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The following analytic identifies the addition of new credentials for Service Principals in addition to existing legitimate credentials within a Office 365 tenant. These credentials include both x509 certificates and passwords. It leverages O365 audit logs, specifically events related to credential modifications or additions within the AzureActiveDirectory workload for service principals. Service principals represent application identities in Office 365 / AzureAD, and their credentials allow applications to authenticate and access resources. Adding new credentials or modifying existing ones can be an indication of configuration changes, but it can also be a sign of malicious intent If an attacker successfully adds or modifies credentials for a service principal, they can potentially use those credentials to authenticate as the application, gaining access to resources and data the application is permitted to access. This can lead to unauthorized data access, data exfiltration, or malicious operations performed under the guise of the application

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

  • Last Updated: 2023-08-31
  • Author: Mauricio Velazco, Splunk
  • ID: a1b229e9-d962-4222-8c62-905a8a010453




ID Technique Tactic
T1098 Account Manipulation Persistence, Privilege Escalation
T1098.001 Additional Cloud Credentials Persistence, Privilege Escalation
Kill Chain Phase
  • Installation
  • Exploitation
  • DE.CM
  • CIS 10
 `o365_management_activity` Workload=AzureActiveDirectory Operation="Update application*Certificates and secrets management " 
|  stats earliest(_time) as firstTime latest(_time) as lastTime by user ModifiedProperties{}.NewValue object ObjectId 
| `security_content_ctime(firstTime)` 
| `security_content_ctime(lastTime)` 
| `o365_service_principal_new_client_credentials_filter`


The SPL above uses the following Macros:

:information_source: o365_service_principal_new_client_credentials_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.

  • _time
  • Workload
  • Operation
  • object
  • user

How To Implement

You must install the Splunk Microsoft Office 365 Add-on and ingest Office 365 management activity events.

Known False Positives

Service Principal client credential modifications may be part of legitimate administrative operations. Filter as needed.

Associated Analytic Story


Risk Score Impact Confidence Message
35.0 70 50 New credentials added for Service Principal $object$

: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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