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The following analytic detects the execution of cscript.exe or wscript.exe processes initiated by cmd.exe. It leverages data from Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) agents, focusing on process names and parent processes within the Endpoint data model. This activity is significant as it may indicate script-based attacks or administrative actions that could be leveraged for malicious purposes. If confirmed malicious, this behavior could allow attackers to execute scripts, potentially leading to code execution, privilege escalation, or persistence within the environment.

  • Type: TTP
  • Product: Splunk Enterprise, Splunk Enterprise Security, Splunk Cloud
  • Datamodel: Endpoint
  • Last Updated: 2024-05-20
  • Author: Bhavin Patel, Mauricio Velazco, Splunk
  • ID: b89919ed-fe5f-492c-b139-95dbb162039e




ID Technique Tactic
T1059 Command and Scripting Interpreter Execution
T1059.003 Windows Command Shell Execution
Kill Chain Phase
  • Installation
  • 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="cmd.exe" (Processes.process_name=cscript.exe OR Processes.process_name =wscript.exe) by Processes.parent_process Processes.process_name Processes.process Processes.user Processes.dest 
| `drop_dm_object_name("Processes")` 
| `security_content_ctime(firstTime)`
| `detect_use_of_cmd_exe_to_launch_script_interpreters_filter`


The SPL above uses the following Macros:

:information_source: detect_use_of_cmd_exe_to_launch_script_interpreters_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.process
  • Processes.parent_process_name
  • Processes.process_name
  • Processes.parent_process
  • Processes.user
  • Processes.dest

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

This detection may also be triggered by legitimate applications and numerous service accounts, which often end with a $ sign. To manage this, it's advised to check the service account's activities and, if they are valid, modify the filter macro to exclude them.

Associated Analytic Story


Risk Score Impact Confidence Message
35.0 70 50 cmd.exe launching script interpreters $process_name$ on $dest$

: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

source | version: 6