• Updated

This article applies to BHCE and BHE

This privilege allows you to read the password for a Group Managed Service Account (GMSA). Group Managed Service Accounts are a special type of Active Directory object, where the password for that object is managed by and automatically changed by Domain Controllers on a set interval (check the MSDS-ManagedPasswordInterval attribute).

The intended use of a GMSA is to allow certain computer accounts to retrieve the password for the GMSA, then run local services as the GMSA. An attacker with control of an authorized principal may abuse that privilege to impersonate the GMSA.`;

Abuse Info

There are several ways to abuse the ability to read the GMSA password. The most straightforward abuse is possible when the GMSA is currently logged on to a computer, which is the intended behavior for a GMSA.

If the GMSA is logged on to the computer account granted the ability to retrieve the GMSA’s password, simply steal the token from the process running as the GMSA, or inject it into that process.

If the GMSA is not logged onto the computer, you may create a scheduled task or service set to run as the GMSA. The computer account will start the scheduled task or service as the GMSA, and then you may abuse the GMSA logon in the same fashion you would a standard user running processes on the machine (see the “HasSession” help modal for more details).

Finally, it is possible to remotely retrieve the password for the GMSA and convert that password to its equivalent NT hash, then perform overpass-the-hash to retrieve a Kerberos ticket for the GMSA. Windows and Linux methods are shown below.

At this point, you are ready to use the NT hash like you would with a regular user account. You can perform pass-the-hash, overpass-the-hash, or any other technique that takes an NT hash as an input.


  1. Build GMSAPasswordReader.exe from its source:
  2. Drop GMSAPasswordReader.exe to disk. If using Cobalt Strike, load and run this binary using execute-assembly
  3. Use GMSAPasswordReader.exe to retrieve the NT hash for the GMSA. You may have more than one NT hash come back, one for the “old” password and one for the “current” password. Either value may be valid:
    gmsapasswordreader.exe --accountname gmsa-jkohler

Linux can be used to obtain the NT hash.

Opsec Considerations

When abusing a GMSA that is already logged onto a system, you will have the same opsec considerations as when abusing a standard user logon. For more information about that, see the “HasSession” modal’s opsec considerations tab.

When retrieving the GMSA password from Active Directory, you may generate a 4662 event on the Domain Controller; however, that event will likely perfectly resemble a legitimate event if you request the password from the same context as a computer account that is already authorized to read the GMSA password.