earlier recommendation to enable “FIPS mode”, or more precisely, the security option called “System Cryptography: Use FIPS compliant algorithms for encryption, hashing, and signing.”  In our previous guidance we had recommended…

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Security baselines for Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2 and Internet Explorer 11 (BETA)

Update, 13 August 2014:  The final version of this guidance has been posted here.The changes since the beta are described here, with a separate discussion about the changes in the Account Lockout policy here. Microsoft is pleased to announce the beta release of security baseline settings for Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2 and Internet Explorer…

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Security Compliance Manager 3.0 now available for download!

Secure your environment with SCM 3.0! The Security Compliance Manager (SCM) is a free tool from the Microsoft Solution Accelerators team that enables you to quickly configure and manage the computers in your environment and your private cloud using Group Policy and Microsoft® System Center Configuration Manager. This version of SCM supports Windows Server 2012,…

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Security Compliance Manager (SCM) version 2.5 now available

You’ve been asking for Exchange Server baselines. You’ve been waiting for the Windows 7 SP1 baseline update. They are all available now in SCM v2.5! SCM 2.5 includes a number of new and updated baselines, empowering you to manage configuration drift, address compliance requirements, and reduce security threats in your organization’s IT environment, traditional data…

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