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  The Bash Shell


Guide to (mostly) Harmless Hacking

Vol. 5 Programmers' Series

No. 4: A nice 'n' easy introduction into the bash shell

                           By idle (idle@mailexcite.com)
with a little help from his friends (Meino :) (Carolyn Meinel)  

 The first in the Programmers' Series introduced you to some of the very
basics of writing shell scripts. Creating files, executing commands and so
on.  This Guide will introduce you to additional important concepts, but
this time using the bash shell.

 Why is shell programming important for hacking?  Let's say you are trying
to get root control of a Hacker Wargame computer (see
http://www.happyhacker.org for latest information on what computers are
legal to break into).  You find an exploit shell script at some place such
as http://www.rootshell.com that looks ideal for doing the job -- but it
doesn't work!  Maybe your problem was not with the exploit script, but with what shell you are using or how your shell is set up.  This Guide will help you understand more about what makes the bash shell work and how to make it do what you want it to do.

In this Guide you will learn about:

Newbie note: Bash is a Unix shell program.  It takes all your commands and turns them into something a Unix type operating system can understand.  I (Carolyn Meinel) recommend the tcsh shell, but if you can't use tcsh right now, bash is my second favorite shell.  Bash stands for "Bourne Again Shell," a word play on the Bourne Shell, from which the bash shell was adapted.  To find out whether you are currently using the bash shell, in your shell account give the command "env".  It will include an entry "SHELL:bash" if you are already using it.  If  it shows a different shell, give the command "bash".  If it gives an error message, you don't have ash.

  You'll soon see that even your most basic shell in any kind of Unix is more powerful than DOS, and if you are short of ideas for scripts to write, hopefully this will open your mind a little.

More on the bash shell --->>

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in 4th edition now!
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