Create a File Query - Administrator Guide - Cortex XDR - Cortex - Security Operations

Cortex XDR Pro Administrator Guide

Cortex XDR
Creation date
Last date published
Administrator Guide

From the Cortex XDR management console, you can create a query to investigate the connections between file activity and endpoints.

From the Query Builder you can investigate connections between file activity and endpoints. The Query Builder searches your logs and endpoint data for the file activity that you specify. To search for files on endpoints instead of file-related activity, use the XQL Search.XQL Search

Some examples of file queries you can run include:

  • Files modified on specific endpoints.

  • Files related to process activity that exist on specific endpoints.

To build a file query:

  1. From Cortex XDR, select Incident ResponseInvestigationQuery Builder.

  2. Select FILE.

  3. Enter the search criteria for the file events query.

    • File activity—Select the type or types of file activity you want to search: All, Create, Read, Rename, Delete, or Write.

    • File attributes—Define any additional process attributes for which you want to search. Use a pipe (|) to separate multiple values (for example notepad.exe|chrome.exe). By default, Cortex XDR will return the events that match the attribute you specify. To exclude an attribute value, toggle the = option to =!. Attributes are:

      • NAME—File name.

      • PATH—Path of the file.

      • PREVIOUS NAME—Previous name of a file.

      • PREVIOUS PATH—Previous path of the file.

      • MD5—MD5 hash value of the file.

      • SHA256—SHA256 hash value of the file.

      • ACTION_DISK_DRIVER_NAME—The driver where the file was created.

      • FILE_SYSTEM_TYPE—Operating system type where the file was run.

      • ACTION_IS_VFS—Denotes if the file is on a virtual file system on the disk. This is relevant only for files that are written to disk.

      • DEVICE TYPE—Type of device used to run the file: Unknown, Fixed, Removable Media, CD-ROM.

      • DEVICE SERIAL NUMBER—Serial number of the device type used to run the file.

      To specify an additional exception (match this value except), click the + to the right of the value and specify the exception value.

  4. (Optional) Limit the scope to a specific acting process:

    Select query-acting-process-scope.png and specify one or more of the following attributes for the acting (parent) process.

    Use a pipe (|) to separate multiple values. Use an asterisk (*) to match any string of characters.

    • NAME—Name of the parent process.

    • PATH—Path to the parent process.

    • CMD—Command-line used to initiate the process including any arguments, up to 128 characters.

    • MD5—MD5 hash value of the process.

    • SHA256—SHA256 hash value of the process.

    • USER NAME—User who executed the process.

    • SIGNATURE—Signing status of the parent process: Signature Unavailable, Signed, Invalid Signature, Unsigned, Revoked, Signature Fail.

    • SIGNER—Entity that signed the certificate of the parent process.

    • PID—Process ID of the parent process.

    • Run search for process, Causality, and OS actors—The causality actor—also referred to as the causality group owner (CGO)—is the parent process in the execution chain that the Cortex XDR agent identified as being responsible for initiating the process tree. The OS actor is the parent process that creates an OS process on behalf of a different indicator. By default, this option is enabled to apply the same search criteria to initiating processes. To configure different attributes for the parent or initiate the process, clear this option.

  5. (Optional) Limit the scope to an endpoint or endpoint attributes:

    Select query-host-scope.png and specify one or more of the following attributes:


      INSTALLATION TYPE can be either Cortex XDR agent or Data Collector.


    Use a pipe (|) to separate multiple values. Use an asterisk (*) to match any string of characters.

  6. Specify the time period for which you want to search for events.

    Options are Last 24H (hours), Last 7D (days), Last 1M (month), or select a Custom time period.

  7. Choose when to run the query.

    Select the calendar icon to schedule a query to run on or before a specific date or Run to run the query immediately and view the results in the Query Center.

    While the query is running, you can always navigate away from the page and a notification is sent when the query completes. You can also Cancel the query or run a new query, where you have the option to Run only new query (cancel previous) or Run both queries.

  8. When you are ready, View the Results of a Query.Manage Your Queries