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Microsoft network server: Digitally sign communications (if client agrees)

Updated: January 21, 2005

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Microsoft network server: Digitally sign communications (if client agrees)

Description

This security setting determines whether the SMB server will negotiate SMB packet signing with clients that request it.

The server message block (SMB) protocol provides the basis for Microsoft file and print sharing and many other networking operations, such as remote Windows administration. To prevent man-in-the-middle attacks that modify SMB packets in transit, the SMB protocol supports the digital signing of SMB packets. This policy setting determines whether the SMB server will negotiate SMB packet signing when an SMB client requests it.

If this setting is enabled, the Microsoft network server will negotiate SMB packet signing as requested by the client. That is, if packet signing has been enabled on the client, packet signing will be negotiated. If this policy is disabled, the SMB client will never negotiate SMB packet signing.

Default: Enabled on domain controllers only.

Configuring this security setting

You can configure this security setting by opening the appropriate policy and expanding the console tree as such: Computer Configuration\Windows Settings\Security Settings\Local Policies\Security Options\

For specific instructions about how to configure security policy settings, see Edit security settings on a Group Policy object.

Important

  • Tor Windows 2000 servers to negotiate signing with Windows NT 4.0 clients, the following registry value must be set to 1 on the server running Windows 2000: HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\lanmanserver\parameters\enableW9xsecuritysignature

Notes

  • All Windows operating systems support both a client-side SMB component and a server-side SMB component. To take advantage of SMB packet signing, both the client-side SMB component and server-side SMB component that are involved in a communication must have SMB packet signing either enabled or required. For Windows 2000 and above, enabling or requiring packet signing for client and server-side SMB components is controlled by the following four policy settings:

    • Microsoft network client: Digitally sign communications (always) - Controls whether or not the client-side SMB component requires packet signing.

    • Microsoft network client: Digitally sign communications (if server agrees) - Controls whether or not the client-side SMB component has packet signing enabled.

    • Microsoft network server: Digitally sign communications (always) - Controls whether or not the server-side SMB component requires packet signing.

    • Microsoft network server: Digitally sign communications (if client agrees) - Controls whether or not the server-side SMB component has packet signing enabled.

  • If server-side SMB signing is required, a client will not be able to establish a session with that server unless it has client-side SMB signing enabled. By default, client-side SMB signing is enabled on workstations, servers, and domain controllers.

  • Similarly, if client-side SMB signing is required, that client will not be able to establish a session with servers that do not have packet signing enabled. By default, server-side SMB signing is enabled only on domain controllers.

  • If server-side SMB signing is enabled, SMB packet signing will be negotiated with clients that have client-side SMB signing enabled.

  • Using SMB packet signing can impose up to a 15 percent performance hit on file service transactions.

For more information, see:

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