SSH Authorized Keys File Modificationedit

The Secure Shell (SSH) authorized_keys file specifies which users are allowed to log into a server using public key authentication. Adversaries may modify it to maintain persistence on a victim host by adding their own public key(s).

Rule type: new_terms

Rule indices:

  • auditbeat-*

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


  • Domain: Endpoint
  • OS: Linux
  • OS: macOS
  • Use Case: Threat Detection
  • Tactic: Lateral Movement
  • Tactic: Persistence
  • Data Source: Elastic Defend

Version: 206

Rule authors:

  • Elastic

Rule license: Elastic License v2

Rule queryedit

event.category:file and event.type:(change or creation) and"authorized_keys" or "authorized_keys2" or "/etc/ssh/sshd_config" or "/root/.ssh") and
 not process.executable:
             (/Library/Developer/CommandLineTools/usr/bin/git or
              /usr/local/Cellar/maven/*/libexec/bin/mvn or
              /Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/jdk*.jdk/Contents/Home/bin/java or
              /usr/bin/vim or
              /usr/local/Cellar/coreutils/*/bin/gcat or
              /usr/bin/bsdtar or
              /usr/bin/nautilus or
              /usr/bin/scp or
              /usr/bin/touch or
              /var/lib/docker/* or
              /usr/bin/google_guest_agent or
              /opt/jc/bin/jumpcloud-agent or
              /opt/puppetlabs/puppet/bin/puppet or