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The following analytic identifies an excessive number of distinct processes executing from the Windows\Temp directory. It leverages data from Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) agents, focusing on process paths and counts within a 20-minute window. This behavior is significant as it often indicates the presence of post-exploit frameworks like Koadic and Meterpreter, which use this technique to execute malicious actions. If confirmed malicious, this activity could allow attackers to execute arbitrary code, escalate privileges, and maintain persistence within the environment, posing a severe threat to system integrity and security.

  • Type: Anomaly
  • Product: Splunk Enterprise, Splunk Enterprise Security, Splunk Cloud
  • Datamodel: Endpoint
  • Last Updated: 2024-05-29
  • Author: Michael Hart, Mauricio Velazco, Splunk
  • ID: 23587b6a-c479-11eb-b671-acde48001122




ID Technique Tactic
T1059 Command and Scripting Interpreter Execution
Kill Chain Phase
  • Installation
  • DE.AE
  • CIS 10
| tstats `security_content_summariesonly` values(Processes.process) as process distinct_count(Processes.process) as distinct_process_count  min(_time) as firstTime max(_time) as lastTime from datamodel=Endpoint.Processes where Processes.process_path = "*\\Windows\\Temp\\*" by Processes.dest Processes.user  _time span=20m 
| where distinct_process_count > 37 
| `drop_dm_object_name(Processes)` 
| `security_content_ctime(firstTime)` 
| `security_content_ctime(lastTime)` 
| `excessive_distinct_processes_from_windows_temp_filter`


The SPL above uses the following Macros:

:information_source: excessive_distinct_processes_from_windows_temp_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.process
  • Processes.dest
  • 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

Many benign applications will create processes from executables in Windows\Temp, although unlikely to exceed the given threshold. Filter as needed.

Associated Analytic Story


Risk Score Impact Confidence Message
80.0 80 100 Multiple processes were executed out of windows\temp within a short amount of time on $dest$.

: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

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source | version: 4