Microsoft Active Directory (AD)
  • 16 May 2024
  • 11 Minutes to read
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Microsoft Active Directory (AD)

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  • PDF

Article summary

Microsoft Active Directory (AD) is a directory service for Windows domain networks that authenticates and authorizes all users and computers.

About Microsoft Active Directory

Microsoft's Active Directory (AD) is a User and Asset management system. It is used by customers to provide authentication and authorization services for users, and access control to systems.

Use cases the adapter solves
Primarily user and device enumeration are obtained from AD. This populates assets in Axonius and brings valuable information about the respective assets such as Group / OU memberships, OS type, and distribution. These asset properties ultimately lead to informed decision-making. In addition, it helps identify unmanaged Windows systems, with secondary purposes of qualifying other categories of usage, such as the deployment of agents on Windows systems. You can discover users with too many permissions, or those not logged in for a specified time.

Data retrieved by Microsoft Active Directory

The Microsoft Active Directory Adapter fetches thress distinct asset classes: devices, users and groups (SaaS Management required). Devices include fields such as the Hostname, Domain, OU, Trusts, Site, and Network information (interfaces, VLANs, IPs, MAC). User fields align with devices, including account, password, and logon details (all AD objects relating to the account).


Axonius describes 'Is Admin' for users in Active Directory. 'Is Admin' is described as 'Yes' if the user is a member of the "Domain Admins" group (Default Active Directory Domain-Wide Admin Group), or any of the groups listed in the Admin Groups setting on the 'Advanced Configuration' screen.

'Last Seen in Domain'
Axonius shows you the 'Last Seen in Domain'. This value is calculated by Axonius by gathering all the information that indicates movement on that asset (for instance 'last password change', 'last logon', 'last logoff' and more). It is then sorted to get the value which is the most recent, and this is the value that populates the 'Last Seen in Domain' field.

Using Axonius to provide visibility and searchability into AD brings Enforcement Center to the fore. Devices can be 'decommissioned', moved/segmented based on non-configuration criteria; and user accounts can be modified, enabled, or disabled.

Related Enforcement Actions:

Types of Assets Fetched

This adapter fetches the following types of assets:

  • Devices
  • Users
  • Groups
  • Compute Services
  • Networks
  • Accounts


  1. DC Address (required) - The address of the Domain Controller (DC). Can be either an IP address or a valid DNS name that Axonius can communicate with via the Required Ports. You can configure the DC Address field with a customized LDAP port. To add the customized LDAP port enter a DC Address and a Port number separated with a colon in the following format DC_NAME:PORT_NUMBER. When you use this format you direct the system to use the value following DC_NAME: as a custom port.

  2. Fallback DC Address, Fallback Port - Enter a secondary DC address and port as a secondary server to be connected if the first one fails.

  3. SASL Mechanism (default: no SASL) - SASL authentication is supported. The default authentication method is no SASL. The following authentication methods are available: No SaSL, External, GSSAPI, Digest MD5 and Plain. Each method requires different authentication parameters:

    • No SASL - Authenticate using User Name and Password
    • External - Authenticate using User Name
    • GSSAPI - Optional authentication using UserName
    • Digest MD5 - Authenticate using Username, Password, Enable signing, and Realm (optional) Authorization ID (optional)
    • Plain - Authenticate using Username/Authentication ID and Password and Authorization ID (optional)
  • Parameters depend on the SASL Mechanism selection
    a. User Name (DOMAIN\USERNAME) and Password (required, depends on authentication method) - A user with regular LDAP query rights and its password. Enter the userPrincipalName (username@domain) OR domain\username. When connecting over SSL, the username must be in the format username@domain.
    b. Authentication ID - Use for SASL Plain Mechanism.
    c. Realm (optional) - The LDAP Realm.
    d. Authorization ID (authzid) (optional) - The SASL authzid
    e. Enable signing - Enable LDAP signing, refer to LDAP Signing for AD.
  1. DNS Server Address (optional) - Axonius assumes that Domain Controller listed in each connection is also a DNS server. If your Domain Controller does not have the DNS role installed and you would like to use a different system for name resolution of discovered assets you can enter an alternate IP address here (even if it is installed, but you enter a field here, Axonius will use it). Please note that this setting is only used for discovered assets and will not affect resolution of the Domain Controller name entered in the connection configuration. This configuration value is used in conjunction with the Enable IP Resolving advanced setting.

  2. Alternative DNS Suffix (optional) - Replace the device original DNS suffix for DNS resolving. For example, if the device name is windows8.acme.corp , and the Alternative DNS Suffix defined is 'acme-corp.lan', DNS resolving will be done for windows8.acme-corp.lan.

  3. Use SSL for connection (optional, default: Unencrypted) - Select either Unencrypted (LDAP) or Verified / Unverified to use LDAPS (LDAP over SSL).

  4. CA File (optional) - If you choose the Verified option to use LDAPS (LDAP over SSL), you need to add SSL certificates (PEM format CA file) to the credentials.

  5. SSL cipher (optional) - Enter an SSL cipher to use for the TLS object of the connection. Using a stronger cipher can solve connection failures when using the default cipher. Examples of OpenSSl ciphers.

  6. Do Not Fetch Users (optional, default: False) - Select this option if you do not want to fetch users.

  7. Fetch Disabled Devices and Fetch Disabled Users (optional) - Select to fetch disabled devices or users. By default, Axonius fetches only enabled devices and users.

  8. Filter Deleted Devices - by default Axonius fetches deleted devices. Select this option to not fetch deleted devices.

  9. Filter Deleted Users by default Axonius fetches deleted users. Select this option to not fetch deleted users.

  10. Connect to Global Catalog (GC) - Select this option if the configured DC has a Global Catalog role.

  11. Organizational units include list (optional) - Set one or more OUs so Axonius will fetch entities that reside only in the listed organizational units. Each item in the list should represent an 'OU' value of the desired OU DN. For example, for OU DN (“Ireland Office/acme/corp , New York Office/acme/corp”), specify the organizational units of Acme corporation of the Ireland Office and New York Office.

