ImageLoad via Windows Update Auto Update Clientedit

Identifies abuse of the Windows Update Auto Update Client (wuauclt.exe) to load an arbitrary DLL. This behavior is used as a defense evasion technique to blend in malicious activity with legitimate Windows software.

Rule type: eql

Rule indices:

  • winlogbeat-*
  • logs-windows.*

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
  • Windows
  • Threat Detection
  • Defense Evasion

Version: 6

Rule authors:

  • Elastic

Rule license: Elastic License v2

Investigation guideedit

## Config

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 8.2, so you will need to add a custom pipeline to populate `event.ingested` to @timestamp for this rule to work.

Rule queryedit

process where event.type in ("start", "process_started") and
  ( == "wuauclt.exe" or : "wuauclt.exe") and
   /* necessary windows update client args to load a dll */
   process.args : "/RunHandlerComServer" and process.args : "/UpdateDeploymentProvider" and
   /* common paths writeable by a standard user where the target DLL can be placed */
   process.args : ("C:\\Users\\*.dll", "C:\\ProgramData\\*.dll", "C:\\Windows\\Temp\\*.dll", "C:\\Windows\\Tasks\\*.dll")