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The following analytic detects unusual Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) traffic on TCP/3389, the default RDP port. It identifies this activity by filtering out traffic from known RDP sources and destinations, focusing on atypical RDP connections within the network. This detection is crucial for a Security Operations Center (SOC) as unauthorized RDP access can indicate an attacker's attempt to gain control over networked systems, potentially leading to data theft, ransomware deployment, or further network compromise. The impact of such unauthorized access can be significant, ranging from data breaches to complete system and network control loss.

  • Type: Anomaly
  • Product: Splunk Enterprise, Splunk Enterprise Security, Splunk Cloud
  • Datamodel: Network_Traffic
  • Last Updated: 2024-02-27
  • Author: David Dorsey, Splunk
  • ID: 272b8407-842d-4b3d-bead-a704584003d3




ID Technique Tactic
T1021.001 Remote Desktop Protocol Lateral Movement
T1021 Remote Services Lateral Movement
Kill Chain Phase
  • Exploitation
  • DE.AE
  • CIS 13
| tstats `security_content_summariesonly` count min(_time) as firstTime max(_time) as lastTime from datamodel=Network_Traffic where All_Traffic.dest_port=3389 AND All_Traffic.dest_category!=common_rdp_destination AND All_Traffic.src_category!=common_rdp_source AND All_Traffic.action="allowed" by All_Traffic.src All_Traffic.dest All_Traffic.dest_port 
| `drop_dm_object_name("All_Traffic")` 
| `security_content_ctime(firstTime)`
| `security_content_ctime(lastTime)` 
| `remote_desktop_network_traffic_filter` 


The SPL above uses the following Macros:

:information_source: remote_desktop_network_traffic_filter is a empty macro by default. It allows the user to filter out any results (false positives) without editing the SPL.

Required fields

List of fields required to use this analytic.

  • _time
  • All_Traffic.dest_port
  • All_Traffic.dest_category
  • All_Traffic.src_category
  • All_Traffic.src
  • All_Traffic.dest
  • All_Traffic.dest_port

How To Implement

To successfully implement this search you need to identify systems that commonly originate remote desktop traffic and that commonly receive remote desktop traffic. You can use the included support search "Identify Systems Creating Remote Desktop Traffic" to identify systems that originate the traffic and the search "Identify Systems Receiving Remote Desktop Traffic" to identify systems that receive a lot of remote desktop traffic. After identifying these systems, you will need to add the "common_rdp_source" or "common_rdp_destination" category to that system depending on the usage, 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.

Known False Positives

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

Associated Analytic Story


Risk Score Impact Confidence Message
25.0 50 50 tbd

: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

source | version: 4