New Windows 8.1 Security Improvements Help Protect Against Pass the Hash Attacks

By | October 08, 2013

Posted in: Network Security Trends

This National Cyber Security Awareness month, we’d like to congratulate and thank Microsoft on their efforts to block Pass the Hash cyber-attacks. Known by Microsoft as “one of the most popular types of credential theft and reuse attacks,” Pass the Hash attacks are known for their ability to infiltrate full networks within minutes, making a major mess along the way.

With the Windows 8.1 update released on October 1, Microsoft has added major security improvements that are intended to block the ability of hackers to use these kinds of attacks. With the new release, Microsoft has bought us all some “space to breathe.”

Use your space wisely and remember that cyber security is constantly evolving. Take these three steps to help strengthen your organization’s password practices.

  1. Administrator accounts still need to be separated and used with care. Segment administrator accounts into a regular AD account and a user-specific Domain Administrator account for use only when privilege is needed.

  2. Lock down Domain Administrator passwords in a secure place where the administrator can access them when needed, and admin access is fully audited, so you have a record of use.

  3. Change Domain Administrator passwords to a new, random value after each use.


These steps can be incorporated into your security policy and implemented manually or through an automation tool, such as Thycotic’s Secret Server. Password management tools provide added value to security and password management when they enable role-based access, sharing among teams, and full auditing for compliance.

Learn more about the Windows 8.1 update here.


Ben Yoder is a guest contributor from the Product Management team at Thycotic Software.


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