It is unlikely that event log data would be cleared during normal operations, and it is likely that malicious attackers may try to cover their tracks by clearing an event log. When an event log gets cleared, it is suspicious. 1. This is often done using wevtutil, a legitimate tool provided by Microsoft. This action interferes with event collection and notification, and may lead to a security event going undetected, thereby potentially leading to further compromise of the network. 2. Alerting when a Clear Event Log is generated could point to this intruder technique. Centrally collecting events has the added benefit of making it much harder for attackers to cover their tracks. Event Forwarding permits sources to forward multiple copies of a collected event to multiple collectors, thus enabling redundant event collection. Using a redundant event collection model can minimize the single point of failure risk. 3. Attackers may set the option of the sources of events with Limit-EventLog -LogName Security -OverflowAction DoNotOverwrite to not delete old Evenlog when the .evtx is full. By default the Security Log size is configured with the minimum value of 20 480KB (~23 000 EventLog). So if this option is enabled, all the new EventLogs will be automatically deleted. We can detect this behavior with the Security EventLog 1104. 4. Attackers may delete .evtx with del C:\Windows\System32\winevt\logs\Security.evtx or Remove-Item C:\Windows\System32\winevt\logs\Security.evtx after having disabled and stopped the Eventlog service. As the EventLog service is disabled and stopped, the .evtx files are no longer used by this service and can be deleted. The new EventLog will be Unavailable until the configuration is reset. 5. Attackers may use the powershell command Remove-EventLog -LogName Security to unregister source of events that are part of Windows (Application, Security…). This command deletes the security EventLog (which also generates EventId 1102) but the new Eventlogs are still recorded until the system is rebooted . After the System is rebooted, the Security log is unregistered and doesn’t log any new Eventlog. However logs generated between the command and the reboot are still available in the .evtx file.


ATT&CK Detections

Technique Subtechnique(s) Tactic(s) Level of Coverage
Indicator Removal Clear Windows Event Logs Defense Evasion Moderate

D3FEND Techniques

ID Name
D3-RTA RPC Traffic Analysis

Data Model References

Object Action Field
process create command_line


PseudoCode for dedicated EventID EventLog deletion (Pseudocode)

When an eventlog is cleared, a new event is created that alerts that the eventlog was cleared. For Security logs, its event code 1100 and 1102. For System logs, it is event code 104.

([log_name] == "Security" and [event_code] in [1100, 1102, 1104]) or
([log_name] == "System" and [event_code] == 104)

Sigma rule (System log) (Sigma)

Sigma version of the above pseudocode, focusing only on the System log.

Sigma rule (Security log) (Sigma)

Sigma version of the above pseudocode, focusing only on the Security log.

LogPoint version of the above pseudocode. (Logpoint, LogPoint native)

LogPoint version of the above pseudocode.

norm_id=WinServer ((channel="Security" event_id IN [1100,1102]) OR (channel="System" event_id=104))

Splunk search - Detecting log clearing with wevtutil (Splunk, Sysmon native)

This search query looks for wevtutil, Clear-EventLog, Limit-EventLog, Remove-Item or Remove-EventLog inside a command that may cause the system to remove Windows Event logs.

index=__your_sysmon_index__ sourcetype= __your__windows__sysmon__sourcetype EventCode=1 (Image=*wevtutil* CommandLine=*cl* (CommandLine=*System* OR CommandLine=*Security* OR CommandLine=*Setup* OR CommandLine=*Application*) OR Clear-EventLog OR Limit-EventLog OR (Remove-Item AND .evtx) OR Remove-EventLog)

Unit Tests

Test Case 1

You can use the powershell cmdlet “Clear-Eventlog” to clear event logs. Open Powershell as administrator and execute Clear-Eventlog Clear-EventLog [-LogName] \<String[]\>. Additional information here.

Clear-Eventlog Security
Clear-Eventlog System

Test Case 2

Command to not Overwrite old EventLog

Limit-EventLog -LogName Security -OverflowAction DoNotOverwrite

Test Case 3

Cmd and Powershell command to delete EventLog (only possible after turning off the EventLog service)

del C:\Windows\System32\winevt\logs\Security.evtx
Remove-Item C:\Windows\System32\winevt\logs\Security.evtx

Test Case 4

Unregister EventLog source

Remove-EventLog -LogName Security