The following detection identifies Microsoft Excel spawning PowerShell. Typically, this is not common behavior and not default with Excel.exe. Excel.exe will generally be found in the following path
C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\root\Office16 (version will vary). PowerShell spawning from Excel.exe is common for a spearphishing attachment and is actively used. Albeit, the command executed will most likely be encoded and captured via another detection. During triage, review parallel processes and identify any files that may have been written.
- Type: TTP
- Product: Splunk Enterprise, Splunk Enterprise Security, Splunk Cloud
- Datamodel: Endpoint- Datasource: Splunk Add-on for Sysmon
- Last Updated: 2021-04-12
- Author: Michael Haag, Splunk
- ID: 42d40a22-9be3-11eb-8f08-acde48001122
Kill Chain Phase
1 2 3 4 5 6 | tstats `security_content_summariesonly` count values(Processes.process) min(_time) as firstTime max(_time) as lastTime from datamodel=Endpoint.Processes where Processes.parent_process_name="excel.exe" `process_powershell` by Processes.parent_process Processes.process_name Processes.user Processes.dest Processes.original_file_name | `drop_dm_object_name("Processes")` | `security_content_ctime(firstTime)` |`security_content_ctime(lastTime)` | `excel_spawning_powershell_filter`
The SPL above uses the following Macros:
Note that excel_spawning_powershell_filter is a empty macro by default. It allows the user to filter out any results (false positives) without editing the SPL.
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.
Known False Positives
False positives should be limited, but if any are present, filter as needed.
Associated Analytic story
|80.0||80||100||An instance of $parent_process_name$ spawning $process_name$ was identified on endpoint $dest$ by user $user$, indicating potential suspicious macro execution.|
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