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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

| 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 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`

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.

Required field

  • _time
  • Processes.dest
  • Processes.user
  • Processes.parent_process_name
  • Processes.process_name
  • Processes.process
  • Processes.process_id
  • Processes.parent_process_id

Kill Chain Phase

  • Exploitation

Known False Positives

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


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 $user$.


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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