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The following analytic detects PowerShell processes initiated with parameters that bypass the local execution policy for scripts. It leverages data from Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) agents, focusing on command-line executions containing specific flags like "-ex" or "bypass." This activity is significant because bypassing execution policies is a common tactic used by attackers to run malicious scripts undetected. If confirmed malicious, this could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code, potentially leading to further system compromise, data exfiltration, or persistent access within the environment.

  • Type: TTP
  • Product: Splunk Enterprise, Splunk Enterprise Security, Splunk Cloud
  • Datamodel: Endpoint
  • Last Updated: 2024-05-13
  • Author: Rico Valdez, Mauricio Velazco, Splunk
  • ID: 9be56c82-b1cc-4318-87eb-d138afaaca39




ID Technique Tactic
T1059 Command and Scripting Interpreter Execution
T1059.001 PowerShell Execution
Kill Chain Phase
  • Installation
  • DE.CM
  • CIS 10
| tstats `security_content_summariesonly` values(Processes.process_id) as process_id, values(Processes.parent_process_id) as parent_process_id values(Processes.process) as process min(_time) as firstTime max(_time) as lastTime from datamodel=Endpoint.Processes where `process_powershell` (Processes.process="* -ex*" OR Processes.process="* bypass *") by Processes.process_id, Processes.user, Processes.dest 
| `drop_dm_object_name(Processes)` 
| `security_content_ctime(firstTime)` 
| `security_content_ctime(lastTime)` 
| `malicious_powershell_process___execution_policy_bypass_filter`


The SPL above uses the following Macros:

:information_source: malicious_powershell_process_-_execution_policy_bypass_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

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

There may be legitimate reasons to bypass the PowerShell execution policy. The PowerShell script being run with this parameter should be validated to ensure that it is legitimate.

Associated Analytic Story


Risk Score Impact Confidence Message
42.0 70 60 PowerShell local execution policy bypass attempt on $dest$

: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

source | version: 6