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Splunk Lantern

Spoolsv spawning Rundll32

You might need to search for spoolsv.exe spawning Rundll32 when doing the following:


In order to execute this procedure in your environment, the following data, services, or apps are required:


Some attacks such as PrintNightmare use spoolsv.exe to spawn processes, such as rundll32.exe. It is not normal behavior for spoolsv.exe to spawn a process, so this can be an indicator that a print spooler vulnerability has been exploited.

To optimize the search shown below, you should specify an index and a time range.

  1. Ensure you are ingesting information on process that includes the name of the process responsible for the changes from your endpoints into the Endpoint datamodel in the Processes node.
  2. Run the following search:
sourcetype=XmlWinEventLog:Microsoft-Windows-Sysmon/Operational OR source=XmlWinEventLog:Microsoft-Windows-Sysmon/Operational EventID=1  parent_process_name=spoolsv.exe process_name=rundll32.exe
| stats count min(_time) AS firstTime max(_time) AS lastTime BY Computer, User, parent_process_name, process_name, OriginalFileName, process_path, CommandLine

Search explanation

The table provides an explanation of what each part of this search achieves. You can adjust this query based on the specifics of your environment.

Splunk Search Explanation
sourcetype=XmlWinEventLog:Microsoft-Windows-Sysmon/Operational OR source=XmlWinEventLog:Microsoft-Windows-Sysmon/Operational Search Sysmon operational data.
EventID=1 Search for a process creation event.
parent_process_name=spoolsv.exe process_name=rundll32.exe Search for process rundll32.exe running from spoolsv.exe.
 | stats count min(_time) AS firstTime max(_time) AS lastTime BY Computer, User,  parent_process_name, process_name, OriginalFileName, process_path, CommandLine Return the first and last times these processes ran, renaming the fields as shown. Then, sort first by computer and then by the rest of the fields shown.


Be aware that there are limited instances where rundll32.exe may be spawned by a legitimate print driver.

During triage, isolate the endpoint and review for source of exploitation. Capture any additional file modification events.

If your results indicate an attack has occurred, the host or computer where the vulnerability is detected needs to be further investigated and remediated according to your response plan. This involves a final step of re-imaging the system with a known good system build after investigation.