Unusual Service Host Child Process - Childless Serviceedit

Identifies unusual child processes of Service Host (svchost.exe) that traditionally do not spawn any child processes. This may indicate a code injection or an equivalent form of exploitation.

Rule type: eql

Rule indices:

  • logs-endpoint.events.*
  • 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
  • Defense Evasion
  • Privilege Escalation

Version: 4

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
     process.parent.name : "svchost.exe" and

     /* based on svchost service arguments -s svcname where the service is known to be childless */

    process.parent.args : ("WdiSystemHost","LicenseManager",
      "AppHostSvc","fhsvc","CscService","PushToInstall") and

      /* unknown FPs can be added here */

     not process.name : ("WerFault.exe","WerFaultSecure.exe","wermgr.exe")