Finding Accounts Trusted for Delegation

2 minute read

As part of a security audit, I was asked to help in finding all accounts marked with “Trusted for Delegation”

What is “Trust for Delegation”

You can try reading the TechNet Article, but in short - delegation (also known as kerberos double-hop) is allowing a service to impersonate clients in order to access other services, e.g. allowing an ASP.NET site to pull CRM records via CRM web service, using the client’s credentials (and so showing only records relevant to the client).

The Risk

Accounts that are trusted for delegation can access other services in the domain (e.g. Active Directory, Exchange, in-house software that uses kerberos authentication, external software using ADFS) without the user’s explicit action or consent (sometimes without him even accessing the system, see next paragraph) and without any limits or indication that it’s not the original user.
Some configurations also allow the delegate access to any service in the domain (as opposed to specified ones) or giving the delegate access without the user actually accessing the delegate in the first place (read on).
To sum it up, delegation must be used sparingly due to its dangerous nature.

Technical Implementation and Quirks

Delegation is all about an application getting a kerberos TGS (Ticket Granting Service) for another resource, using the client’s identity (allowing the server to impersonate the client for that resource).

Delegation configuration is saved like that:

Configuration | UserAccountControl & 0x80000 (TRUSTED_FOR_DELEGATION) | UserAccountControl & 0x100000 (TRUSTED_TO_AUTHENTICATE_FOR_DELEGATION) | msDS-AllowedToDelegateTo ————- | —————— | ————- | —————- Do not trust this user for delegation | X | X | X Trust this user for delegation to any service (Kerberos only) | V | X | X Trust this user for delegation for specified services only (Kerberos protocol) | X | X | V (List of SPNs) Trust this user for delegation for specified services only (Any authentication protocol) | X | V | V (List of SPNs)


  • When “Any protocol” is enabled, services don’t need to present an existing kerberos TGS, but can fabricate one using only the user’s id. (Source: Technet)
    This method is designed to accommodate services that don’t use kerberos authentication (e.g. websites that use forms authentication), but has a very serious implication - accounts allowed to do so don’t have to present any proof that a specific user has even accessed the system - they can create any TGS out of thin air.
  • When constrained to specific services, the resulting TGS is itself delegation-constrained to those services, so to allow a “triple hop” like this:
    S1 > S2 > S3
    S1 must be configured either to allow delegation to any service or to S2 AND S3.
  • For really sensitive accounts (such as domain admins), one can mark “Account is sensitive and cannot be delegated” to prevent AD allowing any form of delegation with this account. This account will suffer from reduced functionality on applications requiring delegation to work (like the site described earlier).

###Finding Allowed Accounts Although PowerShell’s module for Active Directory has some calculated variables for delegation (e.g. TrustedForDelegation), they can’t be used to filter ADObject (only ADUSer or ADComputer), so I built my own script to find trusted-for-delegation accounts:

Get-ADObject -fi {(msDS-AllowedToDelegateTo -like '*') -or (UserAccountControl -band 0x0080000) -or (UserAccountControl -band 0x1000000)} -prop samAccountName,msDS-AllowedToBeDelegateTo,servicePrincipalName,userAccountControl `
| select DistinguishedName,ObjectClass,samAccountName,servicePrincipalName,
 @{name='DelegationStatus';expression={if($_.UserAccountControl -band 0x80000){'AllServices'}else{'SpecificServices'}}},
 @{name='AllowedProtocols';expression={if($_.UserAccountControl -band 0x1000000){'Any'}else{'Kerberos'}}},