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The following analytic identifies a suspicious cron jobs modification using crontab list parameters. This command line parameter can be abused by malware like industroyer2, adversaries, and red teamers to add a crontab entry to their malicious code to execute to the schedule they want. This event can also be executed by administrator or normal user for automation purposes so filter is needed.

  • Type: Hunting
  • Product: Splunk Enterprise, Splunk Enterprise Security, Splunk Cloud
  • Datamodel: Endpoint
  • Last Updated: 2022-04-22
  • Author: Teoderick Contreras, Splunk
  • ID: 52f6d751-1fd4-4c74-a4c9-777ecfeb5c58


ID Technique Tactic
T1053.003 Cron Execution, Persistence, Privilege Escalation
T1053 Scheduled Task/Job Execution, Persistence, Privilege Escalation
Kill Chain Phase
  • Exploitation
  • DE.CM
  • CIS 3
  • CIS 5
  • CIS 16
| tstats `security_content_summariesonly` count min(_time) as firstTime max(_time) as lastTime from datamodel=Endpoint.Processes where Processes.process_name = "crontab" Processes.process= "* -l*" by  Processes.parent_process_name Processes.process_name Processes.process Processes.process_id Processes.parent_process_id Processes.dest Processes.user 
| `drop_dm_object_name(Processes)` 
| `security_content_ctime(firstTime)` 
| `security_content_ctime(lastTime)` 
| `linux_adding_crontab_using_list_parameter_filter`


The SPL above uses the following Macros:

:information_source: linux_adding_crontab_using_list_parameter_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
  • Processes.dest
  • Processes.user
  • Processes.parent_process_name
  • Processes.process_name
  • Processes.process
  • Processes.process_id
  • Processes.parent_process_id

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 can use the Add-on for Linux Sysmon from Splunkbase.

Known False Positives

Administrator or network operator can use this application for automation purposes. Please update the filter macros to remove false positives.

Associated Analytic story


Risk Score Impact Confidence Message
25.0 50 50 A possible crontab list command $process$ executed on $dest$

: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

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