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Description

This analytic identifies when Microsoft HTML Application Host (mshta.exe) utility is used to make remote http connections. Adversaries may use mshta.exe to proxy the download and execution of remote .hta files. The analytic identifies command line arguments of http and https being used. This technique is commonly used by malicious software to bypass preventative controls. The search will return the first time and last time these command-line arguments were used for these executions, as well as the target system, the user, process "rundll32.exe" and its parent process.

  • Type: TTP
  • Product: Splunk Enterprise, Splunk Enterprise Security, Splunk Cloud
  • Datamodel: Endpoint
  • Last Updated: 2021-09-16
  • Author: Michael Haag, Splunk
  • ID: 9b3af1e6-5b68-11eb-ae93-0242ac130002

Annotations

ATT&CK

ATT&CK

ID Technique Tactic
T1218 System Binary Proxy Execution Defense Evasion
T1218.005 Mshta Defense Evasion
Kill Chain Phase
  • Exploitation
NIST
  • PR.PT
  • DE.CM
CIS20
  • CIS 8
CVE
1
2
3
4
5
6
| tstats `security_content_summariesonly` count values(Processes.process) as process values(Processes.parent_process) as parent_process min(_time) as firstTime max(_time) as lastTime from datamodel=Endpoint.Processes where `process_mshta` (Processes.process="*http://*" OR Processes.process="*https://*") by Processes.user Processes.process_name Processes.parent_process_name Processes.original_file_name Processes.dest  
| `drop_dm_object_name(Processes)` 
| `security_content_ctime(firstTime)`
| `security_content_ctime(lastTime)` 
| `detect_mshta_url_in_command_line_filter`

Macros

The SPL above uses the following Macros:

:information_source: detect_mshta_url_in_command_line_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

How To Implement

To successfully implement this search you need to be ingesting information on process that include the name of the process responsible for the changes from your endpoints into the Endpoint datamodel in the Processes node. In addition, confirm the latest CIM App 4.20 or higher is installed and the latest TA for the endpoint product.

Known False Positives

It is possible legitimate applications may perform this behavior and will need to be filtered.

Associated Analytic Story

RBA

Risk Score Impact Confidence Message
80.0 80 100 An instance of $parent_process_name$ spawning $process_name$ was identified on endpoint $est$ by user $user$ attempting to access a remote destination to download an additional payload.

: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.

Reference

Test Dataset

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

source | version: 2