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What Is Active Directory Red Forest Design

With just one swipe of a hand, Microsoft is retiring the idea of the standalone forest for domain administrators. I thank God that I never had the gumption to write a guide to deploy a Red Forest. The idea of designing, deploying, and managing a separate forest to secure a single domain overwhelmed many. The description and guides to create the forest were lacking. In general conversations between security and Active Directory Administrators, the idea seemed to flop.

What is Active Directory Red Forest Design

The "blue team" represents the development and operations staff of the services being evaluated. ESAE calls the implementation of a dedicated administrative forest a "red forest" design. The red forest should be a regular target of penetration tests by red team members and protected by blue team members.

One thing to note is that we require forest B to have at least one member server joined to it. We cannot target a Domain Controller here because while a Domain Controller has a local domain in SAM as well, it is only active during recovery mode and this is not really useful to us. But usually in each domain there are a few member servers that have Tier 0 privileges, such as AD Connect, ADFS, SCCM, Exchange etc.

(3) Now that you have mapped out the trust mesh, types, and cross-domain nested relationships, you have a map of what accounts you need to compromise to pivot from your current domain into your target. By performing targeted account compromise, and utilizing SID-history-hopping for domain trusts within a forest, we have been able to pivot through up to 7+ domains in the field to reach our objective.


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