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T1547.013 XDG Autostart Entries

Adversaries may modify XDG autostart entries to execute programs or commands during system boot. Linux desktop environments that are XDG compliant implement functionality for XDG autostart entries. These entries will allow an application to automatically start during the startup of a desktop environment after user logon. By default, XDG autostart entries are stored within the /etc/xdg/autostart or ~/.config/autostart directories and have a .desktop file extension.1

Within an XDG autostart entry file, the Type key specifies if the entry is an application (type 1), link (type 2) or directory (type 3). The Name key indicates an arbitrary name assigned by the creator and the Exec key indicates the application and command line arguments to execute.2

Adversaries may use XDG autostart entries to maintain persistence by executing malicious commands and payloads, such as remote access tools, during the startup of a desktop environment. Commands included in XDG autostart entries with execute after user logon in the context of the currently logged on user. Adversaries may also use Masquerading to make XDG autostart entries look as if they are associated with legitimate programs.

Item Value
ID T1547.013
Sub-techniques T1547.001, T1547.002, T1547.003, T1547.004, T1547.005, T1547.006, T1547.007, T1547.008, T1547.009, T1547.010, T1547.012, T1547.013, T1547.014, T1547.015
Tactics TA0003, TA0004
Platforms Linux
Permissions required User, root
Version 1.0
Created 10 September 2019
Last Modified 10 November 2020

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
S0410 Fysbis Fysbis has installed itself as an autostart entry under ~/.config/autostart/dbus-inotifier.desktop to establish persistence.4
S0198 NETWIRE NETWIRE can use XDG Autostart Entries to establish persistence.3


ID Mitigation Description
M1033 Limit Software Installation Restrict software installation to trusted repositories only and be cautious of orphaned software packages.
M1022 Restrict File and Directory Permissions Restrict write access to XDG autostart entries to only select privileged users.
M1018 User Account Management Limit privileges of user accounts so only authorized privileged users can create and modify XDG autostart entries.


ID Data Source Data Component
DS0017 Command Command Execution
DS0022 File File Creation
DS0009 Process Process Creation