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This analytic is developed to detect suspicious process commandline to change or set the default file association of a file without file extension with notepad.exe. This technique was seen in some APT and ransomware Prestige where it set/modify the default process to run file association, like .txt to notepad.exe.

  • Type: TTP
  • Product: Splunk Enterprise, Splunk Enterprise Security, Splunk Cloud
  • Datamodel: Endpoint
  • Last Updated: 2022-11-30
  • Author: Teoderick Contreras, Splunk
  • ID: dbdf52ad-d6a1-4b68-975f-0a10939d8e38




ID Technique Tactic
T1546.001 Change Default File Association Privilege Escalation, Persistence
T1546 Event Triggered Execution Privilege Escalation, Persistence
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 `process_reg` AND Processes.process="* add *" AND Processes.process="* HKCR\\*" AND Processes.process="*\\shell\\open\\command*" AND  Processes.process= *Notepad.exe* by  Processes.process_name Processes.original_file_name Processes.process Processes.process_id Processes.process_guid Processes.parent_process_name Processes.parent_process Processes.parent_process_guid Processes.dest Processes.user 
| `drop_dm_object_name(Processes)` 
| rex field=process "Notepad\.exe (?<file_name_association>.*$)" 
| rex field=file_name_association "\.(?<extension>[^\.]*$)" 
| where isnull(extension) and isnotnull(file_name_association) 
| `security_content_ctime(firstTime)` 
| `security_content_ctime(lastTime)` 
| `windows_change_default_file_association_for_no_file_ext_filter`


The SPL above uses the following Macros:

:information_source: windows_change_default_file_association_for_no_file_ext_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


Associated Analytic Story


Risk Score Impact Confidence Message
80.0 80 100 process with commandline $process$ set or change the file association of a file with no file extension in $dest$

: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

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