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The following analytic identifies a process command line that retrieves information related to private keys files. This technique was seen in several post exploitation tools like winpeas that are being used by Ransomware Prestige to search for private key certificates on the compromised host for insecurely stored credentials. This files can be used by adversaries to gain privileges, persistence or remote service authentication to collect more sensitive information. Some private keys required password for operation, so in this case adversaries may need to have that passphrase either via keylogging or brute force attack.

  • Type: Anomaly
  • Product: Splunk Enterprise, Splunk Enterprise Security, Splunk Cloud
  • Datamodel: Endpoint
  • Last Updated: 2022-11-30
  • Author: Teoderick Contreras, Splunk
  • ID: 5c1c2877-06c0-40ee-a1a2-db71f1372b5b




ID Technique Tactic
T1552.004 Private Keys Credential Access
T1552 Unsecured Credentials Credential Access
Kill Chain Phase
  • Exploitation
  • DE.AE
  • CIS 10
| tstats `security_content_summariesonly` count min(_time) as firstTime max(_time) as lastTime from datamodel=Endpoint.Processes where Processes.process = "*dir *" OR  Processes.process = "*findstr*" AND Processes.process IN ( "*.rdg*", "*.gpg*", "*.pgp*", "*.p12*", "*.der*", "*.csr*", "*.cer*", "*.ovpn*", "*.key*",  "*.ppk*", "*.p12*", "*.pem*", "*.pfx*", "*.p7b*", "*.asc*") by Processes.process_name Processes.original_file_name Processes.process Processes.process_id Processes.process_guid Processes.parent_process_name Processes.parent_process Processes.parent_process_guid Processes.dest Processes.user 
| `drop_dm_object_name(Processes)` 
| `security_content_ctime(firstTime)` 
| `security_content_ctime(lastTime)` 
| `windows_private_keys_discovery_filter`


The SPL above uses the following Macros:

:information_source: windows_private_keys_discovery_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
  • 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
  • Processes.parent_process_guid
  • Processes.process_guid

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


Associated Analytic Story


Risk Score Impact Confidence Message
25.0 50 50 a process with commandline $process$ that can retrieve information related to private keys in $dest$

: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

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