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Interactive logon: Message text for users attempting to log on

Published: November 15, 2012

Updated: November 15, 2012

Applies To: Windows 7, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Vista, Windows XP

This security policy reference topic for the IT professional describes the best practices, location, values, management, and security considerations for this policy setting.

The Interactive logon: Message text for users attempting to log on and Interactive logon: Message title for users attempting to log on policy settings are closely related. Interactive logon: Message text for users attempting to log on specifies a text message to be displayed to users when they log on. Interactive logon: Message title for users attempting to log on specifies a title to appear in the title bar of the window that contains the text message. This text is often used for legal reasons—for example, to warn users about the ramifications of misusing company information, or to warn them that their actions might be audited.

Not using this warning-message policy setting leaves your organization legally vulnerable to trespassers who unlawfully penetrate your network. Legal precedents have established that organizations that display warnings to users who connect to their servers over a network have a higher rate of successfully prosecuting trespassers.

When these policy settings are configured, users will see a dialog box before they can log on to the server console.

The possible values for this Group Policy setting are:

  • User-defined text

  • Not defined

  1. It is advisable to set Interactive logon: Message text for users attempting to log on to a value similar to one of the following:

    1. IT IS AN OFFENSE TO CONTINUE WITHOUT PROPER AUTHORIZATION.

    2. This system is restricted to authorized users. Individuals who attempt unauthorized access will be prosecuted. If you are unauthorized, terminate access now. Click OK to indicate your acceptance of this information.

ImportantImportant
Any warning that you display in the title or text should be approved by representatives from your organization's legal and human resources departments.

GPO_name\Computer Configuration\Windows Settings\Security Settings\Local Policies\Security Options

The following table lists the actual and effective default values for this policy. Default values are also listed on the policy’s property page.

 

Server type or GPO Default value

Default Domain Policy

Not defined

Default Domain Controller Policy

Not defined

Stand-Alone Server Default Settings

Not defined

DC Effective Default Settings

Not defined

Member Server Effective Default Settings

Not defined

Client Computer Effective Default Settings

Not defined

There are no differences in this policy between operating systems beginning with Windows Server 2003.

This section describes different requirements to help you manage this policy.

None. Changes to this policy become effective without a computer restart when they are saved locally or distributed through Group Policy.

In Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP Professional, configuring logon banners that exceed 512 characters in length and contain carriage–return, line-feed sequences is supported. However, client computers running Windows 2000 cannot interpret and display message text that is created by computers running Windows XP Professional or later. You must use a Windows 2000-based computer to create a logon message that applies to Windows 2000-based computers. If you inadvertently create a logon message by using a Windows XP Professional or later operating system, and you discover that it is not displayed properly on Windows 2000-based computers, do the following:

  • Undefine the setting.

  • Redefine the setting by using a computer running Windows 2000.

noteNote
Simply changing a logon message that is defined by a computer running Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP Professional by using a Windows 2000-based computer does not work. The setting must be undefined first.

This section describes how an attacker might exploit a feature or its configuration, how to implement the countermeasure, and the possible negative consequences of countermeasure implementation.

There are two policy settings that relate to logon displays:

  • Interactive logon: Message text for users attempting to log on

  • Interactive logon: Message title for users attempting to log on

The first policy setting specifies a text message that displays to users when they log on, and the second policy setting specifies a title for the title bar of the text message window. Many organizations use this text for legal purposes; for example, to warn users about the ramifications of misuse of company information, or to warn them that their actions may be audited.

Users often do not understand the importance of security practices. However, the display of a warning message before logon may help prevent an attack by warning malicious or uninformed users about the consequences of their misconduct before it happens. It may also help reinforce corporate policies by notifying employees of appropriate policies during the logon process.

Configure the Interactive logon: Message text for users attempting to log on and Interactive logon: Message title for users attempting to log on settings to an appropriate value for your organization.

noteNote
Any warning message that displays should be approved by your organization's legal and human resources representatives.

Users see a message in a dialog box before they can log on to the server console.

noteNote
Client computers running Windows 2000 cannot interpret and display messages that exceed 512 characters in length and contain carriage-return, line-feed sequences. You must use a Windows 2000-based computer to create a logon message policy that applies to Windows 2000-based computers. If you do not create a logon message policy on a Windows 2000-based computer, and you discover that it does not display properly on Windows 2000-based computers, you must first change the policy setting to Not Defined and then reconfigure the setting by using a Windows 2000-based computer. If you do not do this, the changes do not take effect properly.

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