This detection has been marked experimental by the Splunk Threat Research team. This means we have not been able to test, simulate, or build datasets for this detection. Use at your own risk. This analytic is NOT supported.

Try in Splunk Security Cloud


The following analytic detects command lines that are extremely long, which might be indicative of malicious activity on your hosts because attackers often use obfuscated or complex command lines to hide their actions and evade detection. This helps to mitigate the risks associated with long command lines to enhance your overall security posture and reduce the impact of attacks. This detection is important because it suggests that an attacker might be attempting to execute a malicious command or payload on the host, which can lead to various damaging outcomes such as data theft, ransomware, or further compromise of the system. False positives might occur since legitimate processes or commands can sometimes result in long command lines. Next steps include conducting extensive triage and investigation to differentiate between legitimate and malicious activities. Review the source of the command line and the command itself during the triage. Additionally, capture and inspect any relevant on-disk artifacts and review concurrent processes to identify the source of the attack.

  • Type: Anomaly
  • Product: Splunk Enterprise, Splunk Enterprise Security, Splunk Cloud
  • Datamodel: Endpoint
  • Last Updated: 2020-12-08
  • Author: David Dorsey, Splunk
  • ID: c77162d3-f93c-45cc-80c8-22f6a4264e7f


Kill Chain Phase
  • DE.AE
  • CIS 10
| tstats `security_content_summariesonly` count min(_time) as firstTime max(_time) as lastTime FROM datamodel=Endpoint.Processes by Processes.user Processes.dest Processes.process_name Processes.process 
| `drop_dm_object_name("Processes")` 
| `security_content_ctime(firstTime)`
| `security_content_ctime(lastTime)`
|  eval processlen=len(process) 
| eventstats stdev(processlen) as stdev, avg(processlen) as avg by dest 
| stats max(processlen) as maxlen, values(stdev) as stdevperhost, values(avg) as avgperhost by dest, user, process_name, process 
| `unusually_long_command_line_filter` 
|eval threshold = 3 
| where maxlen > ((threshold*stdevperhost) + avgperhost)


The SPL above uses the following Macros:

:information_source: unusually_long_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.user
  • Processes.dest
  • Processes.process_name
  • Processes.process

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

Some legitimate applications start with long command lines.

Associated Analytic Story


Risk Score Impact Confidence Message
42.0 70 60 Unusually long command line $process_name$ 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 replay.py tool or the UI. Alternatively you can replay a dataset into a Splunk Attack Range

source | version: 5