Boot or Logon Autostart Execution: Re-opened Applications

Adversaries may modify plist files to automatically run an application when a user logs in. When a user logs out or restarts via the macOS Graphical User Interface (GUI), a prompt is provided to the user with a checkbox to "Reopen windows when logging back in".[1] When selected, all applications currently open are added to a property list file named[UUID].plist within the ~/Library/Preferences/ByHost directory.[2][3] Applications listed in this file are automatically reopened upon the user’s next logon.

Adversaries can establish Persistence by adding a malicious application path to the[UUID].plist file to execute payloads when a user logs in.

ID: T1547.007
Sub-technique of:  T1547
Platforms: macOS
Permissions Required: User
Version: 1.1
Created: 24 January 2020
Last Modified: 19 April 2022


ID Mitigation Description
M1042 Disable or Remove Feature or Program

This feature can be disabled entirely with the following terminal command: defaults write -g ApplePersistence -bool no.

M1017 User Training

Holding the Shift key while logging in prevents apps from opening automatically.[1]


ID Data Source Data Component
DS0017 Command Command Execution
DS0022 File File Modification

Monitoring the specific plist files associated with reopening applications can indicate when an application has registered itself to be reopened.