Learn about the Diamond Ticket attack, a sophisticated cyber threat targeting Active Directory environments. Discover its methodology, consequences, and effective prevention measures to safeguard your organization’s network.

Stay informed and protect your critical assets from this advanced attack.

This article aims to provide a detailed overview of the Diamond Ticket attack, shedding light on its nature, techniques, and potential consequences.

Understanding the Kerberos Diamond Ticket Attack

The Kerberos Diamond Ticket attack is a highly sophisticated cyber threat that primarily targets Active Directory (AD) environments, which are commonly used by organizations for managing user accounts, permissions, and authentication.

This attack exploits vulnerabilities within the Kerberos authentication protocol, a fundamental component of AD, to gain unauthorized access and control over critical network resources.

Attack Methodology

1 – Reconnaissance

Attackers perform reconnaissance to gather information about the target organization, such as user account names, group memberships, and domain architecture. This information helps them understand the network’s structure and identify potential attack vectors.

2 – Credential Harvesting

Once reconnaissance is complete, the attackers employ various techniques to harvest user credentials. This can involve using phishing emails, malicious websites, or exploiting unpatched vulnerabilities in software to install keyloggers or credential-stealing malware.

3 – Kerberos Ticket Manipulation

With harvested credentials in hand, the attackers proceed to manipulate Kerberos tickets. They forge a “Golden Ticket” by creating a ticket-granting ticket (TGT) using a stolen domain controller’s KRBTGT account password hash. This gives them the ability to create unlimited service tickets for any user, granting them unrestricted access to the network.

4 – Persistence and Lateral Movement

After acquiring a Golden Ticket, attackers implant it within the compromised AD environment, enabling persistent access even if the initial point of compromise is detected. They can then move laterally across the network, accessing sensitive resources and escalating privileges at will.

Consequences and Implications

The Diamond Ticket attack poses severe risks to organizations, including:

1 – Unauthorized Access

Attackers gain unrestricted access to sensitive systems, compromising data confidentiality, integrity, and availability. This can lead to data breaches, intellectual property theft, or unauthorized modifications.

2 – Privilege Escalation

By creating service tickets for any user, attackers can escalate privileges within the network, potentially gaining administrative access. This allows them to manipulate critical infrastructure, install malware, or conduct further attacks.

3 – Persistence

The implantation of Golden Tickets allows attackers to maintain long-term access to the compromised network, enabling persistent surveillance, data exfiltration, or facilitating future attacks.

Prevention and Mitigation

To defend against Diamond Ticket attacks, organizations should consider the following measures:

Security Awareness

Educate employees about the risks of phishing attacks and the importance of following secure practices, such as avoiding suspicious emails and websites.

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Implement MFA across the organization, as it significantly reduces the impact of stolen credentials by requiring an additional verification factor.

Patch Management

Regularly update and patch systems, software, and applications to protect against known vulnerabilities that attackers may exploit.

Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS)

Deploy IDS solutions to monitor network traffic for suspicious behavior and potential signs of ticket manipulation.

Privilege Management

Employ the principle of least privilege, ensuring users have only the necessary permissions required to perform their tasks. Regularly review and revoke unnecessary privileges.


The Diamond Ticket attack represents a highly sophisticated and potentially devastating cyber threat to organizations relying on Active Directory environments. Understanding its techniques, implications, and preventive measures is crucial for safeguarding networks and sensitive information.

By staying vigilant, implementing robust security measures, and educating users, organizations can mitigate the risks posed by such advanced attacks and protect their critical assets.


What is a diamond ticket?

The Diamond Ticket attack is a highly sophisticated cyber threat that primarily targets Active Directory (AD) environments, which are commonly used by organizations for managing user accounts, permissions, and authentication.

What is the difference between golden ticket attack and silver ticket attack?

Golden ticket attack is a type of attack where an adversary gains unauthorized access to a domain controller in a Windows Active Directory environment and generates forged Kerberos tickets, granting them virtually unlimited access to the network. On the other hand, a silver ticket attack is a similar attack where an adversary forges Kerberos service tickets to gain unauthorized access to specific services within the network.

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