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The following analytic detects changes to the PowerShell ExecutionPolicy in the registry to "Unrestricted" or "Bypass." It leverages data from Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) agents, focusing on registry modifications under the path Software\Microsoft\Powershell\1\ShellIds\Microsoft.PowerShell. This activity is significant because setting the ExecutionPolicy to these values can allow the execution of potentially malicious scripts without restriction. If confirmed malicious, this could enable an attacker to execute arbitrary code, leading to further compromise of the system and potential escalation of privileges.

  • Type: TTP
  • Product: Splunk Enterprise, Splunk Enterprise Security, Splunk Cloud
  • Datamodel: Endpoint
  • Last Updated: 2024-05-12
  • Author: Steven Dick, Patrick Bareiss, Splunk
  • ID: c2590137-0b08-4985-9ec5-6ae23d92f63d




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` count min(_time) AS firstTime max(_time) AS lastTime FROM datamodel=Endpoint.Processes BY _time span=1h Processes.user Processes.process_id Processes.process_name Processes.process Processes.process_path Processes.dest Processes.parent_process_name Processes.parent_process Processes.process_guid 
| `drop_dm_object_name(Processes)` 
| join process_guid [ 
| tstats `security_content_summariesonly` count FROM datamodel=Endpoint.Registry WHERE (Registry.registry_path=*Software\\Microsoft\\Powershell\\1\\ShellIds\\Microsoft.PowerShell* Registry.registry_value_name=ExecutionPolicy (Registry.registry_value_data=Unrestricted OR Registry.registry_value_data=Bypass)) BY _time span=1h Registry.registry_path Registry.registry_key_name Registry.registry_value_name Registry.registry_value_data Registry.process_guid 
| `drop_dm_object_name(Registry)`] 
| fields firstTime lastTime dest user parent_process_name parent_process process_name process_path process registry_key_name registry_path registry_value_name registry_value_data process_guid 
| where isnotnull(registry_value_data) 
| `security_content_ctime(firstTime)` 
| `security_content_ctime(lastTime)` 
| `set_default_powershell_execution_policy_to_unrestricted_or_bypass_filter`


The SPL above uses the following Macros:

:information_source: set_default_powershell_execution_policy_to_unrestricted_or_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.user
  • Processes.dest
  • Processes.process_id
  • Processes.process_name
  • Processes.process
  • Processes.process_path
  • Processes.parent_process_name
  • Processes.parent_process
  • Processes.process_guid
  • Registry.dest
  • Registry.registry_value_name
  • Registry.registry_key_name
  • Registry.registry_path
  • Registry.registry_value_data
  • Registry.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

Administrators may attempt to change the default execution policy on a system for a variety of reasons. However, setting the policy to "unrestricted" or "bypass" as this search is designed to identify, would be unusual. Hits should be reviewed and investigated as appropriate.

Associated Analytic Story


Risk Score Impact Confidence Message
48.0 60 80 A registry modification in $registry_path$ with reg key $registry_key_name$ and reg value $registry_value_name$ in host $dest$

: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: 9