The following analytic identifies rundll32.exe executing a DLL function name, Start and StartW, on the command line that is commonly observed with Cobalt Strike x86 and x64 DLL payloads. Rundll32.exe is natively found in C:\Windows\system32 and C:\Windows\syswow64. Typically, the DLL will be written and loaded from a world writeable path or user location. In most instances it will not have a valid certificate (Unsigned). During investigation, review the parent process and other parallel application execution. Capture and triage the DLL in question. In the instance of Cobalt Strike, rundll32.exe is the default process it opens and injects shellcode into. This default process can be changed, but typically is not.
- Type: TTP
- Product: Splunk Enterprise, Splunk Enterprise Security, Splunk Cloud
- Datamodel: Endpoint
- Last Updated: 2023-07-10
- Author: Michael Haag, Splunk
- ID: 9319dda5-73f2-4d43-a85a-67ce961bddb7
Kill Chain Phase
- CIS 10
1 2 3 4 5 6 | tstats `security_content_summariesonly` count min(_time) as firstTime max(_time) as lastTime from datamodel=Endpoint.Processes where `process_rundll32` Processes.process=*start* by Processes.dest Processes.user Processes.parent_process Processes.process_name Processes.process Processes.original_file_name Processes.process_id Processes.parent_process_id | `drop_dm_object_name(Processes)` | `security_content_ctime(firstTime)` | `security_content_ctime(lastTime)` | `suspicious_rundll32_startw_filter`
The SPL above uses the following Macros:
suspicious_rundll32_startw_filter is a empty macro by default. It allows the user to filter out any results (false positives) without editing the SPL.
List of fields required to use this analytic.
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
Although unlikely, some legitimate applications may use Start as a function and call it via the command line. Filter as needed.
Associated Analytic Story
|35.0||70||50||rundll32.exe running with suspicious StartW parameters on $dest$|
The Risk Score is calculated by the following formula: Risk Score = (Impact * Confidence/100). Initial Confidence and Impact is set by the analytic author.
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