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This analytic is designed to identify potentially malicious processes that terminate other processes using taskkill.exe. This technique has been observed in various malware instances, employed by adversaries and red teamers alike, to forcibly terminate other processes whether they be security products or other legitimate applications as part of their malicious activities. Detecting this anomaly serves as a valuable alert mechanism to identify suspicious processes or malware attempting to evade detection and disrupt system stability.

  • Type: Anomaly
  • Product: Splunk Enterprise, Splunk Enterprise Security, Splunk Cloud
  • Datamodel: Endpoint
  • Last Updated: 2023-09-13
  • Author: Teoderick Contreras, Splunk
  • ID: a43ae66f-c410-4b3d-8741-9ce1ad17ddb0




ID Technique Tactic
T1562 Impair Defenses Defense Evasion
T1562.001 Disable or Modify Tools Defense Evasion
Kill Chain Phase
  • Exploitation
  • DE.AE
  • CIS 10
| tstats `security_content_summariesonly` count min(_time) as firstTime max(_time) as lastTime from datamodel=Endpoint.Processes where Processes.process_name = "taskkill.exe" Processes.process IN ("* /f*", "* /t*") Processes.process IN ("* /im*", "* /pid*") by Processes.parent_process_name Processes.parent_process Processes.process_name Processes.process Processes.process_id Processes.process_guid  Processes.user Processes.dest 
| `drop_dm_object_name("Processes")` 
| `security_content_ctime(firstTime)` 
| `security_content_ctime(lastTime)` 
| `windows_disable_or_modify_tools_via_taskkill_filter`


The SPL above uses the following Macros:

:information_source: windows_disable_or_modify_tools_via_taskkill_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.process_name
  • Processes.process
  • Processes.process_id
  • Processes.parent_process_id

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

Network administrator can use this application to kill process during audit or investigation.

Associated Analytic Story


Risk Score Impact Confidence Message
36.0 60 60 A taskkill process to terminate process is executed on host- $dest$

: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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