I’m sure you’re probably tired of the bombardment of Info-Sec (Information Technology Security) articles and posts telling you that you need something more to fight lateral movement. Do this, do that, buy this, trial that, use this freeware. It is exhausting if you are an IT Pro trying to do the best thing without impacting your budget or users too much. Ransomware and other exploits target lateral movement as a way to get to the privileged accounts on your network. I am not going to list changes that have a big impact on your users like removing local admin rights. You should never allow users to have local admin rights in any production environment and, if you are allowing it, you’re going to spend a lot of time implementing the removal of those rights. Passwords should be long and complex and if you aren’t protecting your log in accounts with lock out policies then you have bigger problems than Ransomware. Patching shouldn’t be talked about because patching isn’t negotiable any more. Do it and don’t ask questions. You shouldn’t be more than 30 days (14 days is better) behind in patching and you should be patching ALL of your third party software in that time frame as well. Instead, I will be talking about things that IT Pros can do that cost very little or nothing at all and have little impact on your users. Most of this will consist of minor configuration changes in Microsoft software including Windows and Office as well as other infrastructure changes related to networking that can yield decent protection rewards. So let’s get to it.
This will get much more intense through the remainder of the year as Microsoft ramps up the upgrades of Windows 7/8 computers joined to Active Directory domains. This post is all about what you need to know to block this upgrade from happening without having to manage Windows Update Services.
This is something that is super easy to accomplish and can have a big impact on your Group Policies management scope.