Specops uReset (7.12 and earlier)

Central Concepts

Password Reset

The process of changing a forgotten password. A password reset can be performed by a user who verified their identity using multi-factor authentication. The user can reset their passwords using the uReset web, which can be accessed from any (non-ancient) web browser, including mobile phone browsers.

Multi-factor authentication

Specops uReset goes beyond two-factor authentication by supporting a broad range of identity services that can be used to increase password reset security and flexibility. The solution not only supports common authenticators, such as questions and answers, and mobile verification codes, but also various digital identity services ranging from personal identity services (e.g. LinkedIn) to company identity services (e.g. salesforce.com), in addition to higher trust methods such as Smart Cards.

IT administrators can select, based on role and security policy, which identity services/authenticators they want to extend to end-users to verify their identity when resetting or unlocking their accounts. Such flexibility can ensure that varying security and flexibility needs are met. For example:

  • For users that have a low-level security clearance, but a high flexibility need, such as students, IT admins can allow them to authenticate with a few personal identity services such as their Google and Facebook ID.
  • For users that have a higher level security clearance, such as financial aid administrators or senior level executives, IT admins can assign policies that enforce a higher number, or a stronger combination of identity services. This approach provides administrators with the flexibility they need to enforce policies that translate to greater security and efficiency.

Identity Services

To use various identity services to authenticate users, the identity service must be configured (enabled) in the administration console, and the user affected by the uReset policy must enroll in the uReset service. Once a user has enrolled, they can reset their password using the uReset Web Application (via a hyperlink on the login screen or on any modern browser) or the uReset Mobile App (iOS, Android or Windows Phone). The Specops uReset Server uses data from user objects in Active Directory to read and write information used in the system.

The following identity services can be used to authenticate users in Specops uReset:


  • Question and Answer (Security Questions)


  • AOL
  • Facebook
  • Flickr
  • GitHub
  • Google
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • Microsoft
  • Tumblr
  • Twitter
  • Yahoo


  • Symantec
  • Salesforce

Higher Trust

  • Manager Identification
  • Specops Authenticator
  • Mobile BankID (Sweden)
  • SITHS Smart Cards (Sweden)
  • Mobile Verification Code (SMS)
  • Mobile Verification Code (Email)


Users are required to enroll with the uReset service. The enrollment process will vary for each type of identity service. To enroll with a personal identity service such as Google, the user will need to follow the link from the Specops uReset web application to the Google web page, and login with the email address and password associated with your Google account. When a user affected by a uReset policy utilizing Google enrolls in the service, a unique identifier is stored on the user object in Active Directory.


A policy contains the rules required for enrollment and multi-factor authentication. A policy controls what identity services can be used, and how many must be used to verify the identity of a user. The system owner is responsible for configuring the rules in the policies.

Architecture and Design

Specops uReset consists of the following components and does not require any additional resources in your environment. The on-premise option will require you to install all of the below components. The cloud option will host the uReset Server, uReset Web, and Security Token Services in the cloud, and you will only need to install the Administration Tools, Gatekeeper, and Password Client.



uReset Cloud: The global cloud component of Specops uReset, the uReset Cloud contains the web front end for end users and the backend services. The backend services communicate with external identity services like Amazon, Google and Symantec. Mobile Verification Code, Questions and Answers, and Mobile Bank Id are also hosted here. To read user information and perform password resets, the uReset Server communicates with the uReset Gatekeeper.

Gatekeeper: The Gatekeeper is the server component and needs to be installed on a server in your domain. The Gatekeeper reads user information from Active Directory and manages all operations against Active Directory such as changing/resetting passwords, unlocking accounts and reading/writing enrollment data. Before you can use the Gatekeeper Service you need to configure the Gatekeeper.

Once you have configured the Gatekeeper service, it will connect to the Specops uReset Server. The Gatekeeper Service uses a self-signed client certificate in its communication with the Specops uReset Server to ensure that it is the same gatekeeper that was registered during setup. When the Gatekeeper connects to the server, the Gatekeeper validates the certificate that the server is presenting. The gatekeeper is the only component able to use the certificate’s private key to sign and identify the uReset Server.

uReset Administration Tool: Configures the Gatekeeper and enables the creation of Specops uReset settings in Group Policy Objects. If you are not using the Specops uReset Cloud Service, the administration tool will also contain installation information for all uReset components and help you configure the database connection.

uReset Client: Presents a link to the Specops uReset Web application on the Windows logon screen, and presents end-user notifications about enrollment requirements.

External Identity Services: Some of the identity services that are used during authentication, such as Facebook, or Google, are external. When an external identity service is used, the user will be taken to the login page for the corresponding identity service. When the user performs a login, standard OpenId and Oauth2 protocols are used. If the login is accepted, a token will be returned to the uReset Cloud.


Specops uReset uses industry standard protocols: Windows Identity Foundation (WIF), which is fully integrated into .NET 4.5. Windows Identity Foundation is abstracting WS-Trust and WS-Federation, a standard from OASIS that is among the specifications of WS-*. WS-* is a collection of specifications that, for example, describe how to implement secure Web services and communication over the internet. WS-Trust introduces the concept of STS and outlines the messages that are used for requesting, issuing, and renewing security token, whereas WS-Federation specifies the language to use for expressing how to address the security needs of the scenarios.

The solution can be delivered as an on-premise solution or as a hosted cloud service. The cloud version is a multi-tenant solution running on the highly reliable and secure Microsoft Azure cloud. For more information about Microsoft Azure, visit:





Features and Capabilities