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The following analytic detects the creation of a new scheduled task with the highest execution privileges via Schtasks.exe. It leverages Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) logs to monitor for specific command-line parameters ('/rl' and 'highest') in schtasks.exe executions. This activity is significant as it is commonly used in AsyncRAT attacks for persistence and privilege escalation. If confirmed malicious, this could allow an attacker to maintain persistent access and execute tasks with elevated privileges, potentially leading to unauthorized system access and data breaches.

  • Type: TTP
  • Product: Splunk Enterprise, Splunk Enterprise Security, Splunk Cloud
  • Datamodel: Endpoint
  • Last Updated: 2024-05-20
  • Author: Teoderick Contreras, Splunk
  • ID: 2f15e1a4-0fc2-49dd-919e-cbbe60699218




ID Technique Tactic
T1053 Scheduled Task/Job Execution, Persistence, Privilege Escalation
T1053.005 Scheduled Task Execution, Persistence, Privilege Escalation
Kill Chain Phase
  • Installation
  • Exploitation
  • DE.CM
  • CIS 10
| tstats `security_content_summariesonly` count min(_time) as firstTime max(_time) as lastTime  from datamodel=Endpoint.Processes where Processes.process_name = "schtasks.exe" Processes.process = "*/rl *" Processes.process = "* highest *" by Processes.process_name Processes.parent_process_name Processes.parent_process Processes.process Processes.process_guid Processes.dest Processes.user 
| `drop_dm_object_name(Processes)` 
| `security_content_ctime(firstTime)` 
| `security_content_ctime(lastTime)` 
| `windows_scheduled_task_with_highest_privileges_filter`


The SPL above uses the following Macros:

:information_source: windows_scheduled_task_with_highest_privileges_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

False positives may arise from legitimate applications that create tasks to run as SYSTEM. Therefore, it's recommended to adjust filters based on parent process or modify the query to include world writable paths for restriction.

Associated Analytic Story


Risk Score Impact Confidence Message
64.0 80 80 a $process_name$ creating a schedule task $process$ with highest run level privilege in $dest$

: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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