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The following analytic detects the use of COM objects like CMLUA or CMSTPLUA to bypass User Account Control (UAC). It leverages Sysmon EventCode 7 to identify the loading of specific DLLs (CMLUA.dll, CMSTPLUA.dll, CMLUAUTIL.dll) by processes not typically associated with these libraries. This activity is significant as it indicates an attempt to gain elevated privileges, a common tactic used by ransomware adversaries. If confirmed malicious, this could allow attackers to execute code with administrative rights, leading to potential system compromise and further malicious activities.

  • Type: TTP
  • Product: Splunk Enterprise, Splunk Enterprise Security, Splunk Cloud

  • Last Updated: 2024-05-05
  • Author: Teoderick Contreras, Splunk
  • ID: f87b5062-b405-11eb-a889-acde48001122




ID Technique Tactic
T1218 System Binary Proxy Execution Defense Evasion
T1218.003 CMSTP Defense Evasion
Kill Chain Phase
  • Exploitation
  • DE.CM
  • CIS 10
`sysmon` EventCode=7  ImageLoaded IN ("*\\CMLUA.dll", "*\\CMSTPLUA.dll", "*\\CMLUAUTIL.dll") NOT(process_name IN("CMSTP.exe", "CMMGR32.exe")) NOT(Image IN("*\\windows\\*", "*\\program files*")) 
| stats count min(_time) as firstTime max(_time) as lastTime by dest Image ImageLoaded process_name EventCode Signed ProcessId 
| `security_content_ctime(firstTime)` 
| `security_content_ctime(lastTime)` 
| `cmlua_or_cmstplua_uac_bypass_filter`


The SPL above uses the following Macros:

:information_source: cmlua_or_cmstplua_uac_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
  • Image
  • ImageLoaded
  • process_name
  • dest
  • EventCode
  • Signed
  • ProcessId

How To Implement

To successfully implement this search, you need to be ingesting logs with the process name and imageloaded 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

Legitimate windows application that are not on the list loading this dll. Filter as needed.

Associated Analytic Story


Risk Score Impact Confidence Message
80.0 80 100 The following module $ImageLoaded$ was loaded by a non-standard application on endpoint $dest$

: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

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