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The following analytic identifies "dsquery.exe" execution with arguments looking for TrustedDomain query directly on the command-line. This is typically indicative of an Administrator or adversary perform domain trust discovery. Note that this query does not identify any other variations of "Dsquery.exe" usage.
Within this detection, it is assumed dsquery.exe is not moved or renamed.
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 "dsquery.exe" and its parent process.
DSQuery.exe is natively found in C:\Windows\system32 and C:\Windows\syswow64 and only on Server operating system.
The following DLL(s) are loaded when DSQuery.exe is launched dsquery.dll. If found loaded by another process, it is possible dsquery is running within that process context in memory.
In addition to trust discovery, review parallel processes for additional behaviors performed. Identify the parent process and capture any files (batch files, for example) being used.

  • Type: TTP
  • Product: Splunk Enterprise, Splunk Enterprise Security, Splunk Cloud
  • Datamodel: Endpoint
  • Last Updated: 2021-03-31
  • Author: Michael Haag, Splunk
  • ID: cc316032-924a-11eb-91a2-acde48001122




ID Technique Tactic
T1482 Domain Trust Discovery Discovery
Kill Chain Phase
  • Exploitation
  • 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=dsquery.exe Processes.process=*trustedDomain* by Processes.dest Processes.user Processes.parent_process_name Processes.parent_process 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)` 
| `dsquery_domain_discovery_filter`


The SPL above uses the following Macros:

:information_source: dsquery_domain_discovery_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.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

Limited false positives. If there is a true false positive, filter based on command-line or parent process.

Associated Analytic Story


Risk Score Impact Confidence Message
72.0 80 90 An instance of $parent_process_name$ spawning $process_name$ was identified performing domain discovery on endpoint $dest$ by user $user$.

: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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