Potential Shadow Credentials added to AD Objectedit

Identify the modification of the msDS-KeyCredentialLink attribute in an Active Directory Computer or User Object. Attackers can abuse control over the object and create a key pair, append to raw public key in the attribute, and obtain persistent and stealthy access to the target user or computer object.

Rule type: query

Rule indices:

  • winlogbeat-*
  • logs-system.*

Severity: high

Risk score: 73

Runs every: 5 minutes

Searches indices from: now-9m (Date Math format, see also Additional look-back time)

Maximum alerts per execution: 100



  • Elastic
  • Host
  • Windows
  • Threat Detection
  • Credential Access
  • Active Directory

Version: 2 (version history)

Added (Elastic Stack release): 8.1.0

Last modified (Elastic Stack release): 8.2.0

Rule authors: Elastic

Rule license: Elastic License v2

Potential false positivesedit

Modifications in the msDS-KeyCredentialLink attribute can be done legitimately by the Azure AD Connect synchronization account or the ADFS service account. These accounts can be added as Exceptions.

Investigation guideedit

## Config

The 'Audit Directory Service Changes' logging policy must be configured for (Success, Failure).
Steps to implement the logging policy with Advanced Audit Configuration:

Computer Configuration >
Policies >
Windows Settings >
Security Settings >
Advanced Audit Policies Configuration >
Audit Policies >
DS Access >
Audit Directory Service Changes (Success,Failure)

The above policy does not cover User objects, so we need to set up an AuditRule using https://github.com/OTRF/Set-AuditRule.
As this specifies the msDS-KeyCredentialLink Attribute GUID, it is expected to be low noise.

Set-AuditRule -AdObjectPath 'AD:\CN=Users,DC=Domain,DC=com' -WellKnownSidType WorldSid -Rights WriteProperty -InheritanceFlags Children -AttributeGUID 5b47d60f-6090-40b2-9f37-2a4de88f3063 -AuditFlags Success

Rule queryedit

event.action:"Directory Service Changes" and event.code:"5136" and

Threat mappingedit


Rule version historyedit

Version 2 (8.2.0 release)
  • Formatting only