Enumerating Domain Trusts via NLTEST.EXEedit

Identifies the use of nltest.exe for domain trust discovery purposes. Adversaries may use this command-line utility to enumerate domain trusts and gain insight into trust relationships, as well as the state of Domain Controller (DC) replication in a Microsoft Windows NT Domain.

Rule type: eql

Rule indices:

  • winlogbeat-*
  • logs-endpoint.events.*
  • logs-windows.*
  • endgame-*

Severity: low

Risk score: 21

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
  • Discovery
  • Elastic Endgame

Version: 102 (version history)

Added (Elastic Stack release): 8.4.0

Last modified (Elastic Stack release): 8.6.0

Rule authors: Elastic

Rule license: Elastic License v2

Potential false positivesedit

Domain administrators may use this command-line utility for legitimate information gathering purposes, but it is not common for environments with Windows Server 2012 and newer.

Investigation guideedit

Rule queryedit

process where event.type == "start" and process.name :
"nltest.exe" and process.args : ( "/DCLIST:*", "/DCNAME:*",

Threat mappingedit


Rule version historyedit

Version 102 (8.6.0 release)
  • Formatting only
Version 101 (8.5.0 release)
  • Updated query, changed from:

    process where event.type in ("start", "process_started") and
    process.name : "nltest.exe" and process.args : ( "/DCLIST:*",