Identifies an unexpected executable file being created or modified by a Windows system critical process, which may indicate activity related to remote code execution or other forms of exploitation.
Rule type: eql
Risk score: 73
Runs every: 5m
Maximum alerts per execution: 100
- Threat Detection
- Defense Evasion
Rule license: Elastic License v2
## Triage and analysis ### Investigating Unusual Executable File Creation by a System Critical Process Windows internal/system processes have some characteristics that can be used to spot suspicious activities. One of these characteristics is file operations. This rule looks for the creation of executable files done by system-critical processes. This can indicate the exploitation of a vulnerability or a malicious process masquerading as a system-critical process. #### Possible investigation steps - Investigate the process execution chain (parent process tree) for unknown processes. Examine their executable files for prevalence, whether they are located in expected locations, and if they are signed with valid digital signatures. - Investigate other alerts associated with the user/host during the past 48 hours. - Investigate any abnormal behavior by the subject process such as network connections, registry or file modifications, and any spawned child processes. - Retrieve the process executable and determine if it is malicious: - Use a private sandboxed malware analysis system to perform analysis. - Observe and collect information about the following activities: - Attempts to contact external domains and addresses. - File and registry access, modification, and creation activities. - Service creation and launch activities. - Scheduled task creation. - Use the PowerShell Get-FileHash cmdlet to get the files' SHA-256 hash values. - Search for the existence and reputation of the hashes in resources like VirusTotal, Hybrid-Analysis, CISCO Talos, Any.run, etc. ### False positive analysis - This activity is unlikely to happen legitimately. Benign true positives (B-TPs) can be added as exceptions if necessary. ### Response and remediation - Initiate the incident response process based on the outcome of the triage. - Isolate the involved host to prevent further post-compromise behavior. - If the triage identified malware, search the environment for additional compromised hosts. - Implement temporary network rules, procedures, and segmentation to contain the malware. - Stop suspicious processes. - Immediately block the identified indicators of compromise (IoCs). - Inspect the affected systems for additional malware backdoors like reverse shells, reverse proxies, or droppers that attackers could use to reinfect the system. - Remove and block malicious artifacts identified during triage. - Run a full antimalware scan. This may reveal additional artifacts left in the system, persistence mechanisms, and malware components. - Determine the initial vector abused by the attacker and take action to prevent reinfection through the same vector. - Using the incident response data, update logging and audit policies to improve the mean time to detect (MTTD) and the mean time to respond (MTTR).
file where event.type != "deletion" and file.extension : ("exe", "dll") and process.name : ("smss.exe", "autochk.exe", "csrss.exe", "wininit.exe", "services.exe", "lsass.exe", "winlogon.exe", "userinit.exe", "LogonUI.exe")
Framework: MITRE ATT&CKTM