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Monitor for signs that Ntdsutil is being used to Extract Active Directory database - NTDS.dit, typically used for offline password cracking. It may be used in normal circumstances with no command line arguments or shorthand variations of more common arguments. Ntdsutil.exe is typically seen run on a Windows Server. Typical command used to dump ntds.dit
ntdsutil "ac i ntds" "ifm" "create full C:\Temp" q q
This technique uses "Install from Media" (IFM), which will extract a copy of the Active Directory database. A successful export of the Active Directory database will yield a file modification named ntds.dit to the destination.

  • Type: TTP
  • Product: Splunk Enterprise, Splunk Enterprise Security, Splunk Cloud
  • Datamodel: Endpoint
  • Last Updated: 2021-01-28
  • Author: Michael Haag, Patrick Bareiss, Splunk
  • ID: da63bc76-61ae-11eb-ae93-0242ac130002




ID Technique Tactic
T1003.003 NTDS Credential Access
T1003 OS Credential Dumping Credential Access
Kill Chain Phase
  • Actions on Objectives
  • DE.CM
  • CIS 8
  • CIS 16
| tstats `security_content_summariesonly` count min(_time) as firstTime max(_time) as lastTime from datamodel=Endpoint.Processes where (Processes.process_name=ntdsutil.exe Processes.process=*ntds* Processes.process=*create*) by Processes.dest Processes.user Processes.parent_process Processes.process_name Processes.process Processes.process_id Processes.parent_process_id 
| `drop_dm_object_name(Processes)` 
| `security_content_ctime(firstTime)`
| `security_content_ctime(lastTime)` 
| `ntdsutil_export_ntds_filter`


The SPL above uses the following Macros:

:information_source: ntdsutil_export_ntds_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
  • Processes.process_name
  • Processes.process
  • Processes.dest
  • Processes.user
  • Processes.parent_process
  • Processes.process_id
  • Processes.parent_process_id

How To Implement

You must be ingesting endpoint data that tracks process activity, including parent-child relationships from your endpoints, to populate the Endpoint data model in the Processes node. The command-line arguments are mapped to the "process" field in the Endpoint data model.

Known False Positives

Highly possible Server Administrators will troubleshoot with ntdsutil.exe, generating false positives.

Associated Analytic Story


Risk Score Impact Confidence Message
50.0 100 50 Active Directory NTDS export 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

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