Splunk® Enterprise

Securing Splunk Enterprise

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Safeguards for risky commands

Splunk Enterprise contains built-in search processing language (SPL) safeguards to warn you when you are about to unknowingly run a search that contains commands that might be a security risk. This warning appears when you click a link or type a URL that loads a search that contains risky commands.

The warning does not appear when you create ad hoc searches.

This warning alerts you to the possibility of unauthorized actions by a malicious user. Unauthorized actions include:

  • Copying or transferring data (data exfiltration)
  • Deleting data
  • Overwriting data

A possible scenario when this might occur is when a malicious person creates a search that includes commands that exfiltrate or damage data. The malicious person then sends an unsuspecting user a link to the search. The URL contains a query string (q) and a search identifier (sid), but the sid is expired. The malicious person hopes the user will use the link and the search will run.

Commands that trigger the warning

The commands that trigger this warning are listed here:

  • collect
  • crawl
  • dump
  • delete
  • input
  • outputcsv
  • outputlookup
  • runshellscript
  • script
  • sendalert
  • sendemail
  • tscollect

Actions in the warning dialog box

Instead of running the search immediately, Splunk Enterprise analyzes the search for risky commands. If one or more risky commands are identified, a warning dialog box appears. You have the option to cancel, run, or investigate the search.

Closes the warning dialog box. The search does not run and the search is removed from the Search bar. Closing the dialog box, by clicking the Close button (X), is the same as clicking Cancel.
Runs the search.
Displays the search in the Search bar so that you can review the SPL. Use this option to copy the syntax of the search. Send a copy of the search, along with any information about the source of the link, to your system administrator.

Turning off the warning

Only users with Write permission can edit the web.conf file to turn off the warning dialog box.

You can turn off the warning for a specific command, or for all of the risky commands.

Turn off the warning for a specific command

1. Copy the commands.conf file, which is located in the $SPLUNK_HOME/etc/system/default directory.
2. Paste the copy of the file in the $SPLUNK_HOME/etc/system/local directory.
3. Locate the command and change the setting from is_risky = true to is_risky = false.
4. Restart Splunk Enterprise.

Turn off the warning for all of the commands

1. Open the web.conf file. This file is located in the $SPLUNK_HOME/etc/system/default/ directory.
2. Change the enable_risky_command_check parameter to false.
3. Restart Splunk Enterprise.

See also

In the Admin Manual:

About configuration files
commands.conf file
web.conf file
Manage data integrity
Splunk server tokens

This documentation applies to the following versions of Splunk® Enterprise: 6.4.0, 6.4.1, 6.4.2, 6.4.3, 6.4.4, 6.4.5, 6.4.6, 6.4.7, 6.4.8, 6.4.9, 6.4.10, 6.5.0, 6.5.1, 6.5.1612 (Splunk Cloud only), 6.5.2, 6.5.3, 6.5.4, 6.5.5, 6.5.6, 6.5.7, 6.5.8, 6.6.0, 6.6.1, 6.6.2, 6.6.3, 6.6.4, 6.6.5, 6.6.6, 6.6.7, 7.0.0, 7.0.1, 7.0.2, 7.0.3


Thanks for calling this to our attention, Igor. I've updated the topic.

Jworthington splunk, Splunker
June 20, 2017

"1. Copy the commands.conf.spec file, which is located in the $SPLUNK_HOME/etc/system/default directory. "
file name "commands.conf.spec" is a mistake. Should be commands.conf

June 17, 2017

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