Day: July 12, 2017

Azure AD Lockout configurations – avoiding AD account locks

On Monday morning, the office opened, and everyone tried to login to their computers, however no-one seemed to be able to login. The helpdesk was quickly flooded with calls and it seems everyone’s account was locked-out.

It could happen to almost every company that does not have a good policy on lockouts. Hackers try as many usernames and passwords as possible to get in or to deliberately lock everyone out. A Denial of Service attack in a different form.

When you are using Azure Active Directory with a password on-premises, this might become a reality. As many attempts are made on the ADFS server in a Federated architecture, the account in AD itself gets locked out.

But there is a way to avoid that. It is possible to have a pre-emptive lockout on ADFS while the internal AD account is still usable. This means users will not be able to login remotely to ADFS anymore for a period, but they will still be able to logon to their domain joined machines. When configuring this, make sure that the lockout is set to a lower standard than your internal AD policies. For example, if your AD policy states 5 attempts, 10 minute lockout, ensure that the ADFS policy is set to a maximum of 4 attempts.

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