Linux Restricted Shell Breakout via cpulimit Shell Evasionedit

Identifies Linux binary cpulimit abuse to break out from restricted environments by spawning an interactive system shell. The cpulimit utility is used to restrict the CPU usage of a process in cases of CPU or system load exceeding the defined threshold and the activity of spawning a shell is not a standard use of this binary by a user or system administrator. This can potentially indicate a malicious actor attempting to improve the capabilities or stability of their access.

Rule type: eql

Rule indices:


Severity: medium

Risk score: 47

Runs every: 5m

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

Maximum alerts per execution: 100



  • Elastic
  • Host
  • Linux
  • Threat Detection
  • Execution
  • GTFOBins

Version: 1

Rule authors:

  • Elastic

Rule license: Elastic License v2

Rule queryedit

process where event.type == "start" and in ("bash", "sh", "dash") and == "cpulimit" and process.parent.args == "-f" and
  process.parent.args in ("/bin/sh", "/bin/bash", "/bin/dash", "sh", "bash", "dash")