Remediate risks and unblock users

After completing your investigation, you need to take action to remediate the risky users or unblock them. Organizations can enable automated remediation by setting up risk-based policies. Organizations should try to investigate and remediate all risky users in a time period that your organization is comfortable with. Microsoft recommends acting quickly, because time matters when working with risks.

Risk remediation

All active risk detections contribute to the calculation of the user's risk level. The user risk level is an indicator (low, medium, high) of the probability that the user's account has been compromised. As an administrator, after thorough investigation on the risky users and the corresponding risky sign-ins and detections, you want to remediate the risky users so that they're no longer at risk and won't be blocked.

Some risk detections and the corresponding risky sign-ins may be marked by Identity Protection as dismissed with risk state "Dismissed" and risk detail "Azure AD Identity Protection assessed sign-in safe" because those events were no longer determined to be risky.

Administrators have the following options to remediate:

  • Set up risk-based policies to allow users to self-remediate their risks
  • Manual password reset
  • Dismiss user risk

Self-remediation with risk-based policy

You can allow users to self-remediate their sign-in risks and user risks by setting up risk-based policies. If users pass the required access control, such as Azure AD multifactor authentication (MFA) or secure password change, then their risks are automatically remediated. The corresponding risk detections, risky sign-ins, and risky users will be reported with the risk state "Remediated" instead of "At risk".

Here are the prerequisites on users before risk-based policies can be applied to them to allow self-remediation of risks:

  • To perform MFA to self-remediate a sign-in risk:
    • The user must have registered for Azure AD MFA.
  • To perform secure password change to self-remediate a user risk:
    • The user must have registered for Azure AD MFA.
    • For hybrid users that are synced from on-premises to cloud, password writeback must have been enabled on them.

If a risk-based policy is applied to a user during sign-in before the above prerequisites are met, then the user will be blocked because they aren't able to perform the required access control, and admin intervention will be required to unblock the user.

Risk-based policies are configured based on risk levels and will only apply if the risk level of the sign-in or user matches the configured level. Some detections may not raise risk to the level where the policy will apply, and administrators will need to handle those risky users manually. Administrators may determine that extra measures are necessary like blocking access from locations or lowering the acceptable risk in their policies.

Self-remediation with self-service password reset

If a user has registered for self-service password reset (SSPR), then they can also remediate their own user risk by performing a self-service password reset.

Manual password reset

If requiring a password reset using a user risk policy isn't an option, administrators can remediate a risky user by requiring a password reset.

Administrators are given two options when resetting a password for their users:

  • Generate a temporary password - By generating a temporary password, you can immediately bring an identity back into a safe state. This method requires contacting the affected users because they need to know what the temporary password is. Because the password is temporary, the user is prompted to change the password to something new during the next sign-in.

  • Require the user to reset password - Requiring the users to reset passwords enables self-recovery without contacting help desk or an administrator. This method only applies to users that are registered for Azure AD MFA and SSPR. For users that haven't been registered, this option isn't available.

Dismiss user risk

If after investigation and confirming that the user account isn't at risk of being compromised, then you can choose to dismiss the risky user.

To Dismiss user risk, search for and select Azure AD Risky users in the Azure portal or the Entra portal, select the affected user, and select Dismiss user(s) risk.

When you select Dismiss user risk, the user will no longer be at risk, and all the risky sign-ins of this user and corresponding risk detections will be dismissed as well.

Because this method doesn't have an impact on the user's existing password, it doesn't bring their identity back into a safe state.

Risk state and detail based on dismissal of risk

  • Risky user:
    • Risk state: "At risk" -> "Dismissed"
    • Risk detail (the risk remediation detail): "-" -> "Admin dismissed all risk for user"
  • All the risky sign-ins of this user and the corresponding risk detections:
    • Risk state: "At risk" -> "Dismissed"
    • Risk detail (the risk remediation detail): "-" -> "Admin dismissed all risk for user"

Confirm a user to be compromised

If after investigation, an account is confirmed compromised:

  1. Select the event or user in the Risky sign-ins or Risky users reports and choose "Confirm compromised".
  2. If a risk-based policy wasn't triggered, and the risk wasn't self-remediated, then do one or more of the followings:
    1. Request a password reset.
    2. Block the user if you suspect the attacker can reset the password or do multi-factor authentication for the user.
    3. Revoke refresh tokens.
    4. Disable any devices that are considered compromised.
    5. If using continuous access evaluation, revoke all access tokens.

For more information about what happens when confirming compromise, see the section How should I give risk feedback and what happens under the hood?.

Deleted users

It isn't possible for administrators to dismiss risk for users who have been deleted from the directory. To remove deleted users, open a Microsoft support case.

Unblocking users

An administrator may choose to block a sign-in based on their risk policy or investigations. A block may occur based on either sign-in or user risk.

Unblocking based on user risk

To unblock an account blocked because of user risk, administrators have the following options:

  1. Reset password - You can reset the user's password. If a user has been compromised or is at risk of being compromised, the user's password should be reset to protect their account and your organization.
  2. Dismiss user risk - The user risk policy blocks a user if the configured user risk level for blocking access has been reached. If after investigation you're confident that the user isn't at risk of being compromised, and it's safe to allow their access, then you can reduce a user's risk level by dismissing their user risk.
  3. Exclude the user from policy - If you think that the current configuration of your sign-in policy is causing issues for specific users, and it's safe to grant access to these users without applying this policy to them, then you can exclude them from this policy. For more information, see the section Exclusions in the article How To: Configure and enable risk policies.
  4. Disable policy - If you think that your policy configuration is causing issues for all your users, you can disable the policy. For more information, see the article How To: Configure and enable risk policies.

Unblocking based on sign-in risk

To unblock an account based on sign-in risk, administrators have the following options:

  1. Sign in from a familiar location or device - A common reason for blocked suspicious sign-ins are sign-in attempts from unfamiliar locations or devices. Your users can quickly determine whether this reason is the blocking reason by trying to sign-in from a familiar location or device.
  2. Exclude the user from policy - If you think that the current configuration of your sign-in policy is causing issues for specific users, you can exclude the users from it. For more information, see the section Exclusions in the article How To: Configure and enable risk policies.
  3. Disable policy - If you think that your policy configuration is causing issues for all your users, you can disable the policy. For more information, see the article How To: Configure and enable risk policies.

PowerShell preview

Using the Microsoft Graph PowerShell SDK Preview module, organizations can manage risk using PowerShell. The preview modules and sample code can be found in the Azure AD GitHub repo.

The Invoke-AzureADIPDismissRiskyUser.ps1 script included in the repo allows organizations to dismiss all risky users in their directory.

Next steps

To get an overview of Azure AD Identity Protection, see the Azure AD Identity Protection overview.