Security Compliance Manager 4.0 now available for download!

The Security Compliance Manager (SCM) is a free tool from Microsoft that enables you to quickly configure, and manage the computers in your environment using Group Policy and Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager. This version of SCM supports Windows 10, and Windows Server 2016. You can easily configure computers running Windows 10 and Windows Server…

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Security baseline for Windows 10 – DRAFT

[Removing the attachment from this post. Please see updated baseline content for Windows 10 v1507 (TH1) and Windows 10 v1511 (TH2).] Microsoft is pleased to announce the beta release of the security baseline settings for Windows 10 along with updated baseline settings for Internet Explorer 11. With this release we have taken a different approach from…

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Windows 10 and Security Compliance Manager (SCM) Baselines

[UPDATE: The draft guidance has been published here.] Hello, We have been receiving quite a few inquiries regarding SCM security baselines for Windows 10.  The baselines are currently in development, and have been for a few weeks now and we are targeting a public beta either later this month (August) or September.  The Windows 10…


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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Security baselines for Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2 and Internet Explorer 11 – FINAL

Microsoft is pleased to announce the final release of security baseline settings for Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2 and Internet Explorer 11. Some of the highlights of the new security baselines (many of which we intend to backport to older versions of Windows and IE): Use of new and existing settings to help block…

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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

[Note added 3 Oct 2017 to clarify an occasional misinterpretation: at no point does this blog post recommend against using FIPS mode. As stated near the end of the post, “we’re not telling customers to turn it off – our recommendation is that it’s each customer’s decision to make.”]   In the latest review of the official Microsoft…

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