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I wish to know how to enumerate the list of all Active Directory domain security groups that a domain user account holder belongs to?
We have a requirement to furnish such a list to employee managers once a year, and so need to do this for all our domain user accounts.
We checked the Active Directory Administrative Center UI and there does not seem to be any way to get this information. We also looked around for some ways to script this but it does not seem to be very easy.
Does anyone know how to do this? If so, kindly share.
Ah, been there, done that! The good news is that you're not alone in having this requirement. Most organizations have a need to be able to list/enumerate all the security groups to which a user belongs, either driven by a need to audit access, or demonstrate regulatory compliance etc.
In my experience, some organizations invest substantial time and effort to write in-house scripts, while others use PowerShell to accomplish the same, but most organizations use automated solutions to fulfill this need.
One note about using PowerShell. It only delivers approximate results, not accurate results, so if you have a need to have accurate results, PowerShell is not really a choice.
I am happy to give you some advice on how to try and write your own scripts. As for us, we use an automated solution because we just don't have the time, patience or effort to write, test and maintain scripts.
Let me know if you want some tips on how to write those scripts, and I'd be happy to share them with you. If you have the time, its a good excercise to do.
We will NEVER forget.
Thanks for your response. I appreciate our offer of offering me some tips to write my owns scripts, but I actually don't have the time to be able to do so, and I'm not an expert by any standard, so that may not be an option.
Are there no automated tools that can help enumerate the list of all Active Directory domain security groups that a user belongs to?
If so, could you please let me know.
There are tools that can help automate this assessment. but I think you should first try to see if this is possible with scripts.
The reason I say so, is that it is not so easy to do this with scripts because there are domain specific Built In groups involved, i.e. each domain has its own set of the same Built In groups, and the scripts will have a hard time working with this, because they all have the same SID, but belong to different domains.
Besides, in order to have meaningful data, it is always important to consider the target domain, as you only need to evaluate Built In memberships of that domain, which is why you can't automate scripts to get the Built In memberships from all domains, because that will not apply when you make your assessment.
Why don't you try this with scripts first, and if you can't do it, I'll be happy to point you to automated toosl that can acurately do this for you.
Okay, I did try using custom LDAP scripts as well as using PowerShell, and now I see why you said that it is not so easy to do this. It was a little easier to do with PowerShell but the results were not accurate.
So, now that I have tried it, can you please tell me what tool can help me enumerate the complete list of all Active Directory domain security groups that a user belongs to.
I do need this rather quickly, so your promptness would be appreciated!
We use a security-analysis tool called Gold Finger for Active Directory.
Amongst other things, it lets us instantly enumerate the complete list of any Active Directory security group. It also lets us do the reverse, which is to view the complete list of all security groups to which a user belongs.
Here's a link to it - www.paramountdefenses.com/goldfinger
Good luck to you.
Indeed, as Jack has pointed out, enumerating group memberships in Active Directory is not as easy and straightforward as it seems. There are many small littled things that one needs to take into account, that are not always easy to take into account. (For a good write up on why this is the case, see here.)
For example, something called circular loops in nested groups can cause simple scripts to go crazy in infinte loops as they will keep enumerating each other. What is needed in this case is the ability to identify and circumvent circular loops in group nesting.
Similarly, when you are trying to enumerate the membership of well-known SIDs like Authenticated Users (S-1-5-11), these need to be dynamically evauated, and none of the commonly used tools, (except this one) have the ability to enumerate the membership of well-known SIDs accurately.
This is one of the reasons I always recommend the use of a dedicated group membership reporting tool, or a professional-grade Active Directory Reporting Tool such as this one, which is endorsed by Microsoft Corporation.
Group membership reporting is an integral part of maintaining security because groups are used to protect virtually all IT resources in an network, so its always best not to take any chances when enumerating group memberships, because a single mistake can mean the difference between determining whether or not a user does or does not have access to so many IT resources.
There isn't a system that cannot be broken into.