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The following analytic detects whether a process is attempting to add a certificate to the untrusted certificate store, which might result in security tools being disabled. The detection is made by focusing on process activities and command-line arguments that are related to the 'certutil -addstore' command. This detection is important because it helps to identify attackers who might add a certificate to the untrusted certificate store to disable security tools and gain unauthorized access to a system. False positives might occur since legitimate reasons might exist for a process to add a certificate to the untrusted certificate store, such as system administration tasks. Next steps include conducting an extensive triage and investigation prior to taking any action. Additionally, you must understand the importance of trust and its subversion in system security.

  • Type: TTP
  • Product: Splunk Enterprise, Splunk Enterprise Security, Splunk Cloud
  • Datamodel: Endpoint
  • Last Updated: 2021-09-16
  • Author: Patrick Bareiss, Rico Valdez, Splunk
  • ID: 6bc5243e-ef36-45dc-9b12-f4a6be131159




ID Technique Tactic
T1553.004 Install Root Certificate Defense Evasion
T1553 Subvert Trust Controls Defense Evasion
Kill Chain Phase
  • Exploitation
  • DE.CM
  • CIS 10
| tstats `security_content_summariesonly` count min(_time) as firstTime values(Processes.process) as process max(_time) as lastTime from datamodel=Endpoint.Processes where `process_certutil` (Processes.process=*-addstore*) by Processes.dest Processes.user Processes.parent_process Processes.parent_process_name Processes.process_name Processes.process Processes.process_id Processes.parent_process_id 
| `drop_dm_object_name("Processes")` 
| `security_content_ctime(firstTime)` 
| `attempt_to_add_certificate_to_untrusted_store_filter`


The SPL above uses the following Macros:

:information_source: attempt_to_add_certificate_to_untrusted_store_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.process_name
  • Processes.process
  • Processes.parent_process
  • Processes.process_id
  • 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

There may be legitimate reasons for administrators to add a certificate to the untrusted certificate store. In such cases, this will typically be done on a large number of systems.

Associated Analytic Story


Risk Score Impact Confidence Message
35.0 70 50 An instance of $parent_process_name$ spawning $process_name$ was identified attempting to add a certificate to the store on endpoint $dest$ by user $user$.

: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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source | version: 7