Control Panel Process with Unusual Argumentsedit

Identifies unusual instances of Control Panel with suspicious keywords or paths in the process command line value. Adversaries may abuse control.exe to proxy execution of malicious code.

Rule type: eql

Rule indices:

  • winlogbeat-*
  • logs-windows.*

Severity: high

Risk score: 73

Runs every: 5 minutes

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

Maximum alerts per execution: 100



  • Elastic
  • Host
  • Windows
  • Threat Detection
  • Defense Evasion

Version: 3 (version history)

Added (Elastic Stack release): 7.16.0

Last modified (Elastic Stack release): 8.2.0

Rule authors: Elastic

Rule license: Elastic License v2

Investigation guideedit

## Config

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 8.2, so you will need to add a custom pipeline to populate `event.ingested` to @timestamp for this rule to work.

Rule queryedit

process where event.type in ("start", "process_started") and
process.executable : ("?:\\Windows\\SysWOW64\\control.exe",
"?:\\Windows\\System32\\control.exe") and process.command_line :
("*.jpg*", "*.png*", "*.gif*",
"*.bmp*", "*.jpeg*", "*.TIFF*",
"*.inf*", "*.dat*", "*.cpl:*/*",
"*../../..*", "*/AppData/Local/*",
"*:\\Users\\Public\\*", "*\\AppData\\Local\\*")

Threat mappingedit


Rule version historyedit

Version 3 (8.2.0 release)
  • Formatting only
Version 2 (8.0.0 release)
  • Formatting only