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DiskShadow.exe is a Microsoft Signed binary present on Windows Server. It has a scripting mode intended for complex scripted backup operations. This feature also allows for execution of arbitrary unsigned code. This analytic looks for the usage of the scripting mode flags in executions of DiskShadow. During triage, compare to known backup behavior in your environment and then review the scripts called by diskshadow.

  • Type: Anomaly
  • Product: Splunk Behavioral Analytics
  • Datamodel: Endpoint_Processes
  • Last Updated: 2022-02-17
  • Author: Lou Stella, Splunk
  • ID: aa502688-9037-11ec-842d-acde48001122


ID Technique Tactic
T1218 Signed Binary Proxy Execution Defense Evasion
| from read_ssa_enriched_events() 
| where "Endpoint_Processes" IN(_datamodels) 
| 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="diskshadow.exe" AND (like (cmd_line, "%-s%") OR like (cmd_line, "%/s%")) 
| 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)) 
| eval 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 windows_diskshadow_proxy_execution_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 information on processes that include the name of the process responsible for the changes from your endpoints into the Endpoint_Processess datamodel.

Known False Positives

Administrators using the DiskShadow tool in their infrastructure as a main backup tool with scripts will cause false positives

Associated Analytic story

Kill Chain Phase

  • Exploitation


Risk Score Impact Confidence Message
49.0 70 70 An instance of $parent_process_name$ spawning $process_name$ was identified on endpoint $dest_device_id$ by user $dest_user_id$ attempting to run a script.

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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