  12. Organizational units to exclude (optional) - Set one or more OUs so that Axonius will not fetch entities that belong to the specified organizational units. Each item in the list should represent an 'OU' value of the OU DN that should be excluded. For example, for OU DN (“Ireland Office/acme/corp , New York Office/acme/corp”), specify the organizational units of Acme corporation of the Ireland Office and New York Office.

To learn more about common adapter connection parameters and buttons, see Adding a New Adapter Connection.


Advanced Settings


Advanced settings can either apply for all connections for this adapter, or you can set different advanced settings and/or different scheduling for a specific connection, refer to ​Advanced Configuration for Adapters.
Note that the default value for "Ignore Devices not seen in X hours" for this adapter is 2160 hours (fetch devices seen in last 90 days).

  1. Enable IP Resolving (required, default: true)
    • If enabled, all connections for this adapter will try to find the IP of the fetched AD entities using three entities (the DNS configured on the machine, the DNS supplied in the creds, and the AD DC itself)
    • If disabled, all connections for this adapter will try to find the IP of the fetched AD entities using only AD DC itself.
  2. Max parallel DNS queries (optional, default: 1000) - This field limits the number of parallel DNS queries.
  3. Fetch Users Image (required, default: true)
    • If enabled, all connections for this adapter will fetch users images.
    • If disabled, all connections for this adapter will not fetch users images.
  4. Fetch Trusted Domains information (default: False) - Select this option to fetch information about the domains that are trusted by the user/device domain.
  5. Enrich group members for each group - Select this option to enrich group members with their SID.
  6. Get nested group membership for each user (required, default: true)
    • If enabled, all connections for this adapter will fetch the group membership for each user.
    • If disabled, all connections for this adapter will not fetch the group membership for each user.
  7. Get the most recent lastLogon by connecting to all DCs - By default, the "LastLogonTimestamp" value is replicated only once every 2 weeks in the domain, and the "LastLogon" value shows the value of the last logon per each Domain Controller. If this option is selected, Axonius will connect to each domain controller to pull the "LastLogon" value for each user, to show this value accurately in Axonius.
  1. LDAP pagination (entries per page) (required, default: 900) - How much entities to fetch in each LDAP request.

  2. LDAP socket connection timeout (seconds) (required, default: 10) -The maximum socket connection timeout.

  3. LDAP socket receive timeout (seconds) (required, default: 120) - The maximum socket receive timeout.

  4. Devices to exclude by objectCategory (optional)

    • If supplied, all connections for this adapter will exclude devices with the specified AD objectCategory.
    • If not supplied, all connections for this adapter will not exclude any devices.
      This field allows you to add input in order to exclude devices that have a specific AD objectCategory.
  5. LDAP fields to exclude (optional) - Specify a comma-separated list one or more LDAP fields to exclude from the data. For example, "employeeID, givenName". This will exclude both of these from the raw and parsed data from the adapter.

    • If supplied, all connections for this adapter will not fetch the specified LDAP fields. The specified fields will not be part of the assets data in Axonius.
    • If not supplied, all connections for this adapter will fetch all asset LDAP fields.
  6. Exclude ms-Msc-AdmPwd field (default: true) - This setting removes the ms-Msc-AdmPwd field from the raw data fetched by Axonius. Clear this setting to include this field. In order to completely prevent this field being fetched from the API, remove 'All Extended rights' from Active Directory permissions.

  7. Parse all LDAP attributes to basic view - Select to show all fields/values from the Advanced view in Basic view on the Device Profile page.

  8. Parse User Customized Attributes With Prefix - Enter prefixes of custom AD fields you want mapped to Axonius fields.

  9. Fetch Specops password expiration date - Select whether to fetch the number of days left to password expiration from Specops for systems that manage passwords using Specops, and calculate a password expiration date.

  10. Distinguish group managed service accounts as users (optional) - Select to distinguish group Managed Service Accounts as users. When cleared, group Managed Service Accounts are considered devices.

  11. Hostnames to resolve - Add a semi-colon separated list to specify a list of hostnames that the AD adapter will resolve to a specific IP address once, and cache the resolution for subsequent usage of the hostname.

  12. Admin Groups - Enter one or more AD Groups to specify AD groups which consist of administrators (press Enter between groups). All the members of the specified groups will be marked as admin meaning “IsAdmin” attribute will be set to Yes. This list is in addition to the default 'Domain Admins' group.


When adding DCs (Domain Controllers) to the AD Forest, date values should not be updated, otherwise data that was previously ignored by Axonius will become active and no longer ignored.

  1. Parse patch information from AD memberof entries - Select this option to parse the the AD 'member of' field for entreis beginning with 'Patch_" to add that data to the 'AD Patch MemberOf Information' field.
  2. Parse user mail as specific field - Select this option to parse the user mail as a specific field, and not an aggregated field. Use this field only after direction from Axonius support.
  3. Ignore inactive users that were not seen for the last X days - Do not fetch users that are inactive (as defined by AD UserAccountControl), and have not been seen for the last x days. If the last seen date is unknown, the users are not ignored.
  4. Fetch Subnets from Sites - Select this option to fetch data from Active Directory Sites.

Required Ports

Axonius must be able to communicate with the value supplied in DC Address via the following ports:

Required Permissions

The value supplied in User Name must be a read-only service account to all assets and users in the AD tree.

View BitLocker Information permission is required for Axonius to obtain BitLocker data managed by Microsoft AD.

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