Detection Rule Development: Disable Windows Event and Security Logs

Detection Rule Development: Disable Windows Event and Security Logs
How I took a issue created by another github user and added value to the original query and helped mold it into a new detection rule.

Original Query

process where event.module == "powershell" and
process.args : ( "powershell.exe", "Set-Service", "EventLog", "Disabled")

Example Data

{
  "_id": "89933b5f64737a55c666fd1a7155b02c533e65e040dddfb611d83e563afa6796",
  "_index": ".siem-signals-siemplify-000002",
  "_score": "1",
  "_type": "_doc",
  "@timestamp": "2021-03-31T04:43:10.154Z",
  "agent": {
    "ephemeral_id": "af1d7136-94f2-42bd-8ac6-c0c320381735",
    "hostname": "DESKTOP-AL49UOF",
    "id": "41e48758-8b2b-474a-bd22-b0d6356025e2",
    "name": "DESKTOP-AL49UOF",
    "type": "filebeat",
    "version": "7.12.0"
  },
  "data_stream": {
    "dataset": "windows.powershell",
    "namespace": "default",
    "type": "logs"
  },
  "ecs": {
    "version": "1.8.0"
  },
  "elastic_agent": {
    "id": "ebe1c190-9026-11eb-97b7-670157a7fe8c",
    "version": "7.12.0"
  },
  "event": {
    "action": "Provider Lifecycle",
    "category": "process",
    "code": "600",
    "created": "2021-03-31T04:42:07.705Z",
    "dataset": "windows.powershell",
    "ingested": "2021-03-31T04:42:12.329Z",
    "kind": "signal",
    "module": "powershell",
    "provider": "PowerShell",
    "sequence": "5",
    "type": "info"
  },
  "host": {
    "architecture": "x86_64",
    "hostname": "DESKTOP-AL49UOF",
    "id": "8c87c48e-9f44-4504-abe1-2a4428adaa71",
    "ip": "2603:8001:bf00:f9c0::12c8,2603:8001:bf00:f9c0:e816:7a3a:71e2:3702,2603:8001:bf00:f9c0:7d5e:a714:f6a6:c52f,fe80::e816:7a3a:71e2:3702,192.168.1.132,2001:0:34f1:8072:3802:3b0e:3f57:fe7b,fe80::3802:3b0e:3f57:fe7b",
    "mac": "08:00:27:03:19:05,00:00:00:00:00:00:00:e0",
    "name": "DESKTOP-AL49UOF",
    "os": {
      "build": "15063.1387",
      "family": "windows",
      "kernel": "10.0.15063.1387 (WinBuild.160101.0800)",
      "name": "Windows 10 Pro",
      "platform": "windows",
      "type": "windows",
      "version": "10.0"
    }
  },
  "input": {
    "type": "winlog"
  },
  "log": {
    "level": "information"
  },
  "message": "Provider \"Environment\" is Started. \n\nDetails: \n\tProviderName=Environment\n\tNewProviderState=Started\n\n\tSequenceNumber=5\n\n\tHostName=ConsoleHost\n\tHostVersion=5.1.15063.1387\n\tHostId=c4373ed5-2fbc-405c-bcde-f5c370a32546\n\tHostApplication=powershell.exe -ExecutionPolicy Bypass -C Set-Service EventLog -StartupType Disabled\n\n\tEngineVersion=\n\tRunspaceId=\n\tPipelineId=\n\tCommandName=\n\tCommandType=\n\tScriptName=\n\tCommandPath=\n\tCommandLine=",
  "powershell": {
    "process": {
      "executable_version": "5.1.15063.1387"
    },
    "provider": {
      "name": "Environment",
      "new_state": "Started"
    }
  },
  "process": {
    "args": "powershell.exe,-ExecutionPolicy,Bypass,-C,Set-Service,EventLog,-StartupType,Disabled",
    "args_count": "8",
    "command_line": "powershell.exe -ExecutionPolicy Bypass -C Set-Service EventLog -StartupType Disabled",
    "entity_id": "c4373ed5-2fbc-405c-bcde-f5c370a32546",
    "title": "ConsoleHost"
