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Kernel Module Loading Detection


The KernelModuleLoading signature is created to detect instances of kernel module loading. Kernel modules are binaries designed to operate within the kernel. By doing so, they run with elevated privileges and can directly interact with the core of the operating system. As a result, malicious entities might aim to load custom kernel modules, extending their capabilities and evading detection by residing in the kernel, away from user space.


Loading kernel modules can be a legitimate activity, such as when administrators aim to extend the kernel's capabilities. However, when unexpected, it can signify a potentially harmful operation. The KernelModuleLoading signature is designed to monitor for events that hint at kernel module loading and provide alerts when detected.


The primary objective of the KernelModuleLoading signature is to ensure real-time detection of kernel module loadings. This proactive detection is vital in identifying potentially harmful modules before they execute their intended functions, offering security personnel an opportunity to intervene.


  • ID: TRC-1017
  • Version: 1
  • Name: Kernel module loading detected
  • EventName: kernel_module_loading
  • Description: Loading of a kernel module was detected. Kernel modules are meant for execution in the kernel environment. Adversaries might load such modules to enhance their functionalities and to elude detection by operating directly within the kernel, sidestepping user space.
  • Properties:
  • Severity: 2 (Moderate threat level)
  • Category: persistence
  • Technique: Kernel Modules and Extensions
  • Kubernetes_Technique: N/A
  • id: attack-pattern--a1b52199-c8c5-438a-9ded-656f1d0888c6
  • external_id: T1547.006


When a potential kernel module loading event is recognized, the signature formulates a Finding data structure which encompasses:

  • SigMetadata: Metadata detailing the perceived threat according to the specifications of the signature.
  • Event: A thorough log of the particular event that caused the detection.
  • Data: Currently labeled as nil, denoting there isn't any extra data backing the detection.

Events Used

This signature predominantly observes the following events:

  • init_module: Triggered during the initiation of a kernel module. When detected, it suggests a module loading event.
  • security_kernel_read_file: Engaged when there's a reading activity within the kernel. This event is further inspected to check if the reading pertains to "kernel-module" type, which would indicate module loading.