The following analytic identifies the Windows InstallUtil.exe binary making a remote network connection. This technique may be used to download and execute code while bypassing application control using the
/u (uninstall) switch.
InstallUtil uses the functions install and uninstall within the System.Configuration.Install namespace to process .net assembly. Install function requires admin privileges, however, uninstall function can be run as an unprivileged user.
InstallUtil.exe is used in a malicous manner, the path to an executable on the filesystem is typically specified. Take note of the parent process. In a suspicious instance, this will be spawned from a non-standard process like
If used by a developer, typically this will be found with multiple command-line switches/arguments and spawn from Visual Studio.
During triage review resulting network connections, file modifications, and parallel processes. Capture any artifacts and review further.
- Type: TTP
- Product: Splunk Enterprise, Splunk Enterprise Security, Splunk Cloud
- Datamodel: Endpoint, Network_Traffic
- Last Updated: 2022-03-16
- Author: Michael Haag, Splunk
- ID: 1a52c836-43ef-11ec-a36c-acde48001122
Kill Chain Phase
- CIS 10
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 | tstats `security_content_summariesonly` count FROM datamodel=Endpoint.Processes where `process_installutil` Processes.process IN ("*/u*", "*uninstall*") by _time span=1h Processes.user Processes.process_id Processes.process_name Processes.dest Processes.process_path Processes.process Processes.parent_process_name | `drop_dm_object_name(Processes)` | `security_content_ctime(firstTime)` | `security_content_ctime(lastTime)` | join process_id [ | tstats `security_content_summariesonly` count FROM datamodel=Network_Traffic.All_Traffic where All_Traffic.dest_port != 0 by All_Traffic.process_id All_Traffic.dest All_Traffic.dest_port | `drop_dm_object_name(All_Traffic)` | rename dest as C2 ] | table _time user dest parent_process_name process_name process_path process process_id dest_port C2 | `windows_installutil_uninstall_option_with_network_filter`
The SPL above uses the following Macros:
windows_installutil_uninstall_option_with_network_filter is a empty macro by default. It allows the user to filter out any results (false positives) without editing the SPL.
List of fields required to use this analytic.
How To Implement
The detection is based on data that originates from Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) agents. These agents are designed to provide security-related telemetry from the endpoints where the agent is installed. To implement this search, you must ingest logs that contain the process GUID, process name, and parent process. Additionally, you must ingest complete command-line executions. These logs must be processed using the appropriate Splunk Technology Add-ons that are specific to the EDR product. The logs must also be mapped to the
Processes node of the
Endpoint data model. Use the Splunk Common Information Model (CIM) to normalize the field names and speed up the data modeling process.
Known False Positives
Limited false positives should be present as InstallUtil is not typically used to download remote files. Filter as needed based on Developers requirements.
Associated Analytic Story
|80.0||80||100||An instance of $parent_process_name$ spawning $process_name$ was identified on endpoint $dest$ by user $user$ performing an uninstall.|
The Risk Score is calculated by the following formula: Risk Score = (Impact * Confidence/100). Initial Confidence and Impact is set by the analytic author.
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