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The following analytic identifies setspn.exe usage related to querying the domain for Service Principle Names. typically, this is a precursor activity related to kerberoasting or the silver ticket attack.
What is a ServicePrincipleName?
A service principal name (SPN) is a unique identifier of a service instance. SPNs are used by Kerberos authentication to associate a service instance with a service logon account. This allows a client application to request that the service authenticate an account even if the client does not have the account name.
Example usage includes the following \

  1. setspn -T offense -Q / 1. setspn -T attackrange.local -F -Q MSSQLSvc/* 1. setspn -Q / > allspns.txt 1. setspn -q
    Values \
  2. -F = perform queries at the forest, rather than domain level 1. -T = perform query on the specified domain or forest (when -F is also used) 1. -Q = query for existence of SPN
    During triage, review parallel processes for further suspicious activity.
  • Type: TTP
  • Product: Splunk Enterprise, Splunk Enterprise Security, Splunk Cloud
  • Datamodel: Endpoint
  • Last Updated: 2021-10-14
  • Author: Michael Haag, Splunk
  • ID: ae8b3efc-2d2e-11ec-8b57-acde48001122




ID Technique Tactic
T1558.003 Kerberoasting Credential Access
Kill Chain Phase
  • Exploitation
| tstats `security_content_summariesonly` count min(_time) as firstTime max(_time) as lastTime from datamodel=Endpoint.Processes where `process_setspn` (Processes.process="*-t*" AND Processes.process="*-f*") OR (Processes.process="*-q*" AND Processes.process="**/**") OR (Processes.process="*-q*") OR (Processes.process="*-s*") by Processes.dest Processes.user Processes.parent_process_name Processes.process_name Processes.original_file_name Processes.process Processes.process_id Processes.parent_process_id 
| `drop_dm_object_name(Processes)` 
| `security_content_ctime(firstTime)` 
| `security_content_ctime(lastTime)`
| `serviceprincipalnames_discovery_with_setspn_filter`


The SPL above uses the following Macros:

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

Supported Add-on (TA)

List of Splunk Add-on’s tested to work with the analytic.

Required fields

List of fields required to use this analytic.

  • _time
  • Processes.dest
  • Processes.user
  • Processes.parent_process_name
  • Processes.parent_process
  • Processes.original_file_name
  • Processes.process_name
  • Processes.process
  • Processes.process_id
  • Processes.parent_process_path
  • Processes.process_path
  • Processes.parent_process_id

How To Implement

To successfully implement this search you need to be ingesting information on process that include the name of the process responsible for the changes from your endpoints into the Endpoint datamodel in the Processes node. In addition, confirm the latest CIM App 4.20 or higher is installed and the latest TA for the endpoint product.

Known False Positives

False positives may be caused by Administrators resetting SPNs or querying for SPNs. Filter as needed.

Associated Analytic Story


Risk Score Impact Confidence Message
80.0 80 100 An instance of $parent_process_name$ spawning $process_name$ was identified on endpoint $dest$ by user $user$ attempting to identify service principle names.

: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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