Matthew Green

I am a DFIR and detection guy from Sydney Australia.

WMI Event Consumers: what are you missing?

12 Jan 2022 » posts

WMI Eventing is a fairly well known technique in DFIR, however some tools may not provide the coverage you expect. This article covers WMI eventing visibility and detection including custom namespaces.

Selection bias in WWII: missing what is not collected.


There has been a fair bit of research and observations of WMI eventing in field over the last years. In short, a WMI event consumer is a method of subscribing to certain system events, then enabling an action of some sort. Common adversary use cases may include persistence, privilege escalation, or as a collection trigger. Represented as ATT&CK T1546.003 this technique has been observed in use from APT, through to trash-tic worm and coin miner threats.

WMI Eventing: 3 system classes

There are three system classes in every active event consumer:

  1. __EventFilter is a WQL query that outlines the trigger event of interest.
  2. __EventConsumer is an action to perform upon triggering an event.
  3. __FilterToConsumerBinding is the registration mechanism that binds a filter to a consumer.

Most detection will focus on collecting the WMI classes in root/subscription and, in some tools root/default WMI namespaces.

Autoruns 14.07: detects root/default and root/subscription namespace WMI event consumers

Custom Namespaces

At Blackhat 2018 Lee Christensen and Matt Graeber presented “Subverting Sysmon: Application of a Formalized Security Product Evasion Methodology”. This excellent talk focused on defense evasion methodology and highlighted potential collection gaps in telemetry tools around WMI eventing. In this case, the focus was on Sysmon behaviour of collection only in root/subscription, interestingly, it also highlighted the possibility to implement __EventConsumer classes in arbitrary namespaces.

It is detection of WMI Event Consumers in arbitrary namespaces that I’m going to focus. For anyone interested in testing I have written a script to generate WMI event consumers. This script wraps several powershell functions released during the Black Hat talk to test creating working event consumers.

First step was to create a custom namespace event consumer. In this instance I selected the namespace name totallylegit and attached an ActiveScript event consumer.

WMIEventingNoismaker.ps1:Generate active script EventConsumer


Velociraptor has several valuable artifacts for hunting WMI Event Consumers:

  • Windows.Sysinternals.Autoruns - leverages a thirdparty deployment of Sysinternals Autoruns and typically my go to ASEP collection artifact but limited by visibility in root/default and root/subscription only.
  • Windows.Persistence.PermanentWMIEvents - recently upgraded to query all ROOT namespaces.

  • This artifact reports currently deployed permanent WMI Event Consumers.
  • The artifact collects Binding information, then presents associated Filters and Consumers.
  • Target a specific namespace, or tick AllRootNamespaces to collect all root namespace event consumers.

Windows.Persistence.PermanentWMIEvents: configuration options

Windows.Persistence.PermanentWMIEvents: results


Unfortunately prior to Windows 10 WMI logging was fairly limited. Sysmon and other telemetry sources often rely on WMI eventing itself to collect WMI eventing telemetry events. That means custom classes require namespace and class existence prior to telemetry subscription. Sysmon as seen below also does not have coverage for root/default namespace.

Sysmon collection: Event ID 20 mapping (`__EventConsumer`)

The good news is since Windows 10, WMI logging has improved significantly and we can now query the event log: Microsoft-Windows-WMI-Activity or subscribe the underlying ETW provider of the same name. In the VQL below I filter the ETW event on event consumer creation or delete operations.

    System.TimeStamp AS EventTime,
    System.ID as EventId,
    strip(prefix='\\\\\.\\',string=EventData.NamespaceName) as NamespaceName,
    EventData.Operation as Operation,
    GetProcessInfo(TargetPid=int(int=EventData.ClientProcessId))[0] as Process
FROM watch_etw(guid="{1418ef04-b0b4-4623-bf7e-d74ab47bbdaa}")
WHERE EventId = 11
    AND Operation =~ 'WbemServices::(PutInstance|DeleteInstance|PutClass|DeleteClass)'
    AND Operation =~ 'EventConsumer|EventFilter|FilterToConsumerBinding'

I have included a completed artifact in the artifact exchange: Windows.ETW.WMIEventing. That artifact includes process enrichment, targeting both creation and deletion of EventConsumers.

Custom namespace provider registration and process enrichment

Windows.ETW.WMIEventing: all operations event consumer creation and removal

Event Log

Similar filters can be used with Windows.EventLogs.EvtxHunter for detection. Its worthy to note, event logs hold less verbose logging for the registration than ETW but this use case is helpful when coming late to the party during an investigation.

Windows.EventLogs.EvtxHunter: hunt for event consumer string

Windows.EventLogs.EvtxHunter: detect event consumer class creation


During this post, we have shown three techniques for detecting WMI event consumers that are worth considering. We can collect these data-points over an entire network in minutes using Velociraptor’s “hunt” capability. Similarly Velociraptor notebook workflow assists excluding known good entries quickly as part of analysis.

The Velociraptor platform aims to provide visibility and access to endpoint data. If you would like to try Velociraptor it is available on Github under an open source license. As always, please file issues on the bug tracker or ask questions on our mailing list You can also chat with us directly on discord at


  1. Microsoft documentation, About WMI
  2. MITRE ATT&CK T1546.003, Event Triggered Execution: Windows Management Instrumentation Event Subscription
  3. Christensen.L and Graeber.M, Blackhat 2018 - Subverting Sysmon: Application of a Formalized Security Product Evasion Methodology
  4. JSecurity101, Windows APIs To Sysmon-Events