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The following analytic identifies a msiexec.exe process with hidewindow rundll32 process commandline. One such tactic involves utilizing system processes like "msiexec," "hidewindow," and "rundll32" through command-line execution. By leveraging these legitimate processes, QakBot masks its malicious operations, hiding behind seemingly normal system activities. This clandestine approach allows the trojan to carry out unauthorized tasks discreetly, such as downloading additional payloads, executing malicious code, or establishing communication with remote servers. This obfuscation through trusted system processes enables QakBot to operate stealthily, evading detection by security mechanisms and perpetuating its harmful actions without raising suspicion.

  • Type: TTP
  • Product: Splunk Enterprise, Splunk Enterprise Security, Splunk Cloud
  • Datamodel: Endpoint
  • Last Updated: 2024-01-03
  • Author: Teoderick Contreras, Splunk
  • ID: 9683271d-92e4-43b5-a907-1983bfb9f7fd




ID Technique Tactic
T1218.007 Msiexec Defense Evasion
T1218 System Binary Proxy Execution Defense Evasion
Kill Chain Phase
  • Exploitation
  • DE.CM
  • CIS 10
| tstats `security_content_summariesonly` count min(_time) as firstTime max(_time) as lastTime from datamodel=Endpoint.Processes where Processes.parent_process_name = msiexec.exe  Processes.process = "* /HideWindow *" Processes.process = "* rundll32*" by Processes.dest Processes.user Processes.parent_process_name Processes.parent_process 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)` 
| `windows_msiexec_hidewindow_rundll32_execution_filter`


The SPL above uses the following Macros:

:information_source: windows_msiexec_hidewindow_rundll32_execution_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
  • Processes.process_guid

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

Other possible 3rd party msi software installers use this technique as part of its installation process.

Associated Analytic Story


Risk Score Impact Confidence Message
49.0 70 70 a msiexec parent process with /hidewindow rundll32 process commandline in $dest$

: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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