Network access: Named Pipes that can be accessed anonymously
Updated: November 15, 2012
Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows 8
This security policy reference topic for the IT professional describes the best practices, location, values, policy management and security considerations for this policy setting.
This policy setting determines which communication sessions, or pipes, have attributes and permissions that allow anonymous access.
Restricting access over named pipes such as COMNAP and LOCATOR helps prevent unauthorized access to the network. The table in the Vulnerability section lists default named pipes and their purpose.
User-defined list of shared folders
Set this policy to a null value; that is, enable the policy setting, but do not enter named pipes in the text box. This will disable null session access over named pipes, and applications that rely on this feature or on unauthenticated access to named pipes will no longer function. For example, with Microsoft Commercial Internet System 1.0, the Internet Mail Service runs under Inetinfo.exe. Inetinfo.exe starts in the context of the System account. When Internet Mail Service needs to query the Microsoft SQL Server database, it uses the System account, which uses null credentials to access an SQL pipe on the computer running SQL Server.
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 Domain Policy
Default Domain Controller Policy
Netlogon, samr, lsarpc
Stand-Alone Server Default Settings
DC Effective Default Settings
Netlogon, samr, lsarpc
Member Server Effective Default Settings
Client Computer Effective Default Settings
The default settings for this policy changed from Windows Server 2003.
This section describes different features and tools available 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.
For this policy setting to take effect, you must also enable the Network access: Restrict anonymous access to named pipes and shares setting.
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.
You can restrict access over named pipes such as COMNAP and LOCATOR to help prevent unauthorized access to the network. The following list describes available named pipes and their purpose. These pipes were granted anonymous access in earlier versions of Windows and some legacy applications may still use them.
SNABase named pipe. Systems network Architecture (SNA) is a collection of network protocols that were originally developed for IBM mainframe computers.
SNA Server named pipe.
Default named pipe for SQL Server.
Named pipe for the Print Spooler service.
End Point Mapper named pipe.
Remote Procedure Call Locator service named pipe.
Distributed Link Tracking Client named pipe.
Distributed Link Tracking Server named pipe.
Configure the Network access: Named Pipes that can be accessed anonymously setting to a null value (enable the setting but do not specify named pipes in the text box).
This configuration disables null-session access over named pipes, and applications that rely on this feature or on unauthenticated access to named pipes no longer function. This may break trust between Windows Server 2003 domains in a mixed mode environment.