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The following analytic identifies wmiprvse.exe spawning mshta.exe. This behavior is indicative of a DCOM object being utilized to spawn mshta from wmiprvse.exe or svchost.exe. In this instance, adversaries may use LethalHTA that will spawn mshta.exe from svchost.exe.

  • Type: TTP
  • Product: Splunk Enterprise, Splunk Enterprise Security, Splunk Cloud
  • Datamodel: Endpoint
  • Last Updated: 2021-01-20
  • Author: Michael Haag, Splunk
  • ID: 4d33a488-5b5f-11eb-ae93-0242ac130002


ID Technique Tactic
T1218 Signed Binary Proxy Execution Defense Evasion
T1218.005 Mshta Defense Evasion

| tstats `security_content_summariesonly` count values(Processes.process_name) as process_name values(Processes.process) as process min(_time) as firstTime max(_time) as lastTime from datamodel=Endpoint.Processes where (Processes.parent_process_name=svchost.exe OR Processes.parent_process_name=wmiprvse.exe) AND `process_mshta` by Processes.dest Processes.parent_process Processes.user Processes.original_file_name
| `drop_dm_object_name(Processes)` 
| `security_content_ctime(firstTime)` 
| `security_content_ctime(lastTime)` 
| `suspicious_mshta_spawn_filter`

Associated Analytic Story

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.

Required field

  • _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

Kill Chain Phase

  • Exploitation

Known False Positives

Although unlikely, some legitimate applications may exhibit this behavior, triggering a false positive.


Risk Score Impact Confidence Message
42.0 70 60 mshta.exe spawned by wmiprvse.exe on $dest$


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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