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The following analytic detects the use of reg.exe to modify registry keys associated with Windows services and their configurations. It leverages data from Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) agents, focusing on process names, parent processes, and command-line executions. This activity is significant because unauthorized changes to service registry keys can indicate an attempt to establish persistence or escalate privileges. If confirmed malicious, this could allow an attacker to control service behavior, potentially leading to unauthorized code execution or system compromise.

  • Type: TTP
  • Product: Splunk Enterprise, Splunk Enterprise Security, Splunk Cloud
  • Datamodel: Endpoint
  • Last Updated: 2024-05-17
  • Author: Rico Valdez, Splunk
  • ID: 8470d755-0c13-45b3-bd63-387a373c10cf




ID Technique Tactic
T1574.011 Services Registry Permissions Weakness Persistence, Privilege Escalation, Defense Evasion
T1574 Hijack Execution Flow Persistence, Privilege Escalation, Defense Evasion
Kill Chain Phase
  • Installation
  • Exploitation
  • DE.CM
  • CIS 10
| tstats `security_content_summariesonly` count min(_time) as firstTime max(_time) as lastTime values(Processes.process_name) as process_name values(Processes.parent_process_name) as parent_process_name values(Processes.user) as user FROM datamodel=Endpoint.Processes where Processes.process_name=reg.exe Processes.process=*reg* Processes.process=*add* Processes.process=*Services* by Processes.process_id Processes.dest Processes.process 
| `drop_dm_object_name("Processes")` 
| `security_content_ctime(firstTime)` 
| `security_content_ctime(lastTime)` 
| `reg_exe_manipulating_windows_services_registry_keys_filter`


The SPL above uses the following Macros:

:information_source: reg_exe_manipulating_windows_services_registry_keys_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.process_name
  • Processes.parent_process_name
  • Processes.user
  • Processes.process
  • Processes.process_id
  • Processes.dest

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

It is unusual for a service to be created or modified by directly manipulating the registry. However, there may be legitimate instances of this behavior. It is important to validate and investigate, as appropriate.

Associated Analytic Story


Risk Score Impact Confidence Message
45.0 75 60 A reg.exe process $process_name$ with commandline $process$ in host $dest$

: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: 6