Security Software Discovery via Grepedit

Identifies the use of the grep command to discover known third-party macOS and Linux security tools, such as Antivirus or Host Firewall details.

Rule type: eql

Rule indices:

  • auditbeat-*

Severity: medium

Risk score: 47

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
  • macOS
  • Linux
  • Threat Detection
  • Discovery

Version: 101 (version history)

Added (Elastic Stack release): 7.12.0

Last modified (Elastic Stack release): 8.5.0

Rule authors: Elastic

Rule license: Elastic License v2

Potential false positivesedit

Endpoint Security installers, updaters and post installation verification scripts.

Investigation guideedit

## Triage and analysis

### Investigating Security Software Discovery via Grep

After successfully compromising an environment, attackers may try to gain situational awareness to plan their next steps.
This can happen by running commands to enumerate network resources, users, connections, files, and installed security

This rule looks for the execution of the `grep` utility with arguments compatible to the enumeration of the security
software installed on the host. Attackers can use this information to decide whether or not to infect a system, disable
protections, use bypasses, etc.

#### Possible investigation steps

- Investigate the process execution chain (parent process tree) for unknown processes. Examine their executable files
for prevalence and whether they are located in expected locations.
- Investigate other alerts associated with the user/host during the past 48 hours.
- Investigate any abnormal account behavior, such as command executions, file creations or modifications, and network
- Investigate any abnormal behavior by the subject process such as network connections, file modifications, and any
spawned child processes.
- Inspect the host for suspicious or abnormal behavior in the alert timeframe.
- Validate the activity is not related to planned patches, updates, network administrator activity, or legitimate
software installations.

### False positive analysis

- Discovery activities are not inherently malicious if they occur in isolation. As long as the analyst did not identify
suspicious activity related to the user or host, such alerts can be dismissed.

### Response and remediation

- Initiate the incident response process based on the outcome of the triage.
- Isolate the involved hosts to prevent further post-compromise behavior.
- 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 via 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).

Rule queryedit

process where event.type == "start" and : "grep" and != "0" and not process.parent.executable :
"/Library/Application Support/*" and process.args :
("Little Snitch*", "Avast*", "Avira*",
"ESET*", "BlockBlock*", "360Sec*",
"LuLu*", "KnockKnock*", "kav", "KIS",
"RTProtectionDaemon*", "Malware*",
"VShieldScanner*", "WebProtection*",
"webinspectord*", "McAfee*", "isecespd*",
"macmnsvc*", "masvc*", "kesl*",
"avscan*", "guard*", "rtvscand*",
"symcfgd*", "scmdaemon*", "symantec*",
"sophos*", "osquery*", "elastic-endpoint*"
) and not (process.args : "Avast" and process.args : "Passwords")

Threat mappingedit


Rule version historyedit

Version 101 (8.5.0 release)
  • Formatting only
Version 5 (8.4.0 release)
  • Formatting only
Version 3 (8.2.0 release)
  • Formatting only
Version 2 (7.13.0 release)
  • Updated query, changed from:

    event.category : process and event.type : (start or process_started)
    and : grep and process.args : ("Little Snitch" or Avast*
    or Avira* or ESET* or esets_* or BlockBlock or 360* or LuLu or
    KnockKnock* or kav or KIS or RTProtectionDaemon or Malware* or
    VShieldScanner or WebProtection or webinspectord or McAfee* or
    isecespd* or macmnsvc* or masvc or kesl or avscan or guard or rtvscand
    or symcfgd or scmdaemon or symantec or elastic-endpoint )