  },
  "signal": {
    "_meta": {
      "version": "25"
    },
    "ancestors": "{\"id\":\"uyyWhngBHIiL0gIkyYbp\",\"type\":\"event\",\"index\":\".ds-logs-windows.powershell-default-2021.03.29-000001\",\"depth\":0}",
    "depth": "1",
    "original_event": {
      "action": "Provider Lifecycle",
      "category": "process",
      "code": "600",
      "created": "2021-03-31T04:42:07.705Z",
      "dataset": "windows.powershell",
      "ingested": "2021-03-31T04:42:12.329199354Z",
      "kind": "event",
      "module": "powershell",
      "provider": "PowerShell",
      "sequence": "5",
      "type": "info"
    },
    "original_time": "2021-03-31T04:42:06.367Z",
    "parent": {
      "depth": "0",
      "id": "uyyWhngBHIiL0gIkyYbp",
      "index": ".ds-logs-windows.powershell-default-2021.03.29-000001",
      "type": "event"
    },
    "parents": "{\"id\":\"uyyWhngBHIiL0gIkyYbp\",\"type\":\"event\",\"index\":\".ds-logs-windows.powershell-default-2021.03.29-000001\",\"depth\":0}",
    "rule": {
      "actions": "",
      "author": "ipninichuck",
      "created_at": "2021-03-31T04:38:02.741Z",
      "created_by": "ipninichuck",
      "description": "Windows Event Log has been set to not start-up on reboot. This is often done by an attacker to evade any future detections.",
      "enabled": "true",
      "exceptions_list": "",
      "false_positives": "",
      "filters": "",
      "from": "now-360s",
      "id": "e0a77120-91da-11eb-97b7-670157a7fe8c",
      "immutable": "false",
      "index": "logs-*,winlogbeat-*",
      "interval": "5m",
      "language": "eql",
      "license": "",
      "max_signals": "100",
      "meta": {
        "from": "1m",
        "kibana_siem_app_url": "https://denoir-stack.kb.us-west1.gcp.cloud.es.io:9243/s/siemplify/app/security"
      },
      "name": "Windows Event Log Disabled",
      "output_index": ".siem-signals-siemplify",
      "query": "process where event.module == \"powershell\" and\nprocess.args : ( \"powershell.exe\", \"Set-Service\", \"EventLog\", \"Disabled\")\n",
      "references": "",
      "risk_score": "73",
      "risk_score_mapping": "",
      "rule_id": "bebc93c7-c122-4223-9257-c0084b53aa24",
      "severity": "high",
      "severity_mapping": "",
      "tags": "Hosts ,Windows,threat detection ,Defense Evasion",
      "threat": "{\"framework\":\"MITRE ATT&CK\",\"tactic\":{\"id\":\"TA0005\",\"reference\":\"https://attack.mitre.org/tactics/TA0005\",\"name\":\"Defense Evasion\"},\"technique\":[{\"id\":\"T1562\",\"reference\":\"https://attack.mitre.org/techniques/T1562\",\"name\":\"Impair Defenses\",\"subtechnique\":[{\"id\":\"T1562.002\",\"reference\":\"https://attack.mitre.org/techniques/T1562/002\",\"name\":\"Disable Windows Event Logging\"}]}]}",
      "to": "now",
      "type": "eql",
      "updated_at": "2021-03-31T04:38:10.703Z",
      "updated_by": "ipninichuck",
      "version": "1"
    },
    "status": "open"
  },
  "winlog": {
    "api": "wineventlog",
    "channel": "Windows PowerShell",
    "computer_name": "DESKTOP-AL49UOF",
    "event_id": "600",
    "keywords": "Classic",
    "opcode": "Info",
    "provider_name": "PowerShell",
    "record_id": "41",
    "task": "Provider Lifecycle"
  }
}
</details>

