Authorization / Active Directory 'unofficial' admin(s)



This refers to a situation in which individuals or entities within an organization possess administrative privileges or elevated access rights within the Active Directory (AD) domain but are not officially designated as administrators. This can occur due to misconfigurations, insufficient monitoring, or the inappropriate delegation of permissions, allowing unauthorized personnel to have administrative control over critical AD components.


The risk associated with 'unofficial' admins in Active Directory is significant. Such individuals may have the ability to make changes to user accounts, access sensitive data, modify security settings, or even compromise the entire AD infrastructure. Unauthorized administrators can potentially disrupt services, steal sensitive information, or escalate their privileges, leading to data breaches, security incidents, and non-compliance with security policies and regulations.


  • Regular Audits: Conduct regular audits and reviews of Active Directory permissions and group memberships to identify and revoke unauthorized administrative privileges.
  • Least Privilege Principle: Adhere to the principle of least privilege, ensuring that users are only granted the permissions necessary to perform their specific tasks. Avoid over-assigning privileges.
  • Delegation Controls: Use Active Directory delegation controls to precisely define and manage administrative roles and responsibilities. Ensure that only authorized personnel have access to administrative functions.
  • Account Monitoring: Implement continuous monitoring and alerting systems to detect any unusual or unauthorized changes to AD configurations, user accounts, or group memberships.
  • Security Awareness Training: Provide security awareness training to educate employees about the risks associated with unauthorized access and the importance of following security policies and procedures.
  • Access Reviews: Conduct regular access reviews to evaluate the necessity of user permissions and privileges, ensuring that any unnecessary access is promptly revoked.
  • Role-Based Access Control (RBAC): Implement RBAC to define specific roles and responsibilities within AD and assign permissions accordingly, making it easier to manage and audit access.

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