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The following analytic identifies a suspicious explorer.exe process that has "/root" process commandline. The presence of this parameter is considered a significant indicator as it could indicate attempts at spoofing the parent process by a specific program or malware. By spoofing the parent process, the malicious entity aims to circumvent detection mechanisms and operate undetected within the system. This technique of manipulating the command-line parameter (/root) of explorer.exe is a form of masquerading utilized by certain malware or suspicious processes. The objective is to obscure the true nature of the activity by imitating a legitimate system process. By doing so, it attempts to evade scrutiny and evade detection by security measures.

  • Type: TTP
  • Product: Splunk Enterprise, Splunk Enterprise Security, Splunk Cloud
  • Datamodel: Endpoint
  • Last Updated: 2023-11-21
  • Author: Teoderick Contreras, Splunk
  • ID: 17f8f69c-5d00-4c88-9c6f-493bbdef20a1




ID Technique Tactic
T1134.004 Parent PID Spoofing Defense Evasion, Privilege Escalation
T1134 Access Token Manipulation Defense Evasion, Privilege Escalation
Kill Chain Phase
  • Exploitation
  • DE.CM
  • CIS 10
| tstats `security_content_summariesonly` min(_time) as firstTime max(_time) as lastTime from datamodel=Endpoint.Processes where Processes.process="*explorer.exe*" Processes.process="*/root,*" by Processes.dest Processes.user Processes.parent_process_name Processes.parent_process Processes.process_name Processes.original_file_name Processes.process Processes.process_id Processes.parent_process_id 
| `drop_dm_object_name(Processes)` 
| `security_content_ctime(firstTime)` 
| `security_content_ctime(lastTime)` 
| `windows_parent_pid_spoofing_with_explorer_filter`


The SPL above uses the following Macros:

:information_source: windows_parent_pid_spoofing_with_explorer_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

The detection is based on data that originates from Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) agents. These agents are designed to provide security-related telemetry from the endpoints where the agent is installed. To implement this search, you must ingest logs that contain the process GUID, process name, and parent process. Additionally, you must ingest complete command-line executions. These logs must be processed using the appropriate Splunk Technology Add-ons that are specific to the EDR product. The logs must also be mapped to the Processes node of the Endpoint data model. Use the Splunk Common Information Model (CIM) to normalize the field names and speed up the data modeling process.

Known False Positives


Associated Analytic Story


Risk Score Impact Confidence Message
64.0 80 80 An explorer.exe process with process commandline $process$ on dest $dest$

: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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