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The following analytic identifies the process name of Java, Apache, or Tomcat spawning a Linux shell. This is potentially indicative of exploitation of the Java application and may be related to current event CVE-2021-44228 (Log4Shell). The shells included in the macro are "sh", "ksh", "zsh", "bash", "dash", "rbash", "fish", "csh', "tcsh', "ion", "eshell". Upon triage, review parallel processes and command-line arguments to determine legitimacy.

  • Type: TTP
  • Product: Splunk Enterprise, Splunk Enterprise Security, Splunk Cloud
  • Datamodel: Endpoint
  • Last Updated: 2021-12-13
  • Author: Michael Haag, Splunk
  • ID: 7b09db8a-5c20-11ec-9945-acde48001122




ID Technique Tactic
T1190 Exploit Public-Facing Application Initial Access
Kill Chain Phase
  • Exploitation
| tstats `security_content_summariesonly` count min(_time) as firstTime max(_time) as lastTime from datamodel=Endpoint.Processes where Processes.parent_process_name=java OR Processes.parent_process_name=apache OR Processes.parent_process_name=tomcat `linux_shells` by Processes.dest Processes.user 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)` 
| `security_content_ctime(lastTime)` 
| `linux_java_spawning_shell_filter`


The SPL above uses the following Macros:

:information_source: linux_java_spawning_shell_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

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 for Linux, you will need to ensure mapping is occurring correctly. Ensure EDR product is mapping OS Linux to the datamodel properly. Add any additional java process names for your environment to the analytic as needed.

Known False Positives

Filtering may be required on internal developer build systems or classify assets as web facing and restrict the analytic based on asset type.

Associated Analytic Story


Risk Score Impact Confidence Message
40.0 80 50 An instance of $parent_process_name$ spawning $process_name$ was identified on endpoint $dest$ spawning a Linux shell, potentially indicative of exploitation.

: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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