Suspicious Explorer Child Processedit

Identifies a suspicious Windows explorer child process. Explorer.exe can be abused to launch malicious scripts or executables from a trusted parent process.

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

References: None


  • Elastic
  • Host
  • Windows
  • Threat Detection
  • Initial Access

Version: 5

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
  ( : ("cscript.exe", "wscript.exe", "powershell.exe", "rundll32.exe", "cmd.exe", "mshta.exe", "regsvr32.exe") or in ("cscript.exe", "wscript.exe", "PowerShell.EXE", "RUNDLL32.EXE", "Cmd.Exe", "MSHTA.EXE", "REGSVR32.EXE")
  ) and
  /* Explorer started via DCOM */ : "explorer.exe" and process.parent.args : "-Embedding" and
  not process.parent.args:
            /* Noisy CLSID_SeparateSingleProcessExplorerHost Explorer COM Class IDs   */