Microsoft and Symantec Endpoint Updates hit Internet Explorer

Posted by Ahmed Nabil In | 1 comments»
Microsoft Internet Explorer was heavily hit this week with the Latest Microsoft Endpoint Update as well as Symantec Endpoint updates. While Symantec released a fix, Microsoft is still working on updated version to fix this issue.

  1. The Latest Microsoft Protection breaks Internet Explorer downloads, for more details check the following article                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
  2. Symantec Endpoint protection update crashes Microsoft Internet Explorer. For more details check the following article

The Symantec update affected both Windows 7 and Windows 8 machines while the Microsoft Endpoint update was mainly observed on Windows 8.1 machines. Users should stay tuned for an expected quick fix from Microsoft.

How to Prevent users from changing EMET application settings by using Group Policy ?

Posted by Ahmed Nabil | 0 comments»
EMET is a very great tool for users seeking additional layer of security against Zero-day vulnerabilities. When configuring EMET for Enterprise it gets tricky as there are some gaps for deployment. The easiest way to control and push EMET settings on all users in your enterprise Active Directory is to use group policies however the EMET template is not covering all mitigation and has some limitations.


We need to push the EMET configuration/settings for applications to all users in the network and prevent users from changing these settings (For Example: Removing ASR mitigation from the Internet Explorer). This issue gets worse with users who are admin on their machines and can open the EMET GUI and change any application setting.


Users may change the EMET application GUI settings to disable a mitigation or remove specific application from the list. This change will result in an Event ID 11 written in the local application event log. We will use this Event as a trigger when its recorded to re-import/push back our EMET application settings on the client using Group policy.

  1. I am assuming EMET is already installed on all users (Can be done via SCCM or any other tool) which is another discussion.                                                                                                                
  2. We need to install EMET (Latest current version is 5.1) on a machine, add all popular applications (Located under EMET Installation folder - \EMET 5.1\Deployment\Protection Profiles) and company business applications if needed and apply/test different mitigation.                    
  3. After configuring and changing all wide system and application configuration and you are fully satisfied of deploying it on all clients, Export the settings (XML file) from the main EMET interface as shown below.                                                                                                                             
  4. We need to create a GPO to import this XML file (exported in the previous step) on all computers in the domain. A very good article on TechNet that explains this step in details can be found at                                                                                                                         
  5. Basically what we need to do as per the TechNet article is to create a new GPO, link it to your domain or computers OU and copy the XML file in the GPO folder.                                                      
  6. Create a Task scheduler using the group policy Preferences, for more details check this TechNet article                                                                                                                                                            
  7. This scheduled task main action is to import the XML file to the machines as per the below screen shot. The program will be the EMET_Conf.exe and the path should reflect the current version of EMET used in your environment. The Arguments will be the Import of the XML command and it should be something like this:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        --import \\\sysvol\\Policies\{2368E536-C9BA-41E6-A1D8-8AA1C7854275}\emetconfig.xml  (You need to replace the with your actual domain name, Unique ID of your policy and the XML name)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
  8. The tricky part will be the trigger as when this import will occur (XML imported to the users). If any user changed, removed any application settings in the EMET GUI an EVENT ID 11 will be triggered in the application log of the user computer as shown below:                                                                        
                                                                                                                                                              So in this GPO we will use this Event ID as the trigger to re-import and push the settings back to the user.        


This should do the trick and enforce the company EMET settings on all computers and ensure your users won't change them or actually if changed will be reverted back in the same second to ensure full protection.

Hopefully this article is helpful to anyone facing the same issue.


Disable User Account Control in Server 2012/2012 R2 to run SQL Reporting URL

Posted by Ahmed Nabil In | 0 comments»
I was working on installing SQL2012 Server on a new machine as well as the reporting services, after configuring the reporting service i was trying to access the local reporting services URL when i got the attached below message

My account was an admin on the machine and SQL admin as well, i checked the UAC from Control panel and it was already turned off as shown below

Looks like in Server 2012 and 2012R2, even if you changed the setting "Never Notify" as shown above (which worked fine with 2008R2) the UAC is still active. In order to turn it completely you will need to edit registry as follows:

  1. Navigate  to "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\policies\system"
  2. Change the "EnableLUA" key value from 1 to 0                                                                                                                                      
  3. Restart the server/computer

Hopefully this can help anyone facing this issue.

Exchange 2013 Sign Out behavior on Microsoft UAG - To finish signing out, please close all open browser windows.

Posted by Ahmed Nabil In | 0 comments»
Recently we noticed with some Exchange 2013 customers having their OWA (Outlook Web access) published on Microsoft UAG (Latest SP4 Rollup update) that they can't sign out properly from their OWA session and instead they get the message "To finish signing out, Please close all open browser windows"

When the user hits OK, nothing happened and he is still logged in.

This issue is not related to the UAG OWA setup or the UAG authentication but rather the Exchange Virtual directories authentication. This behavior occurs because the Exchange OWA virtual directories are set to Windows Integrated Authentication.

In order to change this you will need to do the following:

  1. From Exchange Admin Center go to Servers - Virtual Directories (Pick your server if you have multiple servers.
  2. Edit the OWA (Default Web Site) Authentication.
  3. Uncheck "Use one or more standard authentication methods" and pick an option in the below FBA (Forms based authentication) as shown in the below image                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
  4. You will need to do the same for the ECP virtual directory (Actually it will display message with this)
  5. Reset/Restart the IIS and the logoff should be normal as expected.

Hopefully this can help anyone encountering this issue.