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This search looks for the remote desktop process mstsc.exe running on systems upon which it doesn't typically run. This is accomplished by filtering out all systems that are noted in the common_rdp_source category in the Assets and Identity framework.

  • Type: Hunting
  • Product: Splunk Enterprise, Splunk Enterprise Security, Splunk Cloud
  • Datamodel: Endpoint
  • Last Updated: 2020-07-21
  • Author: David Dorsey, Splunk
  • ID: f5939373-8054-40ad-8c64-cec478a22a4a


ID Technique Tactic
T1021.001 Remote Desktop Protocol Lateral Movement
T1021 Remote Services Lateral Movement

| tstats `security_content_summariesonly` count min(_time) as firstTime max(_time) as lastTime from datamodel=Endpoint.Processes where Processes.process=*mstsc.exe AND Processes.dest_category!=common_rdp_source by Processes.dest Processes.user Processes.process 
| `security_content_ctime(firstTime)`
| `security_content_ctime(lastTime)` 
| `drop_dm_object_name(Processes)` 
| `remote_desktop_process_running_on_system_filter` 

Associated Analytic Story

How To Implement

To successfully implement this search, you must be ingesting data that records process activity from your hosts to populate the endpoint data model in the processes node. The search requires you to identify systems that do not commonly use remote desktop. You can use the included support search "Identify Systems Using Remote Desktop" to identify these systems. After identifying them, you will need to add the "common_rdp_source" category to that system using the Enterprise Security Assets and Identities framework. This can be done by adding an entry in the assets.csv file located in SA-IdentityManagement/lookups.

Required field

  • _time
  • Processes.process
  • Processes.dest_category
  • Processes.dest
  • Processes.user

Kill Chain Phase

  • Actions on Objectives

Known False Positives

Remote Desktop may be used legitimately by users on the network.


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

source | version: 5