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The following analytic identifies the process AppCmd.exe installing a new module into IIS. AppCmd is a utility to manage IIS web sites and App Pools. An adversary may run this command to install a webshell or backdoor. This has been found to be used for credit card scraping, persistence, and further post-exploitation. An administrator may run this to install new modules for a web site or during IIS updates.

  • Type: Anomaly
  • Product: Splunk Enterprise, Splunk Enterprise Security, Splunk Cloud
  • Datamodel: Endpoint
  • Last Updated: 2022-12-19
  • Author: Michael Haag, Splunk
  • ID: 38fe731c-1f13-43d4-b878-a5bbe44807e3




ID Technique Tactic
T1505 Server Software Component Persistence
T1505.004 IIS Components Persistence
Kill Chain Phase
  • Installation
  • DE.AE
  • CIS 10
| tstats `security_content_summariesonly` count min(_time) as firstTime max(_time) as lastTime from datamodel=Endpoint.Processes where NOT (Processes.parent_process_name  IN ("msiexec.exe", "iissetup.exe")) Processes.process_name=appcmd.exe Processes.process IN ("*install *", "*module *") AND Processes.process="*image*" by Processes.dest Processes.user Processes.parent_process_name 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_iis_components_add_new_module_filter`


The SPL above uses the following Macros:

:information_source: windows_iis_components_add_new_module_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

Tune the analytic for your environment by filtering by known good modules or processes. Enable as TTP once the volume is low enough. 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 until properly tuned. Filter as needed.

Associated Analytic Story


Risk Score Impact Confidence Message
64.0 80 80 An instance of $parent_process_name$ spawning $process_name$ was identified on endpoint $dest$ by user $user$ attempting to install a new IIS module.

: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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