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Description

The following analytic identifies child processes spawning from "mshta.exe". The search will return the first time and last time these command-line arguments were used for these executions, as well as the target system, the user, parent process "mshta.exe" and its child process.

  • Type: TTP
  • Product: Splunk Enterprise, Splunk Enterprise Security, Splunk Cloud
  • Datamodel: Endpoint
  • Last Updated: 2021-01-12
  • Author: Michael Haag, Splunk
  • ID: 60023bb6-5500-11eb-ae93-0242ac130002

Annotations

ATT&CK

ATT&CK

ID Technique Tactic
T1218 System Binary Proxy Execution Defense Evasion
T1218.005 Mshta Defense Evasion
Kill Chain Phase
  • Exploitation
NIST
  • PR.PT
  • DE.CM
CIS20
  • CIS 8
CVE
1
2
3
4
5
6
| 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=mshta.exe AND (Processes.process_name=powershell.exe OR Processes.process_name=colorcpl.exe OR Processes.process_name=msbuild.exe OR Processes.process_name=microsoft.workflow.compiler.exe OR Processes.process_name=searchprotocolhost.exe OR Processes.process_name=scrcons.exe OR Processes.process_name=cscript.exe OR Processes.process_name=wscript.exe OR Processes.process_name=powershell.exe OR Processes.process_name=cmd.exe) by Processes.dest Processes.parent_process Processes.user 
| `drop_dm_object_name(Processes)` 
| `security_content_ctime(firstTime)` 
| `security_content_ctime(lastTime)` 
| `suspicious_mshta_child_process_filter`

Macros

The SPL above uses the following Macros:

:information_source: suspicious_mshta_child_process_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.process_name
  • Processes.process
  • Processes.parent_process_name
  • Processes.dest
  • Processes.parent_process
  • Processes.user

How To Implement

To successfully implement this search, you need to be ingesting logs with the process name, parent process, and command-line executions from your endpoints. If you are using Sysmon, you must have at least version 6.0.4 of the Sysmon TA.

Known False Positives

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

Associated Analytic Story

RBA

Risk Score Impact Confidence Message
40.0 50 80 suspicious mshta child process detected on host $dest$ by user $user$.

: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.

Reference

Test Dataset

Replay any dataset to Splunk Enterprise by using our replay.py tool or the UI. Alternatively you can replay a dataset into a Splunk Attack Range

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