This will be the first part of a series about the LAPS product from Microsoft. LAPS stands for Local Administrator Password Solution. Once implemented, this product will change the local administrator password on all of your domain-joined machines to a random password. It stores this password as an attribute of the computer object.
This solution is designed for technical staff. It makes it unnecessary for them to log in to machines with their own account to perform administrative functions. This greatly reduces the risk of pass-the-hash or pass-the-password security breaches. With this solution, you no longer need a group of accounts for technical support to be administrators on our workstations.
Essentially, this solution manages the local administrator account. It does not have to be account 500 – it can be one that you designate. This solution will change the password on that account at an interval that you specify using complexity requirements that you also specify.
The AD attribute is stored in plain text, which could be a concern. You can, however, protect the attribute and only allow certain users to view it. The password is viewable as an attribute of the computer object from Active Directory Users and Computers, from PowerShell, or from a fat client that can be installed on tech workstations.
How Does LAPS Work?
LAPS works using Group Policy and a dll on your workstations. The download contains an MSI that you install on your management computers. This MSI contains the Group Policy ADMX and ADML files, the fat client, and the PowerShell module. This MSI can be installed on a central server, or on your technical staff computers. It by no means requires a management server. It is just a method to get the required dll and PowerShell module.
The schema on your Active Directory is extended to include two attributes – one for the password and one for the timestamp of when the password will expire. The schema is extended by running a cmdlet from the PowerShell module. The new attributes are ms-Mcs-AdmPwd and ms-Mcs-AdmPwdExpirationTime.
Next, you can either install the same MSI on client machines, just with different options, or you can copy and register a dll on client machines. I prefer the dll, because it does not register a program in Programs and Features. This dll can be registered using ConfigMgr (or like desktop management software) or by executing a script from Group Policy.
You can download LAPS here: https://microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=46899.
Come back soon for more on LAPS.
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