Process Created with an Elevated Tokenedit

Identifies the creation of a process running as SYSTEM and impersonating a Windows core binary privileges. Adversaries may create a new process with a different token to escalate privileges and bypass access controls.

Rule type: eql

Rule indices:


Severity: high

Risk score: 73

Runs every: 5m

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

Maximum alerts per execution: 100



  • Domain: Endpoint
  • OS: Windows
  • Use Case: Threat Detection
  • Tactic: Privilege Escalation
  • Data Source: Elastic Defend

Version: 6

Rule authors:

  • Elastic

Rule license: Elastic License v2

Rule queryedit

/* This rule is only compatible with Elastic Endpoint 8.4+ */

process where host.os.type == "windows" and event.action == "start" and

 /* CreateProcessWithToken and effective parent is a privileged MS native binary used as a target for token theft */ : "S-1-5-18"  and

 /* Token Theft target process usually running as service are located in one of the following paths */
 process.Ext.effective_parent.executable :
                 "?:\\Program Files\\*.exe",
                 "?:\\Program Files (x86)\\*.exe",
                 "?:\\ProgramData\\*") and

/* Ignores Utility Manager in Windows running in debug mode */
 not (process.Ext.effective_parent.executable : "?:\\Windows\\System32\\Utilman.exe" and
      process.parent.executable : "?:\\Windows\\System32\\Utilman.exe" and process.parent.args : "/debug") and

/* Ignores Windows print spooler service with correlation to Access Intelligent Form */
not (process.parent.executable : "?\\Windows\\System32\\spoolsv.exe" and
     process.executable: "?:\\Program Files*\\Access\\Intelligent Form\\*\\LaunchCreate.exe") and

/* Ignores Windows error reporting executables */
 not process.executable : ("?:\\Windows\\System32\\WerFault.exe",
                           "?:\\Windows\\SoftwareDistribution\\Download\\Install\\securityhealthsetup.exe")  and

 /* Ignores Windows updates from TiWorker.exe that runs with elevated privileges */
 not (process.parent.executable : "?:\\Windows\\WinSxS\\*\\TiWorker.exe" and
      process.executable : ("?:\\Windows\\Microsoft.NET\\Framework*.exe",
                            "?:\\Windows\\Microsoft.NET\\Framework*\\*\\aspnet_regiis.exe")) and

/* Ignores additional parent executables that run with elevated privileges */
 not process.parent.executable :
                "?:\\Program Files (x86)\\*.exe",
                "?:\\Program Files\\*.exe",
                "?:\\Windows\\System32\\DriverStore\\*") and

/* Ignores Windows binaries with a trusted signature and specific signature name */
 not (process.code_signature.trusted == true and
      process.code_signature.subject_name :
                ("philandro Software GmbH",
                 "Freedom Scientific Inc.",
                 "TeamViewer Germany GmbH",
                 ", Inc.",
                 "TeamViewer GmbH",
                 "Cisco WebEx LLC",
                 "Dell Inc"))