I came across this Tweet that gave me an idea of how to expand the query above and add potential value to the detection query and hopefully get added to the Detection Rule repo.

And if you look at the tweet you would see logman, which is not something talked about that often.

logman stop EventLog-System -ets

And this command with winlogbeat-* index would look like the following:

winlog.event_data.CommandLine.keyword:*logman\ stop\ EventLog\-System*

First Attempt

So my first attempt  at improving the rule, I quickly came up with the following query.
process where event.module == "cmd" and process.args : ( "cmd.exe", "EventLog-System", "EventLog", "stop", "logman" )

But I soon realize that this would be extremely noisy as is and needed to think a little about how to improve more upon the current version.

Second Attempt

process where event.type in ("start", "process_started") and
process.name:"cmd.exe" and process.args in ("EventLog-System", 
											"EventLog", 
											"stop",
											"logman") or
process.name:("powershell.exe", "powershell_ise.exe") and 
process.args in ("Set-Service", "EventLog", "Disabled")

Feedback

So after getting some feedback from Elastic Security Researchers, I realized that the detection rule would be too noisy as is and would require exceptions.  And first change I need to make, was to add process.pe.original_file_name to account for renames and to add pwsh.exe. And second,  I needed to have the rule look for activity from uncommon parents and/or create a sequence to help with the noise. And third, the rule query as is would alert just if logman or EventLog is mentioned. So I needed to make changes that the query would only trigger when they are disabled or stopped.

Third Attempt

process where event.type in ("start", "process_started") and
((process.name:"cmd.exe" or process.pe.original_file_name == "cmd.exe") and 
process.args in ("EventLog-System", "EventLog", "stop","logman")) or
((process.name:"pwsh.exe" or 
	process.pe.original_file_name == "pwsh.exe") and 
process.args in ("Set-Service", "EventLog", "Disabled")) or
((process.name:"powershell.exe" or 
	process.pe.original_file_name == "powershell.exe") and 
process.args in ("Set-Service", "EventLog", "Disabled")) or
((process.name:"powershell_ise.exe" or 
	process.pe.original_file_name == "powershell_ise.exe") and 
process.args in ("Set-Service", "EventLog", "Disabled")) 

Feedback

After getting some feedback on this attempt, I learned that process.args is fine, but with in or :  that it will alert on any of them, so cmd /c logman create.. would alert just because we are looking for  process.args in ("EventLog-System", "EventLog", "stop","logman") instead of looking for process.args : logman and process.args : stop

Fourth Attempt

process where event.type in ("start", "process_started") and
((process.name:"cmd.exe" or 
  process.pe.original_file_name == "cmd.exe") and 
	process.args : ("EventLog-System", "EventLog", "stop","logman","delete") and
	not process.args : ("create","query","update","import","export")) or         
((process.name:"pwsh.exe" or 
  process.pe.original_file_name == "pwsh.exe") and 
	process.args : ("Set-Service", "EventLog", "Disabled")) or
((process.name:"powershell.exe" or 
  process.pe.original_file_name == "powershell.exe") and 
	process.args : ("Set-Service", "EventLog", "Disabled")) or
((process.name:"powershell_ise.exe" or 
  process.pe.original_file_name == "powershell_ise.exe") and 
	process.args : ("Set-Service", "EventLog", "Disabled"))

Feedback

Got some additional feedback that the current query would return unrelated events cmd.exe /c delete file.txt and need to adjust to account for this. And got some extra help from the following article.

Fifth and Could Be Final Attempt

And the following query is the current version and could be my final attempt if it's approved and merged into the detection rules repo.
process where event.type in ("start", "process_started") and
((process.name:"logman.exe" or process.pe.original_file_name == "Logman.exe") and 
    process.args : "EventLog-*" and process.args : ("stop", "delete")) or         
((process.name : ("pwsh.exe", "powershell.exe", "powershell_ise.exe") or  	  
    process.pe.original_file_name in 
   ("pwsh.exe", "powershell.exe", "powershell_ise.exe")) and 
	process.args : "Set-Service" and 
    process.args: "EventLog" and 
	process.args : "Disabled") or 
((process.name:"auditpol.exe" or process.pe.original_file_name == "AUDITPOL.EXE") and 
process.args : "/success:disable")

UPATED: 2021-28-JULY

6th and Final

process where event.type in ("start", "process_started") and
  ((process.name:"logman.exe" or process.pe.original_file_name == "Logman.exe") and
      process.args : "EventLog-*" and process.args : ("stop", "delete")) or
  ((process.name : ("pwsh.exe", "powershell.exe", "powershell_ise.exe") or process.pe.original_file_name in
      ("pwsh.exe", "powershell.exe", "powershell_ise.exe")) and
	process.args : "Set-Service" and process.args: "EventLog" and process.args : "Disabled")  or
	
  ((process.name:"auditpol.exe" or process.pe.original_file_name == "AUDITPOL.EXE") and process.args : "/success:disable")

You can view the final rule here

detection-rules/defense_evasion_disabling_windows_logs.toml at main · austinsonger/detection-rules
Rules for Elastic Security’s detection engine. Contribute to austinsonger/detection-rules development by creating an account on GitHub.

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