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Description

The following analytic identifies gpupdate.exe with no command line arguments. It is unusual for gpupdate.exe to execute with no command line arguments present. This particular behavior is common with malicious software, including Cobalt Strike. During investigation, identify any network connections and parallel processes. Identify any suspicious module loads related to credential dumping or file writes. gpupdate.exe is natively found in C:\Windows\system32 and C:\Windows\syswow64.

  • Type: TTP
  • Product: Splunk Enterprise, Splunk Enterprise Security, Splunk Cloud
  • Datamodel: Endpoint
  • Last Updated: 2021-09-20
  • Author: Michael Haag, Splunk
  • ID: f308490a-473a-40ef-ae64-dd7a6eba284a

ATT&CK

ID Technique Tactic
T1055 Process Injection Defense Evasion, Privilege Escalation

| tstats `security_content_summariesonly` count FROM datamodel=Endpoint.Processes where `process_gpupdate` by _time span=1h  Processes.process_id Processes.process_name Processes.dest Processes.process_path Processes.process Processes.parent_process_name 
| `drop_dm_object_name(Processes)` 
| `security_content_ctime(firstTime)` 
| `security_content_ctime(lastTime)` 
| regex process="(gpupdate\.exe.{0,4}$)"  
| `suspicious_gpupdate_no_command_line_arguments_filter`

Associated Analytic Story

How To Implement

To successfully implement this search, you need to be ingesting logs with the process name, parent process, and command-line executions from your endpoints. If you are using Sysmon, you must have at least version 6.0.4 of the Sysmon TA.

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

Limited false positives may be present in small environments. Tuning may be required based on parent process.

RBA

Risk Score Impact Confidence Message
49.0 70 70 Suspicious gpupdate.exe process with no command line arguments executed on $dest$ by $user$

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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