Service Control Spawned via Script Interpreteredit

Identifies Service Control (sc.exe) spawning from script interpreter processes to create, modify, or start services. This could be indicative of adversary lateral movement but will be noisy if commonly done by admins.

Rule type: eql

Rule indices:

  • logs-system.*
  • winlogbeat-*

Severity: low

Risk score: 21

Runs every: 5m

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

Maximum alerts per execution: 100

References: None


  • Elastic
  • Host
  • Windows
  • Threat Detection
  • Lateral Movement

Version: 11

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

/* This rule is not compatible with Sysmon due to issues */

process where event.type == "start" and
  ( : "sc.exe" or == "sc.exe") and : ("cmd.exe", "wscript.exe", "rundll32.exe", "regsvr32.exe",
                         "wmic.exe", "mshta.exe","powershell.exe", "pwsh.exe") and
  process.args:("config", "create", "start", "delete", "stop", "pause") and
  /* exclude SYSTEM SID - look for service creations by non-SYSTEM user */
  not : "S-1-5-18"