Certutil.exe may download a file from a remote destination using -urlcache. This behavior does require a URL to be passed on the command-line. In addition, -f (force) and -split (Split embedded ASN.1 elements, and save to files) will be used. It is not entirely common for certutil.exe to contact public IP space. However, it is uncommon for certutil.exe to write files to world writeable paths.\ During triage, capture any files on disk and review. Review the reputation of the remote IP or domain in question.

ATT&CK Detections

Technique Subtechnique(s) Tactic(s) Level of Coverage
Ingress Tool Transfer N/A Command and Control Moderate

D3FEND Techniques

ID Name
D3-PSA Process Spawn Analysis

Data Model References

Object Action Field
process create exe
process create command_line


Pseudocode – CertUtil download (Pseudocode, CAR native)

Pseudocode implementation of the Splunk search below

processes = search Process:Create
certutil_downloads = filter processes where (
  exe ="C:\Windows\System32\certutil.exe" AND command_line = *urlcache* AND command_line = *split*)
output certutil_downloads

Splunk code (Splunk, Endpoint)

To successfully implement this search you need to be ingesting information on process that include the name of the process responsible for the changes from your endpoints into the Endpoint datamodel in the Processes node.

| tstats count min(_time) as firstTime max(_time) as lastTime from datamodel=Endpoint.Processes where Processes.process_name=certutil.exe Processes.process=*urlcache* Processes.process=*split* by Processes.dest Processes.user Processes.parent_process Processes.process_name Processes.process Processes.process_id Processes.parent_process_id

Unit Tests

Test Case 1

Configurations: Using Splunk Attack Range

Replay the detection dataset using the Splunk attack range with the commands below

python attack_range.py replay -dn data_dump [--dump NAME_OF_DUMP]

Test Case 2

Configurations: Using Invoke-AtomicRedTeam

execute the atomic test T1105 against a Windows target.

Invoke-AtomicTest T1105