Unusual Print Spooler Child Processedit

Detects unusual Print Spooler service (spoolsv.exe) child processes. This may indicate an attempt to exploit privilege escalation vulnerabilities related to the Printing Service on Windows.

Rule type: eql

Rule indices:

  • winlogbeat-*
  • logs-endpoint.events.process-*
  • logs-windows.*
  • logs-system.security*

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



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

Version: 108

Rule authors:

  • Elastic

Rule license: Elastic License v2



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 version 8.2. Hence for this rule to work effectively, users will need to add a custom ingest pipeline to populate event.ingested to @timestamp. For more details on adding a custom ingest pipeline refer - https://www.elastic.co/guide/en/fleet/current/data-streams-pipeline-tutorial.html

Rule queryedit

process where host.os.type == "windows" and event.type == "start" and
 process.parent.name : "spoolsv.exe" and process.command_line != null and
 (?process.Ext.token.integrity_level_name : "System" or ?winlog.event_data.IntegrityLevel : "System") and

 /* exclusions for FP control below */
 not process.name : ("splwow64.exe", "PDFCreator.exe", "acrodist.exe", "spoolsv.exe", "msiexec.exe", "route.exe", "WerFault.exe") and
 not process.command_line : "*\\WINDOWS\\system32\\spool\\DRIVERS*" and
 not (process.name : "net.exe" and process.command_line : ("*stop*", "*start*")) and
 not (process.name : ("cmd.exe", "powershell.exe") and process.command_line : ("*.spl*", "*\\program files*", "*route add*")) and
 not (process.name : "netsh.exe" and process.command_line : ("*add portopening*", "*rule name*")) and
 not (process.name : "regsvr32.exe" and process.command_line : "*PrintConfig.dll*") and
 not process.executable : (
    "?:\\Program Files (x86)\\CutePDF Writer\\CPWriter2.exe",
    "?:\\Program Files (x86)\\GPLGS\\gswin32c.exe"