Web Shell Detection: Script Process Child of Common Web Processesedit

Identifies suspicious commands executed via a web server, which may suggest a vulnerability and remote shell access.

Rule type: eql

Rule indices:

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

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

References:

Tags:

  • Domain: Endpoint
  • OS: Windows
  • Use Case: Threat Detection
  • Tactic: Persistence
  • Tactic: Initial Access
  • Tactic: Execution
  • Resources: Investigation Guide
  • Data Source: Elastic Endgame
  • Data Source: Elastic Defend
  • Data Source: SentinelOne

Version: 313

Rule authors:

  • Elastic

Rule license: Elastic License v2

Investigation guideedit

Triage and analysis

Investigating Web Shell Detection: Script Process Child of Common Web Processes

Adversaries may backdoor web servers with web shells to establish persistent access to systems. A web shell is a web script that is placed on an openly accessible web server to allow an adversary to use the web server as a gateway into a network. A web shell may provide a set of functions to execute or a command-line interface on the system that hosts the web server.

This rule detects a web server process spawning script and command-line interface programs, potentially indicating attackers executing commands using the web shell.

Possible investigation steps

  • Investigate abnormal behaviors observed by the subject process such as network connections, registry or file modifications, and any other spawned child processes.
  • Examine the command line to determine which commands or scripts were executed.
  • Investigate other alerts associated with the user/host during the past 48 hours.
  • Assess whether this behavior is prevalent in the environment by looking for similar occurrences across hosts.
  • If scripts or executables were dropped, retrieve the files and determine if they are 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. Any activity that triggered the alert and is not inherently malicious must be monitored by the security team.

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.
  • Investigate credential exposure on systems compromised or used by the attacker to ensure all compromised accounts are identified. Reset passwords for these accounts and other potentially compromised credentials, such as email, business systems, and web services.
  • 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).

Setupedit

Setup

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 : ("w3wp.exe", "httpd.exe", "nginx.exe", "php.exe", "php-cgi.exe", "tomcat.exe") and
  process.name : ("cmd.exe", "cscript.exe", "powershell.exe", "pwsh.exe", "powershell_ise.exe", "wmic.exe", "wscript.exe") and
  not
  (
    process.parent.name : ("php.exe", "httpd.exe") and process.name : "cmd.exe" and
    process.command_line : (
      "cmd.exe /c mode CON",
      "cmd.exe /s /c \"mode CON\"",
      "cmd.exe /c \"mode\"",
      "cmd.exe /s /c \"tput colors 2>&1\""
    )
  )

Framework: MITRE ATT&CKTM