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Description

CertUtil.exe may be used to encode and 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 - encodehex and 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 Enterprise, Splunk Enterprise Security, Splunk Cloud
  • Datamodel: Endpoint
  • Last Updated: 2021-03-23
  • Author: Michael Haag, Splunk
  • ID: bfe94226-8c10-11eb-a4b3-acde48001122

ATT&CK

ID Technique Tactic
T1140 Deobfuscate/Decode Files or Information Defense Evasion

| tstats `security_content_summariesonly` count min(_time) as firstTime max(_time) as lastTime from datamodel=Endpoint.Processes where `process_certutil` Processes.process=*decode* by Processes.dest Processes.user Processes.parent_process Processes.process_name Processes.process Processes.process_id Processes.parent_process_id 
| `drop_dm_object_name(Processes)` 
| `security_content_ctime(firstTime)` 
| `security_content_ctime(lastTime)` 
| `certutil_with_decode_argument_filter`

Associated Analytic Story

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.

Required field

  • _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

Kill Chain Phase

  • Exploitation

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.

RBA

Risk Score Impact Confidence Message
40.0 50 80 An instance of $parent_process_name$ spawning $process_name$ was identified on endpoint $dest$ by user $user$ attempting to decode a file.

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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