2.3.1.1 Ensure 'Accounts: Administrator account status' is set to 'Disabled' (MS only)

Information

This policy setting enables or disables the Administrator account during normal operation. When a computer is booted into safe mode, the Administrator account is always enabled, regardless of how this setting is configured. Note that this setting will have no impact when applied to the Domain Controllers organizational unit via group policy because Domain Controllers have no local account database. It can be configured at the domain level via group policy, similar to account lockout and password policy settings.

The recommended state for this setting is: Disabled.

Rationale:

In some organizations, it can be a daunting management challenge to maintain a regular schedule for periodic password changes for local accounts. Therefore, you may want to disable the built-in Administrator account instead of relying on regular password changes to protect it from attack. Another reason to disable this built-in account is that it cannot be locked out no matter how many failed logons it accrues, which makes it a prime target for brute force attacks that attempt to guess passwords. Also, this account has a well-known security identifier (SID) and there are third-party tools that allow authentication by using the SID rather than the account name. This capability means that even if you rename the Administrator account, an attacker could launch a brute force attack by using the SID to log on.

Solution

To establish the recommended configuration via GP, set the following UI path to Disabled:

Computer Configuration\Policies\Windows Settings\Security Settings\Local Policies\Security Options\Accounts: Administrator account status

Impact:

Maintenance issues can arise under certain circumstances if you disable the Administrator account. For example, if the secure channel between a member computer and the Domain Controller fails in a domain environment for any reason and there is no other local Administrator account, you must restart in safe mode to fix the problem that broke the secure channel.

If the current Administrator password does not meet the password requirements, you will not be able to re-enable the Administrator account after it is disabled. If this situation occurs, another member of the Administrators group must set the password on the Administrator account with the Local Users and Groups tool.

Default Value:

Disabled.

References:

CCE-37953-7

See Also

https://workbench.cisecurity.org/files/2742

Item Details

Category: ACCESS CONTROL

References: 800-53|AC-2(3), CSCv6|5.1, CSCv7|16.8

Plugin: Windows

Control ID: d81d750602cc335429a546332f8d15e4bc43ae8d80063ce508a39894537fa5e9