Kerberos Pre-authentication Disabled for Useredit

Identifies the modification of an account’s Kerberos pre-authentication options. An adversary with GenericWrite/GenericAll rights over the account can maliciously modify these settings to perform offline password cracking attacks such as AS-REP roasting.

Rule type: query

Rule indices:

  • winlogbeat-*
  • logs-system.*

Severity: medium

Risk score: 47

Runs every: 5 minutes

Searches indices from: now-9m (Date Math format, see also Additional look-back time)

Maximum alerts per execution: 100



  • Elastic
  • Host
  • Windows
  • Threat Detection
  • Credential Access

Version: 5 (version history)

Added (Elastic Stack release): 8.1.0

Last modified (Elastic Stack release): 8.4.0

Rule authors: Elastic

Rule license: Elastic License v2

Investigation guideedit

## Triage and analysis

### Investigating Kerberos Pre-authentication Disabled for User

Kerberos pre-authentication is an account protection against offline password cracking. When enabled, a user requesting
access to a resource initiates communication with the Domain Controller (DC) by sending an Authentication Server Request
(AS-REQ) message with a timestamp that is encrypted with the hash of their password. If and only if the DC is able to
successfully decrypt the timestamp with the hash of the user’s password, it will then send an Authentication Server
Response (AS-REP) message that contains the Ticket Granting Ticket (TGT) to the user. Part of the AS-REP message is
signed with the user’s password. Microsoft's security monitoring [recommendations]( state that `'Don't Require Preauth' – Enabled` should not be enabled for user accounts because it weakens security for the account’s Kerberos authentication.

AS-REP roasting is an attack against Kerberos for user accounts that do not require pre-authentication, which means that
if the target user has pre-authentication disabled, an attacker can request authentication data for it and get a TGT that
can be brute-forced offline, similarly to Kerberoasting.

#### Possible investigation steps

- Identify the user account that performed the action and whether it should perform this kind of action.
- Contact the account owner and confirm whether they are aware of this activity.
- Determine if the target account is sensitive or privileged.
- Inspect the account activities for suspicious or abnormal behaviors in the alert timeframe.

### False positive analysis

- Disabling pre-authentication is a bad security practice and should not be allowed in the domain. The security team
should map and monitor any potential benign true positives (B-TPs), especially if the target account is privileged.

### Response and remediation

- Initiate the incident response process based on the outcome of the triage.
- Reset the target account's password if there is any risk of TGTs having been retrieved.
- Re-enable the preauthentication option or disable the target account.
- Review the privileges assigned to the involved users to ensure that the least privilege principle is being followed.
- Investigate credential exposure on systems compromised or used by the attacker to ensure all compromised accounts are
identified. Reset passwords for these accounts and other potentially compromised credentials, such as email, business
systems, and web services.
- Using the incident response data, update logging and audit policies to improve the mean time to detect (MTTD) and the
mean time to respond (MTTR).

Rule queryedit

event.code:4738 and message:"'Don't Require Preauth' - Enabled"

Threat mappingedit


Rule version historyedit

Version 5 (8.4.0 release)
  • Formatting only
Version 3 (8.3.0 release)
  • Formatting only
Version 2 (8.2.0 release)
  • Rule name changed from: Kerberos Preauthentication Disabled for User