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The following analytic identifies excessive usage of taskkill.exe, a command-line utility used to terminate processes. The detection leverages data from Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) agents, focusing on instances where taskkill.exe is executed ten or more times within a one-minute span. This behavior is significant as adversaries often use taskkill.exe to disable security tools or other critical processes to evade detection. If confirmed malicious, this activity could allow attackers to bypass security defenses, maintain persistence, and further compromise the system.

  • Type: Anomaly
  • Product: Splunk Enterprise, Splunk Enterprise Security, Splunk Cloud
  • Datamodel: Endpoint
  • Last Updated: 2024-05-23
  • Author: Teoderick Contreras, Splunk
  • ID: fe5bca48-accb-11eb-a67c-acde48001122




ID Technique Tactic
T1562.001 Disable or Modify Tools Defense Evasion
T1562 Impair Defenses Defense Evasion
Kill Chain Phase
  • Exploitation
  • DE.AE
  • CIS 10
| tstats `security_content_summariesonly` values(Processes.process) as process values(Processes.process_id) as process_id count min(_time) as firstTime max(_time) as lastTime from datamodel=Endpoint.Processes where Processes.process_name = "taskkill.exe"  by Processes.parent_process_name Processes.process_name Processes.dest Processes.user _time span=1m 
| where count >=10 
| `drop_dm_object_name(Processes)` 
| `security_content_ctime(firstTime)` 
| `security_content_ctime(lastTime)` 
| `excessive_usage_of_taskkill_filter`


The SPL above uses the following Macros:

:information_source: excessive_usage_of_taskkill_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.parent_process_name
  • Processes.process_name
  • Processes.dest
  • Processes.user
  • Processes.process
  • Processes.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

Unknown. Filter as needed.

Associated Analytic Story


Risk Score Impact Confidence Message
28.0 40 70 Excessive usage of taskkill.exe with process id $process_id$ (more than 10 within 1m) has been detected on $dest$ with a parent process of $parent_process_name$.

: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

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