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Certutil.exe may download a file from a remote destination using -VerifyCtl. This behavior does require a URL to be passed on the command-line. In addition, -f (force) and -split (Split embedded ASN.1 elements, and save to files) will be used. It is not entirely common for certutil.exe to contact public IP space. \ During triage, capture any files on disk and review. Review the reputation of the remote IP or domain in question. Using -VerifyCtl, the file will either be written to the current working directory or %APPDATA%\..\LocalLow\Microsoft\CryptnetUrlCache\Content\<hash>.

  • Type: TTP
  • Product: Splunk Enterprise, Splunk Enterprise Security, Splunk Cloud
  • Datamodel: Endpoint
  • Last Updated: 2021-03-23
  • Author: Michael Haag, Splunk
  • ID: 801ad9e4-8bfb-11eb-8b31-acde48001122


ID Technique Tactic
T1105 Ingress Tool Transfer Command And Control

| tstats `security_content_summariesonly` count min(_time) as firstTime max(_time) as lastTime from datamodel=Endpoint.Processes where `process_certutil` Processes.process=*verifyctl* Processes.process=*split* by Processes.dest Processes.user Processes.original_file_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)` 
| `certutil_download_with_verifyctl_and_split_arguments_filter`

Associated Analytic Story

How To Implement

To successfully implement this search you need to be ingesting information on process that include the name of the process responsible for the changes from your endpoints into the Endpoint datamodel in the Processes node. In addition, confirm the latest CIM App 4.20 or higher is installed and the latest TA for the endpoint product.

Required field

  • _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

Kill Chain Phase

  • Exploitation

Known False Positives

Limited false positives in most environments, however tune as needed based on parent-child relationship or network connection.


Risk Score Impact Confidence Message
90.0 90 100 An instance of $parent_process_name$ spawning $process_name$ was identified on endpoint $dest$ by user $user$ attempting to download a file.


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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