Try in Splunk Security Cloud


The following analytic detects suspicious process access by spoolsv.exe, potentially indicating exploitation of the PrintNightmare vulnerability (CVE-2021-34527). It leverages Sysmon EventCode 10 to identify when spoolsv.exe accesses critical system files or processes like rundll32.exe with elevated privileges. This activity is significant as it may signal an attempt to gain unauthorized privilege escalation on a vulnerable machine. If confirmed malicious, an attacker could achieve elevated privileges, leading to further system compromise, persistent access, or unauthorized control over the affected environment.

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

  • Last Updated: 2024-05-16
  • Author: Mauricio Velazco, Michael Haag, Teoderick Contreras, Splunk
  • ID: 799b606e-da81-11eb-93f8-acde48001122




ID Technique Tactic
T1068 Exploitation for Privilege Escalation Privilege Escalation
Kill Chain Phase
  • Exploitation
  • DE.CM
  • CIS 10
`sysmon` EventCode=10 SourceImage = "*\\spoolsv.exe" CallTrace = "*\\Windows\\system32\\spool\\DRIVERS\\x64\\*" TargetImage IN ("*\\rundll32.exe", "*\\spoolsv.exe") GrantedAccess = 0x1fffff 
| stats  count min(_time) as firstTime max(_time) as lastTime by dest SourceImage TargetImage GrantedAccess CallTrace  EventCode ProcessID
| `security_content_ctime(firstTime)` 
| `security_content_ctime(lastTime)` 
| `spoolsv_suspicious_process_access_filter`


The SPL above uses the following Macros:

:information_source: spoolsv_suspicious_process_access_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
  • SourceImage
  • TargetImage
  • GrantedAccess
  • CallTrace
  • EventCode

How To Implement

To successfully implement this search, you need to be ingesting logs with process access event where SourceImage, TargetImage, GrantedAccess and CallTrace executions from your endpoints. If you are using Sysmon, you must have at least version 6.0.4 of the Sysmon TA. Tune and filter known instances of spoolsv.exe.

Known False Positives

Unknown. Filter as needed.

Associated Analytic Story


Risk Score Impact Confidence Message
72.0 80 90 $SourceImage$ was GrantedAccess open access to $TargetImage$ on endpoint $dest$. This behavior is suspicious and related to PrintNightmare.

: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