Program Files Directory Masqueradingedit

Identifies execution from a directory masquerading as the Windows Program Files directories. These paths are trusted and usually host trusted third party programs. An adversary may leverage masquerading, along with low privileges to bypass detections whitelisting those folders.

Rule type: eql

Rule indices:

  • winlogbeat-*
  • logs-windows.*

Severity: medium

Risk score: 47

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
  • Defense Evasion

Version: 5 (version history)

Added (Elastic Stack release): 7.11.0

Last modified (Elastic Stack release): 7.16.0

Rule authors: Elastic

Rule license: Elastic License v2

Rule queryedit

process where event.type == "start" and process.executable :
"C:\\*Program*Files*\\*.exe" and not process.executable :
("C:\\Program Files\\*.exe", "C:\\Program Files (x86)\\*.exe",
"C:\\Users\\*.exe", "C:\\ProgramData\\*.exe")

Threat mappingedit


Rule version historyedit

Version 5 (7.16.0 release)
  • Formatting only
Version 4 (7.13.0 release)
  • Updated query, changed from:

    process where event.type in ("start", "process_started", "info") and
    /* capture both fake program files directory in process executable as
    well as if passed in process args as a dll*/ process.args :
    ("C:\\*Program*Files*\\*", "C:\\*Program*Files*\\*") and not
    process.args : ("C:\\Program Files\\*", "C:\\Program Files (x86)\\*")
Version 3 (7.12.0 release)
  • Formatting only
Version 2 (7.11.2 release)
  • Formatting only