Log on as a service

Applies to

  • Windows 10

This article describes the recommended practices, location, values, policy management, and security considerations for the Log on as a service security policy setting.

Reference

This policy setting determines which service accounts can register a process as a service. Running a process under a service account circumvents the need for human intervention.

Constant: SeServiceLogonRight

Possible values

  • User-defined list of accounts
  • Not Defined

Best practices

  • Minimize the number of accounts that are granted this user right.

Location

Computer Configuration\Windows Settings\Security Settings\Local Policies\User Rights Assignment

Default values

By default this setting is Network Service on domain controllers and Network Service on stand-alone servers.

The following table lists the actual and effective default policy values. The policy's property page also lists default values.

Server type or GPO Default value
Default Domain Policy Not defined
Default Domain Controller Policy Not defined
Stand-Alone Server Default Settings Not defined
Domain Controller Effective Default Settings Network Service
Member Server Effective Default Settings Network Service
Client Computer Effective Default Settings Network Service

Policy management

This section describes features, tools, and guidance to help you manage this policy.

A restart of the computer isn't required for this policy setting to be effective.

Any change to the user rights assignment for an account becomes effective the next time the owner of the account logs on.

Group Policy

The policy setting Deny logon as a service supersedes this policy setting if a user account is subject to both policies.

Group Policy settings are applied in the following order, which will overwrite settings on the local device at the next Group Policy update:

  1. Local policy settings
  2. Site policy settings
  3. Domain policy settings
  4. OU policy settings

Security considerations

This section describes how an attacker might exploit a feature or its configuration. It explains the countermeasure. And it addresses the possible negative consequences of the countermeasure.

Vulnerability

The Log on as a service user right allows accounts to start network services or services that run continuously on a computer, even when no one is logged on to the console. The risk is reduced because only users who have administrative privileges can install and configure services. An attacker who has already reached that level of access could configure the service to run with the Local System account.

Countermeasure

By definition, the Network Service account has the Log on as a service user right. This right isn't granted through the Group Policy setting. Minimize the number of other accounts that are granted this user right.

Potential impact

On most computers, the Log on as a service user right is restricted to the Local System, Local Service, and Network Service built-in accounts by default, and there's no negative impact. But if you have optional components such as ASP.NET or IIS, you might need to assign the user right to the additional accounts that those components require. IIS requires this user right to be explicitly granted to the ASPNET user account.