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The following analytic identifies a single source endpoint failing to authenticate with 30 unique users using the Kerberos protocol. It leverages EventCode 4771 with Status 0x18, indicating wrong password attempts, and aggregates these events over a 5-minute window. This behavior is significant as it may indicate a Password Spraying attack, where an adversary attempts to gain initial access or elevate privileges in an Active Directory environment. If confirmed malicious, this activity could lead to unauthorized access, privilege escalation, and potential compromise of sensitive information.

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

  • Last Updated: 2024-05-16
  • Author: Mauricio Velazco, Splunk
  • ID: 3a91a212-98a9-11eb-b86a-acde48001122




ID Technique Tactic
T1110.003 Password Spraying Credential Access
T1110 Brute Force Credential Access
Kill Chain Phase
  • Exploitation
  • DE.CM
  • CIS 10
`wineventlog_security` EventCode=4771 TargetUserName!="*$" Status=0x18 
| bucket span=5m _time 
| stats dc(TargetUserName) AS unique_accounts values(TargetUserName) as user by _time, IpAddress 
| where unique_accounts > 30 
| `windows_multiple_users_failed_to_authenticate_using_kerberos_filter`


The SPL above uses the following Macros:

:information_source: windows_multiple_users_failed_to_authenticate_using_kerberos_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
  • EventCode
  • Status
  • TargetUserName
  • IpAddress

How To Implement

To successfully implement this search, you need to be ingesting Domain Controller and Kerberos events. The Advanced Security Audit policy setting Audit Kerberos Authentication Service within Account Logon needs to be enabled.

Known False Positives

A host failing to authenticate with multiple valid domain users is not a common behavior for legitimate systems. Possible false positive scenarios include but are not limited to vulnerability scanners, missconfigured systems and multi-user systems like Citrix farms.

Associated Analytic Story


Risk Score Impact Confidence Message
49.0 70 70 Potential Kerberos based password spraying attack from $IpAddress$

: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: 3