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The following analytic identifies the use of default or publicly known named pipes used with Cobalt Strike. A named pipe is a named, one-way or duplex pipe for communication between the pipe server and one or more pipe clients. Cobalt Strike uses named pipes in many ways and has default values used with the Artifact Kit and Malleable C2 Profiles. The following query assists with identifying these default named pipes. Each EDR product presents named pipes a little different. Consider taking the values and generating a query based on the product of choice. Upon triage, review the process performing the named pipe. If it is explorer.exe, It is possible it was injected into by another process. Review recent parallel processes to identify suspicious patterns or behaviors. A parallel process may have a network connection, review and follow the connection back to identify any file modifications.

  • Type: TTP
  • Product: Splunk Enterprise, Splunk Enterprise Security, Splunk Cloud

  • Last Updated: 2023-07-10
  • Author: Michael Haag, Splunk
  • ID: 5876d429-0240-4709-8b93-ea8330b411b5




ID Technique Tactic
T1055 Process Injection Defense Evasion, Privilege Escalation
Kill Chain Phase
  • Exploitation
  • DE.CM
  • CIS 10
`sysmon` EventID=17 OR EventID=18 PipeName IN (\\msagent_*, \\DserNamePipe*, \\srvsvc_*, \\postex_*, \\status_*, \\MSSE-*, \\spoolss_*, \\win_svc*, \\ntsvcs*, \\winsock*, \\UIA_PIPE*)  
| stats count min(_time) as firstTime max(_time) as lastTime by dest, process_name, process_id process_path, PipeName 
| `security_content_ctime(firstTime)` 
| `security_content_ctime(lastTime)` 
| `cobalt_strike_named_pipes_filter`


The SPL above uses the following Macros:

:information_source: cobalt_strike_named_pipes_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
  • EventID
  • PipeName
  • dest
  • process_name
  • process_path
  • process_id

How To Implement

To successfully implement this search, you need to be ingesting logs with the process name, parent process, and command-line executions from your endpoints. If you are using Sysmon, you must have at least version 6.0.4 of the Sysmon TA.

Known False Positives

The idea of using named pipes with Cobalt Strike is to blend in. Therefore, some of the named pipes identified and added may cause false positives. Filter by process name or pipe name to reduce false positives.

Associated Analytic Story


Risk Score Impact Confidence Message
72.0 80 90 An instance of $process_name$ was identified on endpoint $dest$ accessing known suspicious named pipes related to Cobalt Strike.

: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

source | version: 2