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This analytic detects a suspicious process making a DNS query via known, abused text-paste web services, VoIP, instant messaging, and digital distribution platforms used to download external files. This technique is abused by adversaries, malware actors, and red teams to download a malicious file on the target host. This is a good TTP indicator for possible initial access techniques. A user will experience false positives if the following instant messaging is allowed or common applications like telegram or discord are allowed in the corporate network.

  • Type: TTP
  • Product: Splunk Enterprise, Splunk Enterprise Security, Splunk Cloud
  • Datamodel: Endpoint
  • Last Updated: 2021-11-18
  • Author: Teoderick Contreras, Splunk
  • ID: 3cf0dc36-484d-11ec-a6bc-acde48001122


ID Technique Tactic
T1059.005 Visual Basic Execution
T1059 Command and Scripting Interpreter Execution
`sysmon` EventCode=22 QueryName IN ("*pastebin*", "*discord*", "*telegram*", "**") process_name IN ("cmd.exe", "*powershell*", "pwsh.exe", "wscript.exe", "cscript.exe") 
| stats count min(_time) as firstTime max(_time) as lastTime by Image QueryName QueryStatus process_name QueryResults Computer 
| `security_content_ctime(firstTime)` 
| `security_content_ctime(lastTime)` 
| `suspicious_process_dns_query_known_abuse_web_services_filter`

Associated Analytic Story

How To Implement

This detection relies on sysmon logs with the Event ID 22, DNS Query. We suggest you run this detection at least once a day over the last 14 days.

Required field

  • _time
  • Image
  • QueryName
  • QueryStatus
  • process_name
  • QueryResults
  • Computer

Kill Chain Phase

  • Exploitation

Known False Positives

Noise and false positive can be seen if the following instant messaging is allowed to use within corporate network. In this case, a filter is needed.


Risk Score Impact Confidence Message
64.0 80 80 suspicious process $process_name$ has a dns query in $QueryName$ on $Computer$


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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