Command Shell Activity Started via RunDLL32edit

Identifies command shell activity started via RunDLL32, which is commonly abused by attackers to host malicious code.

Rule type: eql

Rule indices:

  • winlogbeat-*
  • logs-windows.*

Severity: low

Risk score: 21

Runs every: 5 minutes

Searches indices from: now-9m (Date Math format, see also Additional look-back time)

Maximum alerts per execution: 100


  • Elastic
  • Host
  • Windows
  • Threat Detection
  • Execution

Version: 4 (version history)

Added (Elastic Stack release): 7.11.0

Last modified (Elastic Stack release): 7.13.0

Rule authors: Elastic

Rule license: Elastic License v2

Potential false positivesedit

Microsoft Windows installers leveraging RunDLL32 for installation.

Rule queryedit

process where event.type == "start" and : ("cmd.exe",
"powershell.exe") and : "rundll32.exe" and
process.parent.command_line != null and /* common FPs can be added
here */ not process.parent.args :

Threat mappingedit


Rule version historyedit

Version 4 (7.13.0 release)
  • Updated query, changed from:

    process where event.type in ("start", "process_started") and : ("cmd.exe", "powershell.exe") and
    : "rundll32.exe" and /* common FPs can be added here */ not
    process.parent.args :
Version 3 (7.12.0 release)
  • Formatting only
Version 2 (7.11.2 release)
  • Formatting only