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The following analytic detects the creation of pods in the default, kube-system, or kube-public namespaces. It identifies this behavior by monitoring Kubernetes audit logs for pod creation events in these namespaces. This behavior is worth identifying for a SOC as it may indicate an attacker attempting to hide their presence or evade defenses. Only administrators should typically create pods in the kube-system namespace, and the default and kube-public namespaces should not be used in production. The impact of the attack could be significant, as it may indicate a successful cluster breach and ongoing malicious activity.

  • Type: Anomaly
  • Product: Splunk Enterprise, Splunk Enterprise Security, Splunk Cloud

  • Last Updated: 2023-12-19
  • Author: Patrick Bareiss, Splunk
  • ID: 3d6b1a81-367b-42d5-a925-6ef90b6b9f1e




ID Technique Tactic
T1204 User Execution Execution
Kill Chain Phase
  • Installation
  • DE.AE
  • CIS 13
`kube_audit` objectRef.resource=pods verb=create objectRef.namespace IN ("default", "kube-system", "kube-public") 
| fillnull 
| stats count by objectRef.namespace objectRef.resource requestReceivedTimestamp requestURI responseStatus.code sourceIPs{} stage user.groups{} user.uid user.username userAgent verb 
| rename sourceIPs{} as src_ip, user.username as user 
| `kubernetes_pod_created_in_default_namespace_filter` 


The SPL above uses the following Macros:

:information_source: kubernetes_pod_created_in_default_namespace_filter is a empty macro by default. It allows the user to filter out any results (false positives) without editing the SPL.

Required fields

List of fields required to use this analytic.

  • objectRef.resource
  • verb
  • objectRef.namespace
  • requestReceivedTimestamp
  • requestURI
  • responseStatus.code
  • sourceIPs{}
  • stage
  • user.groups{}
  • user.uid
  • user.username
  • userAgent
  • verb

How To Implement

The detection is based on data that originates from Kubernetes Audit logs. Ensure that audit logging is enabled in your Kubernetes cluster. Kubernetes audit logs provide a record of the requests made to the Kubernetes API server, which is crucial for monitoring and detecting suspicious activities. Configure the audit policy in Kubernetes to determine what kind of activities are logged. This is done by creating an Audit Policy and providing it to the API server. Use the Splunk OpenTelemetry Collector for Kubernetes to collect the logs. This doc will describe how to collect the audit log file

Known False Positives


Associated Analytic Story


Risk Score Impact Confidence Message
49.0 70 70 Kubernetes Pod Created in Default Namespace by $user$

:information_source: The Risk Score is calculated by the following formula: Risk Score = (Impact * Confidence/100). Initial Confidence and Impact is set by the analytic author.


Test Dataset

Replay any dataset to Splunk Enterprise by using our tool or the UI. Alternatively you can replay a dataset into a Splunk Attack Range

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