RE: Changing local admin PW using vb logon script - can it be encrypted?

Not advice, per se; just one (admittedly simple) option among many
offered herein.

As I stated, your techniques have to be balanced against the threats and
functionality and clients you have to support.

For instance, renaming the admin account is relatively weak "security by
obscurity", but it stops the vast majority of script kiddie
admin-seeking account attacks. Anyone with read access to the domain
and a modicum of scripting skills can reverse-resolve the any SID to an
account name and off they go. I can think of no less than three
different mechanisms available to Windows scripting that would allow

One thing to bear in mind is that if your users actually pose an active
security threat as opposed to those that just bring in new and
interesting forms of worms / viruses, then you have far more to worry
about than just changing your local admin password via scripts...

Jim Harrison
Security Platform Group (ISA SE)
If We Can't Fix It - It Ain't Broke!

-----Original Message-----
From: Derick Anderson [mailto:danderson@xxxxxxxxx]
Sent: Tuesday, December 06, 2005 5:19 AM
To: focus-ms@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: RE: Changing local admin PW using vb logon script - can it be

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jim Harrison (ISA) [mailto:Jim.Harrison@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]
> Sent: Monday, December 05, 2005 2:15 PM
> To: Thor (Hammer of God); Info; tth8@xxxxxxxxxxx;
> focus-ms@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Subject: RE: Changing local admin PW using vb logon script -
> can it be encrypted?
> True enough, but to quote a tall, hairy dewd I've worked with
> in front of a paying audience, "true security is a delicate
> balance between functionality and protection".
> Agreed - if your users are the least bit savvy, this trick
> will only buy you 5 minutes while they search for the script
> decoder, but if they're of the "where is the anykey?"
> variety, none of them will be any the wiser.
> Jim Harrison
> Security Platform Group (ISA SE)

I've been following this thread as I similarly want to change the local
admin password on multiple machines. I have to say I was a bit surprised
to see this kind of advice - maybe all the users where you work are
clueless, but I doubt that's the case in most organizations. And this
isn't just some relatively useless information, it's the local admin
account which I, as an intruder, would love to see "encoded" in a logon

I missed the tall hairy "dewd" reference, and I agree that security must
always be balanced by usability, but surely something as valuable as
local admin ought to have more protection than that.

I would theorize (having not tried this yet) that setting a registry key
in Group Policy with the appropriate permissions and using a startup
script (runs as local machine, rather than current user, if memory
serves) instead of a logon script would be a fairly trivial way to
accomplish this task securely. Sure it takes 10 minutes longer to set up
but with the right permissions is far more secure and just as easy to

Derick Anderson



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