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The following analytic utilizes PowerShell Script Block Logging (EventCode=4104) to identify suspicious PowerShell execution. Script Block Logging captures the command sent to PowerShell, the full command to be executed. Upon enabling, logs will output to Windows event logs. Dependent upon volume, enable on critical endpoints or all.

This analytic identifies copy or [System.IO.File]::Copy being used to capture the SAM, SYSTEM or SECURITY hives identified in script block. This will catch the most basic use cases for credentials being taken for offline cracking. During triage, review parallel processes using an EDR product or 4688 events. It will be important to understand the timeline of events around this activity. Review the entire logged PowerShell script block.

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

  • Last Updated: 2024-04-26
  • Author: Michael Haag, Splunk
  • ID: 9251299c-ea5b-11eb-a8de-acde48001122




ID Technique Tactic
T1003.002 Security Account Manager Credential Access
T1003 OS Credential Dumping Credential Access
Kill Chain Phase
  • Exploitation
  • DE.CM
  • CIS 10

| ID | Summary | CVSS | | ———– | ———– | ————– | | CVE-2021-36934 | <p>An elevation of privilege vulnerability exists because of overly permissive Access Control Lists (ACLs) on multiple system files, including the Security Accounts Manager (SAM) database. An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could run arbitrary code with SYSTEM privileges. An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights.</p> <p>An attacker must have the ability to execute code on a victim system to exploit this vulnerability.</p> <p>After installing this security update, you <em>must</em> manually delete all shadow copies of system files, including the SAM database, to fully mitigate this vulnerabilty. <strong>Simply installing this security update will not fully mitigate this vulnerability.</strong> See <a href="">KB5005357- Delete Volume Shadow Copies</a>.</p> | 4.6 |

`powershell` EventCode=4104 ScriptBlockText IN ("*copy*","*[System.IO.File]::Copy*") AND ScriptBlockText IN ("*System32\\config\\SAM*", "*System32\\config\\SYSTEM*","*System32\\config\\SECURITY*") 
| stats count min(_time) as firstTime max(_time) as lastTime by Opcode Computer UserID EventCode ScriptBlockText 
| rename Computer as dest 
| rename UserID as user 
| `security_content_ctime(firstTime)` 
| `security_content_ctime(lastTime)` 
| `detect_copy_of_shadowcopy_with_script_block_logging_filter`


The SPL above uses the following Macros:

:information_source: detect_copy_of_shadowcopy_with_script_block_logging_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
  • Message
  • OpCode
  • ComputerName
  • User
  • EventCode

How To Implement

To successfully implement this analytic, you will need to enable PowerShell Script Block Logging on some or all endpoints. Additional setup here

Known False Positives

Limited false positives as the scope is limited to SAM, SYSTEM and SECURITY hives.

Associated Analytic Story


Risk Score Impact Confidence Message
80.0 80 100 PowerShell was identified running a script to capture the SAM hive 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

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