Network access: Remotely accessible registry paths and subpaths

Updated: November 15, 2012

Applies To: Windows 7, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Vista, Windows XP

This security policy reference topic for the IT professional describes the best practices, location, values, and security considerations for this policy setting.

Reference

This policy setting determines which registry paths and subpaths are accessible when an application or process references the WinReg key to determine access permissions.

The registry is a database for computer configuration information, much of which is sensitive. A malicious user can use it to facilitate unauthorized activities. The chance of this happening is reduced by the fact that the default ACLs that are assigned throughout the registry are fairly restrictive, and they help protect it from access by unauthorized users.

To allow remote access, you must also enable the Remote Registry service.

Possible values

  • User-defined list of paths

  • Not Defined

Best practices

  1. Set this policy to a null value; that is, enable the policy setting, but do not enter any paths in the text box. Remote management tools, such as the Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer and Microsoft Systems Management Server (SMS), require remote access to the registry. Removing the default registry paths from the list of accessible paths might cause these and other management tools to fail.

Location

GPO_name\Computer Configuration\Windows Settings\Security Settings\Local Policies\Security Options

Default values

The following table lists the actual and effective default values for this policy. Default values are also listed on the policy’s property page.

Server type or GPO Default value

Default Domain Policy

Not defined

Default Domain Controller Policy

Not defined

Stand-Alone Server Default Settings

See the following registry key combination

DC Effective Default Settings

See the following registry key combination

Member Server Effective Default Settings

See the following registry key combination

Client Computer Effective Default Settings

See the following registry key combination

The combination of all the following registry keys apply to the previous settings:

  1. System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Printers

  2. System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Eventlog

  3. Software\Microsoft\OLAP Server

  4. Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Print

  5. Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows

  6. System\CurrentControlSet\Control\ContentIndex

  7. System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Terminal Server

  8. System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Terminal Server\UserConfig

  9. System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Terminal Server\DefaultUserConfiguration

  10. Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Perflib

  11. System\CurrentControlSet\Services\SysmonLog

Operating system version differences

This security setting is not available on Windows operating systems prior to Windows Server 2008. The security setting that appears on computers running Windows XP is Network access: Remotely accessible registry paths, and the setting in Windows Server 2003 is Network access: Remotely accessible registry paths and subpaths.

Policy management

This section describes features and tools that are available to help you manage this policy.

Restart requirement

None. Changes to this policy become effective without a computer restart when they are saved locally or distributed through Group Policy.

Security considerations

This section describes how an attacker might exploit a feature or its configuration, how to implement the countermeasure, and the possible negative consequences of countermeasure implementation.

Vulnerability

The registry contains sensitive computer configuration information that could be used by an attacker to facilitate unauthorized activities. The fact that the default ACLs that are assigned throughout the registry are fairly restrictive and help to protect the registry from access by unauthorized users reduces the risk of such an attack.

Countermeasure

Configure the Network access: Remotely accessible registry paths and sub-paths setting to a null value (enable the setting but do not enter any paths in the text box).

Potential impact

Remote management tools such as MBSA and SMS require remote access to the registry to properly monitor and manage those computers. If you remove the default registry paths from the list of accessible ones, such remote management tools could fail.

Note

If you want to allow remote access, you must also enable the Remote Registry service.