Lateral Movement via Startup Folderedit

Identifies suspicious file creations in the startup folder of a remote system. An adversary could abuse this to move laterally by dropping a malicious script or executable that will be executed after a reboot or user logon.

Rule type: eql

Rule indices:

  • winlogbeat-*
  • logs-windows.sysmon_operational-*
  • endgame-*

Severity: high

Risk score: 73

Runs every: 5m

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

Maximum alerts per execution: 100



  • Domain: Endpoint
  • OS: Windows
  • Use Case: Threat Detection
  • Tactic: Lateral Movement
  • Data Source: Elastic Endgame
  • Data Source: Elastic Defend
  • Data Source: Sysmon

Version: 108

Rule authors:

  • Elastic

Rule license: Elastic License v2



If enabling an EQL rule on a non-elastic-agent index (such as beats) for versions <8.2, events will not define event.ingested and default fallback for EQL rules was not added until version 8.2. Hence for this rule to work effectively, users will need to add a custom ingest pipeline to populate event.ingested to @timestamp. For more details on adding a custom ingest pipeline refer -

Rule queryedit

file where host.os.type == "windows" and event.type in ("creation", "change") and

 /* via RDP TSClient mounted share or SMB */
  ( : "mstsc.exe" or == 4) and

   file.path : ("?:\\Users\\*\\AppData\\Roaming\\Microsoft\\Windows\\Start Menu\\Programs\\Startup\\*",
                "?:\\ProgramData\\Microsoft\\Windows\\Start Menu\\Programs\\Startup\\*")