This detection has been marked experimental by the Splunk Threat Research team. This means we have not been able to test, simulate, or build datasets for this detection. Use at your own risk. This analytic is NOT supported.

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The following analytic detects email attachments with an unusually high number of spaces in their file names, which is a common tactic used by attackers to obfuscate file extensions. It leverages the Email data model to identify attachments where the ratio of spaces to the total file name length exceeds 10%. This behavior is significant as it may indicate an attempt to bypass security filters and deliver malicious payloads. If confirmed malicious, this activity could lead to the execution of harmful code or unauthorized access to sensitive information within the recipient's environment.

  • Type: Anomaly
  • Product: Splunk Enterprise, Splunk Enterprise Security, Splunk Cloud
  • Datamodel: Email
  • Last Updated: 2024-05-16
  • Author: David Dorsey, Splunk
  • ID: 56e877a6-1455-4479-ada6-0550dc1e22f8


Kill Chain Phase
  • DE.AE
  • CIS 13
| tstats `security_content_summariesonly` count values(All_Email.recipient) as recipient_address min(_time) as firstTime max(_time) as lastTime from datamodel=Email where All_Email.file_name="*" by All_Email.src_user, All_Email.file_name All_Email.message_id 
| `security_content_ctime(firstTime)` 
| `security_content_ctime(lastTime)` 
| `drop_dm_object_name("All_Email")` 
| eval space_ratio = (mvcount(split(file_name," "))-1)/len(file_name) 
| search space_ratio >= 0.1 
|  rex field=recipient_address "(?<recipient_user>.*)@" 
| `email_attachments_with_lots_of_spaces_filter`


The SPL above uses the following Macros:

:information_source: email_attachments_with_lots_of_spaces_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
  • All_Email.recipient
  • All_Email.file_name
  • All_Email.src_user
  • All_Email.file_name
  • All_Email.message_id

How To Implement

You need to ingest data from emails. Specifically, the sender's address and the file names of any attachments must be mapped to the Email data model. The threshold ratio is set to 10%, but this value can be configured to suit each environment. Splunk Phantom Playbook Integration If Splunk Phantom is also configured in your environment, a playbook called "Suspicious Email Attachment Investigate and Delete" can be configured to run when any results are found by this detection search. To use this integration, install the Phantom App for Splunk https://splunkbase.splunk.com/app/3411/ and add the correct hostname to the "Phantom Instance" field in the Adaptive Response Actions when configuring this detection search. The notable event will be sent to Phantom and the playbook will gather further information about the file attachment and its network behaviors. If Phantom finds malicious behavior and an analyst approves of the results, the email will be deleted from the user's inbox.

Known False Positives

None at this time

Associated Analytic Story


Risk Score Impact Confidence Message
25.0 50 50 tbd

: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 replay.py tool or the UI. Alternatively you can replay a dataset into a Splunk Attack Range

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