Highest used Python code in the Pentesting/Security world

python -c 'import pty;pty.spawn("/bin/bash")'

I think this is the highest used Python program in the land of Pentesting/Security, Almost every blog post or tutorial I read, they talk about the above-mentioned line to get a proper terminal after getting access to a minimal shell on a remote Linux server.

What does this code do?

We are calling the Python executable with -c and python statements inside of the double quote. -c executes the Python statements, and as we are running it as non-interactive mode, it parses the entire input before executing it.

The code we pass as the argument of the -c has two statements.

import pty
pty.spawn("/bin/bash")

pty is a Python module which defines operations related to the pseudo-terminal concept, it can create another process, and from the controlling terminal, it can read/write to the new process.

The pty.spawn function spawns a new process (/bin/bash in this case) and then connects IO of the new process to the parent/controlling process.

demo of getting bash

In most cases, even though you get access to bash using the way mentioned above, TAB completion is still not working. To enable it, press Ctrl+z to move the process to sleep, and then use the following command on your terminal.

stty raw -echo

stty changes terminal line settings and part of the GNU coreutils package. To read about all the options we set by using raw -echo, read the man page of stty.

Many years ago, I watched a documentary about Security firms showcasing offensive attacks, that was the first I saw them using Python scripts to send in the payload and exploit the remote systems. Now, I am using similar scripts in the lab to learn and having fun with Python. It is a new world for me, but, it also shows the diverse world we serve via Python.