During the boot process, macOS executes source /etc/rc.common, which is a shell script containing various utility functions. This file also defines routines for processing command-line arguments and for gathering system settings, and is thus recommended to include in the start of Startup Item Scripts [1]. In macOS and OS X, this is now a deprecated technique in favor of launch agents and launch daemons, but is currently still used.

Adversaries can use the rc.common file as a way to hide code for persistence that will execute on each reboot as the root user [2].

ID: T1163

Tactic: Persistence

Platform:  macOS

Permissions Required:  root

Data Sources:  File monitoring, Process monitoring

Version: 1.0



iKitten adds an entry to the rc.common file for persistence.[3]


Limit privileges of user accounts so only authorized users can edit the rc.common file.


The /etc/rc.common file can be monitored to detect changes from the company policy. Monitor process execution resulting from the rc.common script for unusual or unknown applications or behavior.