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The following analytic detects potential RDP Hijacking attempts by monitoring a series of actions taken by an attacker to gain unauthorized access to a remote system. The attacker first runs the quser command to query the remote host for disconnected user sessions. Upon identifying a disconnected session, they use the sc.exe command to create a new Windows service with a binary path that launches tscon.exe. By specifying the disconnected session ID and a destination ID, the attacker can transfer the disconnected session to a new RDP session, effectively hijacking the user's session. This analytic allows security teams to detect and respond to RDP Hijacking attempts, mitigating potential risks and impacts on targeted systems.

  • Type: TTP
  • Product: Splunk Enterprise, Splunk Enterprise Security, Splunk Cloud
  • Datamodel: Endpoint
  • Last Updated: 2023-03-29
  • Author: Michael Haag, Splunk
  • ID: c13b3d74-6b63-4db5-a841-4206f0370077




ID Technique Tactic
T1563.002 RDP Hijacking Lateral Movement
T1563 Remote Service Session Hijacking Lateral Movement
T1543.003 Windows Service Persistence, Privilege Escalation
Kill Chain Phase
  • Exploitation
  • Installation
  • DE.CM
  • CIS 10
| tstats `security_content_summariesonly` count min(_time) as firstTime max(_time) as lastTime from datamodel=Endpoint.Processes where Processes.process_name=sc.exe Processes.process="*/dest:rdp-tcp*" by Processes.dest Processes.user Processes.parent_process_name 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_service_create_with_tscon_filter`


The SPL above uses the following Macros:

:information_source: windows_service_create_with_tscon_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

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

False positives may arise in the RDP Hijacking analytic when legitimate administrators access remote sessions for maintenance or troubleshooting purposes. These activities might resemble an attacker''s attempt to hijack a disconnected session, leading to false alarms. To mitigate the risk of false positives and improve the overall security posture, organizations can implement Group Policy to automatically disconnect RDP sessions when they are complete. By enforcing this policy, administrators ensure that disconnected sessions are promptly terminated, reducing the window of opportunity for an attacker to hijack a session. Additionally, organizations can also implement access control mechanisms and monitor the behavior of privileged accounts to further enhance security and reduce the chances of false positives in RDP Hijacking detection.

Associated Analytic Story


Risk Score Impact Confidence Message
64.0 80 80 An instance of $parent_process_name$ spawning $process_name$ was identified on endpoint $dest$ by user $user$ attempting to hijack a RDP session.

: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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