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The following analytic identifies the backup of the Active Directory Certificate Services (AD CS) store, detected via Event ID 4876. This event is logged when a backup is performed using the CertSrv.msc UI or the CertUtil.exe -BackupDB command. Monitoring this activity is crucial as unauthorized backups can indicate an attempt to steal authentication certificates, which are critical for secure communications. If confirmed malicious, this activity could allow an attacker to impersonate users, escalate privileges, or access sensitive information, severely compromising the security of the environment.

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

  • Last Updated: 2024-05-11
  • Author: Michael Haag, Splunk
  • ID: a2f4cc7f-6503-4078-b206-f83a29f408a7




ID Technique Tactic
T1649 Steal or Forge Authentication Certificates Credential Access
Kill Chain Phase
  • Exploitation
  • DE.AE
  • CIS 10
`wineventlog_security` EventCode=4876
| stats count min(_time) as firstTime max(_time) as lastTime by dest, name, action, Caller_Domain ,Caller_User_Name 
| `security_content_ctime(firstTime)` 
| `security_content_ctime(lastTime)` 
| `windows_steal_authentication_certificates_cs_backup_filter`


The SPL above uses the following Macros:

:information_source: windows_steal_authentication_certificates_cs_backup_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
  • dest
  • name
  • action
  • Caller_Domain
  • Caller_User_Name

How To Implement

To implement this analytic, enhanced Audit Logging must be enabled on AD CS and within Group Policy Management for CS server. See Page 128 of first reference.

Known False Positives

False positives will be generated based on normal certificate store backups. Leave enabled to generate Risk, as this is meant to be an anomaly analytic. If CS backups are not normal, enable as TTP.

Associated Analytic Story


Risk Score Impact Confidence Message
40.0 50 80 The Active Directory Certiciate Services was backed up on $dest$.

: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

source | version: 2