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Description

The following analytic identifies pkexec spawning with no command-line arguments. A vulnerability in Polkit's pkexec component identified as CVE-2021-4034 (PwnKit) which is present in the default configuration of all major Linux distributions and can be exploited to gain full root privileges on the system.

  • Type: TTP
  • Product: Splunk Enterprise, Splunk Enterprise Security, Splunk Cloud
  • Datamodel: Endpoint
  • Last Updated: 2022-01-28
  • Author: Michael Haag, Splunk
  • ID: 03e22c1c-8086-11ec-ac2e-acde48001122

Annotations

ATT&CK

ATT&CK

ID Technique Tactic
T1068 Exploitation for Privilege Escalation Privilege Escalation
Kill Chain Phase
  • Exploitation
NIST
CIS20
CVE
ID Summary CVSS
CVE-2021-4034 A local privilege escalation vulnerability was found on polkit's pkexec utility. The pkexec application is a setuid tool designed to allow unprivileged users to run commands as privileged users according predefined policies. The current version of pkexec doesn't handle the calling parameters count correctly and ends trying to execute environment variables as commands. An attacker can leverage this by crafting environment variables in such a way it'll induce pkexec to execute arbitrary code. When successfully executed the attack can cause a local privilege escalation given unprivileged users administrative rights on the target machine. 7.2
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| tstats `security_content_summariesonly` count FROM datamodel=Endpoint.Processes where Processes.process_name=pkexec by _time Processes.dest Processes.process_id Processes.parent_process_name Processes.process_name Processes.process Processes.process_path 
| `drop_dm_object_name(Processes)` 
| `security_content_ctime(firstTime)` 
| `security_content_ctime(lastTime)` 
| regex process="(^.{1}$)" 
| `linux_pkexec_privilege_escalation_filter`

Macros

The SPL above uses the following Macros:

:information_source: linux_pkexec_privilege_escalation_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.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

Depending on the EDR product in use, there are multiple ways to "null" the command-line field, Processes.process. Two that may be useful process="(^.{0}$)" or | where isnull(process). To generate data for this behavior, Sysmon for Linux was utilized. 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 present, filter as needed.

Associated Analytic Story

RBA

Risk Score Impact Confidence Message
56.0 80 70 An instance of $parent_process_name$ spawning $process_name$ was identified on endpoint $dest$ by user $user$ related to a local privilege escalation in polkit pkexec.

: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.

Reference

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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