Microsoft Network Vulnerabilities Exposed: Zero Trust and Security Measures Underutilized

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Microsoft Network Vulnerabilities Exposed: Zero Trust and Security Measures Underutilized
(Image: Pixabay)

Administering a Microsoft network and got hacked? Welcome to the club. Haven’t been hacked yet? Don’t rest easy because it’s only a matter of time.

Why do I say this? Because unfortunately, Microsoft networks are inherently insecure. Ultimately, this can’t be completely prevented because what makes Active Directory so popular among Microsoft’s customers is also its Achilles’ heel—the centralized administration.

Once an attacker gains access to a network, it usually doesn’t take long for them to conduct what’s called a lateral attack to take over all clients and ultimately gain access to the domain controller—the network’s holy grail.

Any security expert will confirm that it’s nearly impossible to completely secure a network against attackers—this is called ‘Assume Breach,’ meaning assume you’ve been hacked and just don’t know it yet.

By the way, Microsoft sees this similarly and advocates ‘Zero Trust’ for its cloud—trust no one. Especially not your own clients!

That doesn’t mean a network shouldn’t be secured at all because every security measure is futile. However, efforts should be made to detect an attack as early as possible and take countermeasures—typically, with ransomware, this means immediately shutting down affected systems and servers.

Not activated by default

Furthermore, the rule applies: the harder it is for an attacker to spread within a network, the more time there is to discover them before it’s too late.

And here lies the crux of the matter: Microsoft has significantly bolstered Windows technically over the past ten years to achieve just that—unfortunately, Microsoft doesn’t activate all these measures by default. Moreover, many of these features are so well-hidden that one might never find them, even when actively searching. Need some examples?

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Mark Brannon
Tech journalist Mark Brannon explores the digital frontier, delivering engaging news and in-depth features on cutting-edge innovations and industry developments.