CertUtil.exe may be used to
decode a file, including PE and script code. Encoding will convert a file to base64 with
-----BEGIN CERTIFICATE----- and
-----END CERTIFICATE----- tags. Malicious usage will include decoding a encoded file that was downloaded. Once decoded, it will be loaded by a parallel process. Note that there are two additional command switches that may be used -
decodehex. Similarly, the file will be encoded in HEX and later decoded for further execution. During triage, identify the source of the file being decoded. Review its contents or execution behavior for further analysis.
- Type: TTP
Product: Splunk Behavioral Analytics
- Last Updated: 2022-02-16
- Author: Michael Haag, Splunk
- ID: b06983f4-8f72-11ec-ab50-acde48001122
Kill Chain Phase
- CIS 10
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 $main = from source | eval timestamp = time | eval metadata_uid = metadata.uid | eval process_pid = process.pid | eval process_file = process.file | eval process_file_path = process_file.path | eval process_file_name = lower(process_file.name) | eval process_cmd_line = process.cmd_line | eval actor_user = actor.user | eval actor_user_name = actor_user.name | eval actor_process = actor.process | eval actor_process_pid = actor_process.pid | eval actor_process_file = actor_process.file | eval actor_process_file_path = actor_process_file.path | eval actor_process_file_name = actor_process_file.name | eval device_hostname = device.hostname | where process_cmd_line LIKE "%decode%" AND process_file_name="certutil.exe" --finding_report--
The SPL above uses the following Macros:
windows_certutil_decode_file_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
To successfully implement this search you need to be ingesting information on process that include the name of the process responsible for the changes from your endpoints into the
Endpoint datamodel in the
Processes node. In addition, confirm the latest CIM App 4.20 or higher is installed and the latest TA for the endpoint product.
Known False Positives
Typically seen used to
encode files, but it is possible to see legitimate use of
decode. Filter based on parent-child relationship, file paths, endpoint or user.
Associated Analytic Story
|40.0||50||80||An instance of $parent_process_name$ spawning $process_name$ was identified on endpoint $dest_device_id$ by user $dest_user_id$ attempting to decode a file on disk.|
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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