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Description

Detect usage of plutil to modify plist files. Adversaries can modiy plist files to executed binaries or add command line arguments. Plist files in auto-run locations are executed upon user logon or system startup.

  • Type: TTP
  • Product: Splunk Enterprise, Splunk Enterprise Security, Splunk Cloud
  • Datamodel: Endpoint
  • Last Updated: 2022-03-29
  • Author: Patrick Bareiss, Splunk
  • ID: c11f2b57-92c1-4cd2-b46c-064eafb833ac

Annotations

ATT&CK
ID Technique Tactic
T1547.011 Plist Modification Persistence, Privilege Escalation
Kill Chain Phase
  • Actions on Objectives
NIST
  • DE.CM
CIS20
  • CIS 3
  • CIS 5
  • CIS 16
CVE
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
`osquery` name=es_process_events columns.path=/usr/bin/plutil 
| rename columns.* as * 
| stats count  min(_time) as firstTime max(_time) as lastTime by username host cmdline pid path parent signing_id 
| rename username as User, cmdline as process, path as process_path 
| `security_content_ctime(firstTime)`
| `security_content_ctime(lastTime)` 
| `macos_plutil_filter`

Macros

The SPL above uses the following Macros:

Note that macos_plutil_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
  • columns.cmdline
  • columns.pid
  • columns.parent
  • columns.path
  • columns.signing_id
  • columns.username
  • host

How To Implement

This detection uses osquery and endpoint security on MacOS. Follow the link in references, which describes how to setup process auditing in MacOS with endpoint security and osquery.

Known False Positives

Administrators using plutil to change plist files.

Associated Analytic story

RBA

Risk Score Impact Confidence Message
25.0 50 50 plutil are executed on $host$ from $user$

Reference

Test Dataset

Replay any dataset to Splunk Enterprise by using our replay.py tool or the UI. Alternatively you can replay a dataset into a Splunk Attack Range

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