DNS Tunnelingedit

A machine learning job detected unusually large numbers of DNS queries for a single top-level DNS domain, which is often used for DNS tunneling. DNS tunneling can be used for command-and-control, persistence, or data exfiltration activity. For example, dnscat tends to generate many DNS questions for a top-level domain as it uses the DNS protocol to tunnel data.

Rule type: machine_learning

Machine learning job: packetbeat_dns_tunneling

Machine learning anomaly threshold: 50

Severity: low

Risk score: 21

Runs every: 15 minutes

Searches indices from: now-45m (Date Math format, see also Additional look-back time)

Maximum alerts per execution: 100



  • Elastic
  • Network
  • Threat Detection
  • ML

Version: 4 (version history)

Added (Elastic Stack release): 7.7.0

Last modified (Elastic Stack release): 7.12.0

Rule authors: Elastic

Rule license: Elastic License v2

Potential false positivesedit

DNS domains that use large numbers of child domains, such as software or content distribution networks, can trigger this alert and such parent domains can be excluded.

Rule version historyedit

Version 4 (7.12.0 release)
  • Formatting only
Version 3 (7.10.0 release)
  • Formatting only
Version 2 (7.9.0 release)
  • Formatting only