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This search is to detect a suspicious fsutil process to zeroing a target file. This technique was seen in lockbit ransomware where it tries to zero out its malware path as part of its defense evasion after encrypting the compromised host.

  • Type: TTP
  • Product: Splunk Behavioral Analytics
  • Datamodel: Endpoint_Processes
  • Last Updated: 2021-12-07
  • Author: Michael Haag, Splunk
  • ID: f792cdc9-43ee-4429-a3c0-ffce4fed1a85


ID Technique Tactic
T1070 Indicator Removal on Host Defense Evasion
| from read_ssa_enriched_events() 
| eval timestamp=parse_long(ucast(map_get(input_event, "_time"), "string", null)), cmd_line=lower(ucast(map_get(input_event, "process"), "string", null)), process_name=lower(ucast(map_get(input_event, "process_name"), "string", null)), process_path=ucast(map_get(input_event, "process_path"), "string", null), parent_process_name=ucast(map_get(input_event, "parent_process_name"), "string", null), event_id=ucast(map_get(input_event, "event_id"), "string", null) 
| where cmd_line IS NOT NULL AND process_name IS NOT NULL AND process_name="fsutil.exe" AND (like (cmd_line, "%setzerodata%")) 
| eval start_time=timestamp, end_time=timestamp, entities=mvappend(ucast(map_get(input_event, "dest_user_id"), "string", null), ucast(map_get(input_event, "dest_device_id"), "string", null)), body=create_map(["event_id", event_id, "cmd_line", cmd_line, "process_name", process_name, "parent_process_name", parent_process_name, "process_path", process_path]) 
| into write_ssa_detected_events();


The SPL above uses the following Macros:

Note that fsutil_zeroing_file_filter is a empty macro by default. It allows the user to filter out any results (false positives) without editing the SPL.

Required field

  • _time
  • dest_device_id
  • process_name
  • parent_process_name
  • process_path
  • dest_user_id
  • process
  • cmd_line

How To Implement

To successfully implement this search, you need to be ingesting logs with the process name, parent process, and command-line executions from your endpoints. If you are using Sysmon, you must have at least version 6.0.4 of the Sysmon TA. Tune and filter known instances where renamed net.exe may be used.

Known False Positives

System administrators or scripts may delete user accounts via this technique. Filter as needed.

Associated Analytic story

Kill Chain Phase

  • Exploitation


Risk Score Impact Confidence Message
54.0 60 90 An instance of $parent_process_name$ spawning $process_name$ was identified on endpoint $dest_device_id$ by user $dest_user_id$ atempting to perform file deletion.

Note that risk score is calculated base on the following formula: (Impact * Confidence)/100


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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