Try in Splunk Security Cloud


The following analytic identifies DLLHost.exe with no command line arguments. It is unusual for DLLHost.exe to execute with no command line arguments present. This particular behavior is common with malicious software, including Cobalt Strike. During investigation, identify any network connections and parallel processes. Identify any suspicious module loads related to credential dumping or file writes. DLLHost.exe is natively found in C:\Windows\system32 and C:\Windows\syswow64.

  • Type: TTP
  • Product: Splunk Enterprise, Splunk Enterprise Security, Splunk Cloud
  • Datamodel: Endpoint
  • Last Updated: 2022-03-15
  • Author: Michael Haag, Splunk
  • ID: ff61e98c-0337-4593-a78f-72a676c56f26




ID Technique Tactic
T1055 Process Injection Defense Evasion, Privilege Escalation
Kill Chain Phase
  • Exploitation
| tstats `security_content_summariesonly` count FROM datamodel=Endpoint.Processes where `process_dllhost` by _time span=1h  Processes.process_id Processes.process_name Processes.dest Processes.process_path Processes.process Processes.parent_process_name 
| `drop_dm_object_name(Processes)` 
| `security_content_ctime(firstTime)` 
| `security_content_ctime(lastTime)` 
| regex process="(?i)(dllhost\.exe.{0,4}$)" 
| `suspicious_dllhost_no_command_line_arguments_filter`


The SPL above uses the following Macros:

:information_source: suspicious_dllhost_no_command_line_arguments_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.

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

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

Limited false positives may be present in small environments. Tuning may be required based on parent process.

Associated Analytic Story


Risk Score Impact Confidence Message
49.0 70 70 Suspicious dllhost.exe process with no command line arguments executed on $dest$ by $user$

: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

source | version: 3