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This analytic will identify suspicious files dropped or created in the Windows %startup% folder. This technique is a common way to gain persistence on a targeted host. Threat actor, adversaries and red teamer abuse this folder path to automatically execute their malicious sample upon boot or restart of the infected host. This TTP detection is a good indicator that a suspicious process wants to gain persistence on the targeted host. We suggest to verify the process name by using the process guid field, the file created and also the user and the computer name for further investigation.

  • Type: Anomaly
  • Product: Splunk Enterprise, Splunk Enterprise Security, Splunk Cloud
  • Datamodel: Endpoint
  • Last Updated: 2023-01-12
  • Author: Teoderick Contreras, Splunk
  • ID: 99d157cb-923f-4a00-aee9-1f385412146f




ID Technique Tactic
T1547.001 Registry Run Keys / Startup Folder Persistence, Privilege Escalation
T1547 Boot or Logon Autostart Execution Persistence, Privilege Escalation
Kill Chain Phase
  • Installation
  • Exploitation
  • DE.AE
  • CIS 10
|tstats `security_content_summariesonly` count min(_time) as firstTime max(_time) as lastTime from datamodel=Endpoint.Filesystem where Filesystem.file_path = "*\\Microsoft\\Windows\\Start Menu\\Programs\\Startup\\*" by Filesystem.file_create_time Filesystem.process_id Filesystem.file_name Filesystem.user Filesystem.file_path Filesystem.process_guid Filesystem.dest 
| `drop_dm_object_name(Filesystem)` 
| `security_content_ctime(firstTime)` 
| `security_content_ctime(lastTime)` 
| `windows_boot_or_logon_autostart_execution_in_startup_folder_filter`


The SPL above uses the following Macros:

:information_source: windows_boot_or_logon_autostart_execution_in_startup_folder_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
  • Filesystem.file_create_time
  • Filesystem.process_id
  • Filesystem.file_name
  • Filesystem.user
  • Filesystem.file_path
  • Filesystem.process_guid
  • Filesystem.dest

How To Implement

To successfully implement this search you need to be ingesting information on process that include the name of the Filesystem responsible for the changes from your endpoints into the Endpoint datamodel in the Filesystem node.

Known False Positives

Administrators may allow creation of script or exe in this path.

Associated Analytic Story


Risk Score Impact Confidence Message
81.0 90 90 a process dropped a file in %startup% folder 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

Replay any dataset to Splunk Enterprise by using our tool or the UI. Alternatively you can replay a dataset into a Splunk Attack Range

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