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Active Directory Policies

Restrict anonymous access to Shares and Named pipes via GPO

In networked environments, especially in enterprise settings, securing communication channels and shared resources is crucial for maintaining data integrity and privacy. A critical aspect of this security is to prevent anonymous enumeration of Named Pipes and Shares, which can be exploited by unauthorized users to gain sensitive information about network resources. This article provides a comprehensive guide for system administrators on creating a Group Policy Object (GPO) to block the anonymous enumeration of Named Pipes and Shares, enhancing network security.

Understanding the Risk

Anonymous enumeration of Named Pipes and Shares can allow unauthorized users to list and potentially access shared resources on a network. This can pose significant security risks, such as information leakage, unauthorized access, and potential data breaches.


  • Administrative Rights: You need administrative privileges in your Active Directory (AD) environment.
  • Group Policy Management Console (GPMC): This tool must be installed and accessible.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Open Group Policy Management Console

Launch GPMC by searching for “Group Policy Management” in the Start menu or by running gpmc.msc.

Step 2: Create or Edit a Group Policy Object
  • To create a new GPO, right-click on the domain or an Organizational Unit (OU) and select “Create a GPO in this domain, and Link it here…”.
  • To modify an existing GPO, find it under the appropriate domain or OU, right-click it, and select “Edit”.
Step 3: Navigate to Network Security Settings

In the Group Policy Management Editor, go to: Computer ConfigurationPoliciesWindows SettingsSecurity SettingsLocal PoliciesSecurity Options.

Step 4: Configure Policies for Named Pipes and Shares
  • Locate and open the policy “Network access: Named Pipes that can be accessed anonymously”. Set this policy to “Disabled” or remove any listed pipes to prevent anonymous access.
  • Find and configure “Network access: Shares that can be accessed anonymously”. Ensure that this setting does not include any shares that should not be accessed anonymously.
  • These settings will block anonymous users from enumerating or accessing Named Pipes and Shares, enhancing network security.
Step 5: Apply and Enforce the GPO
  • Click “OK” or “Apply” to save the changes.
  • Link the GPO to the relevant OU(s).
  • The policy will be applied at the next Group Policy refresh cycle, or you can force it immediately by running gpupdate /force on the client machines.

Advanced Configuration and Use Cases

  1. Securing Sensitive Environments: In sectors where data security is crucial, such as financial or government organizations, blocking anonymous enumeration is key to protecting sensitive information.
  2. Compliance with Regulatory Standards: In industries governed by strict data protection regulations, this policy can aid in compliance efforts.
  3. Custom Policies for Different Network Segments: Tailor policies based on the security needs of different network segments or departments within the organization.

Security Considerations

  • Regular Policy Updates and Review: Continuously evaluate the effectiveness of the policy and update it as necessary to align with changing security standards and organizational needs.
  • Monitoring and Logging: Implement monitoring solutions to track access attempts to Named Pipes and Shares and identify any unauthorized access attempts.
  • User Education and Training: Educate network users about the importance of these security settings and best practices for accessing shared network resources.


  • Operational Issues Post-Implementation: If legitimate access issues arise post-implementation, review the policy settings to ensure that necessary resources are not inadvertently blocked.
  • Policy Application Problems: Utilize tools like Resultant Set of Policy (RSoP) or gpresult to troubleshoot any issues related to the application of the GPO.


Implementing a GPO to block the anonymous enumeration of Named Pipes and Shares is an essential step in securing an organization’s network infrastructure. By following the steps outlined in this guide, system administrators can effectively mitigate risks associated with unauthorized access to network resources.

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