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The following analytic detects the suspicious spawning of MSBuild.exe by Windows Script Host processes (cscript.exe or wscript.exe). This behavior is often associated with malware or adversaries executing malicious MSBuild processes via scripts on compromised hosts. The detection leverages Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) telemetry, focusing on process creation events where MSBuild is a child of script hosts. This activity is significant as it may indicate an attempt to execute malicious code. If confirmed malicious, it could lead to unauthorized code execution, potentially compromising the host and allowing further malicious activities.

  • Type: TTP
  • Product: Splunk Enterprise, Splunk Enterprise Security, Splunk Cloud
  • Datamodel: Endpoint
  • Last Updated: 2024-05-13
  • Author: Teoderick Contreras, Splunk
  • ID: 213b3148-24ea-11ec-93a2-acde48001122




ID Technique Tactic
T1127.001 MSBuild Defense Evasion
T1127 Trusted Developer Utilities Proxy Execution Defense Evasion
Kill Chain Phase
  • Exploitation
  • DE.CM
  • CIS 10
| tstats `security_content_summariesonly` count values(Processes.process_name) as process_name values(Processes.process) as process min(_time) as firstTime max(_time) as lastTime from datamodel=Endpoint.Processes where Processes.parent_process_name IN ("wscript.exe", "cscript.exe") AND `process_msbuild` by Processes.dest Processes.parent_process Processes.parent_process_name Processes.process_name Processes.original_file_name Processes.user 
| `drop_dm_object_name(Processes)` 
| `security_content_ctime(firstTime)` 
| `security_content_ctime(lastTime)` 
| `msbuild_suspicious_spawned_by_script_process_filter`


The SPL above uses the following Macros:

:information_source: msbuild_suspicious_spawned_by_script_process_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.parent_process
  • Processes.parent_process_name
  • Processes.process_name
  • Processes.original_file_name
  • Processes.user

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

False positives should be limited as developers do not spawn MSBuild via a WSH.

Associated Analytic Story


Risk Score Impact Confidence Message
49.0 70 70 Msbuild.exe process spawned by $parent_process_name$ on $dest$ executed by $user$

: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

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