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changing the Administrator password

Posted on 2004-04-26
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I have observed that in a standard installation of XP(SP1) or Win2K(SP4) *any* user belonging to the "administrator"-group can change without any problm the password of the master-user "Administrator".
Is it possible to protect the password of the user "Administrator" against such changings?

nmm
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Question by:nmm
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4 Comments
 
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Rich Rumble earned 450 total points
ID: 10923809
Not really... that's why there are best practices... but even with those being followed, it's still a trust issue. M$ Network Admin's face this when ever a new person joins their group, how long do you wait to give them full domain access? While you can't pevent it's changing, you may be able to log who changed it. The event log folder can also have pemissions set so that only "system" and "admin1" can delete the logs. That way there is accountability, but no real prevention. This is a something common to most OS's. The admin accounts are supposed to be the trusted accounts, if you are unsure, then you shouldn't give them access. There used to be a utility to lock the administrator account out, but M$ saw that this was the double-edged sword, and pulled it. The local administrator accounts can never be locked out, unless you could find that tool "admnlock
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;q281140&sd=tech (still they can reset the password just as before, if they are admins)

If you tried to guess passwords using terminal services, you'd also Never Be Locked out, even if the failed attempts were exceeded- TS thinks of all accounts as Local, even if they are domain accounts. you will be disconnected from TS once you've guessed wrong a few times, but you can keep at it forever! But the user your trying to guess' passwrod would of had to log-on to that server first. Despite the patch for 2000, this still works on XPpro...
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;274372
-rich

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by:graye
graye earned 150 total points
ID: 10924159
On the other hand... that means you can just have any one of those folks in the Administrators group run an application that puts the Admin password back to the way you want it.  We actually put a program like that in our login batch file periodically to clean up the mess the users make.

The program is called "RePass"... and is availabe as VB.Net source code at http://www.dpw.hood.army.mil/ftp/RePass
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by:nmm
ID: 10926750
Thanks for that information!

If I am in the admin-group than it is possible to change the passwords of any other users in the admin-groupand than i am the only one, who can acess the system with admin-rights.
If I have admin-rights, so it should also possible to disable "repass".

And the idea to protect the log from changing will also not work: if I can change the password of admin1, than after doing that, I can login as admin1 and than I can erase the traces in any log i want.

What is the sense of "admnlock", if they
still "can reset the password just as before, if they are admins"?


-nmm
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Expert Comment

by:SunBow
ID: 10929000
Admins can change passwords, it is their inherent right of control.

Admins as the most trusted of the tech staff, with all the keys at their disposal.

All admins must trust each othe, it is the nature of position, just as mgmt must trust them.

If one admin is not trusted by the others, it is past time for a reorg to change access rights to reflect trustability.
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