This detection targets behaviors observed in post exploit kits like Meterpreter and Koadic that are run in memory. We have observed that these tools must invoke an excessive number of taskhost.exe and taskhostex.exe processes to complete various actions (discovery, lateral movement, etc.). It is extremely uncommon in the course of normal operations to see so many distinct taskhost and taskhostex processes running concurrently in a short time frame.
- Type: Anomaly
- Product: Splunk Enterprise, Splunk Enterprise Security, Splunk Cloud
- Datamodel: Endpoint
- Last Updated: 2021-06-07
- Author: Michael Hart
- ID: f443dac2-c7cf-11eb-ab51-acde48001122
Kill Chain Phase
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 | tstats `security_content_summariesonly` values(Processes.process_id) as process_ids min(_time) as firstTime max(_time) as lastTime FROM datamodel=Endpoint.Processes WHERE Processes.process_name = "taskhost.exe" OR Processes.process_name = "taskhostex.exe" BY Processes.dest Processes.process_name _time span=1h | `drop_dm_object_name(Processes)` | eval pid_count=mvcount(process_ids) | eval taskhost_count_=if(process_name == "taskhost.exe", pid_count, 0) | eval taskhostex_count_=if(process_name == "taskhostex.exe", pid_count, 0) | stats sum(taskhost_count_) as taskhost_count, sum(taskhostex_count_) as taskhostex_count by _time, dest, firstTime, lastTime | where taskhost_count > 10 and taskhostex_count > 10 | `security_content_ctime(firstTime)` | `security_content_ctime(lastTime)` | `excessive_number_of_taskhost_processes_filter`
The SPL above uses the following Macros:
excessive_number_of_taskhost_processes_filter is a empty macro by default. It allows the user to filter out any results (false positives) without editing the SPL.
Supported Add-on (TA)
List of Splunk Add-on’s tested to work with the analytic.
List of fields required to use this analytic.
How To Implement
To successfully implement this search you need to be ingesting events related to processes on the endpoints that include the name of the process and process id into the
Endpoint datamodel in the
Known False Positives
Administrators, administrative actions or certain applications may run many instances of taskhost and taskhostex concurrently. Filter as needed.
Associated Analytic Story
|56.0||80||70||An excessive amount of $process_name$ was executed on $dest$ indicative of suspicious behavior.|
The Risk Score is calculated by the following formula: Risk Score = (Impact * Confidence/100). Initial Confidence and Impact is set by the analytic author.
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