Shell shoveling

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Shell shoveling, in network security, refers to the act of redirecting the input and output of a shell to a service so that it can be remotely accessed.[1]

In computing, the most basic method of interfacing with the operating system is the shell, on Microsoft Windows based systems this is a program called CMD.EXE or COMMAND.COM, on Linux or Unix based systems it may be any of a variety of programs such as bash, ksh etc. This program accepts commands typed from a prompt and executes them, usually in real time, displaying the results to what is referred to as standard output, usually a monitor or screen.

In the shell shoveling process, one of these programs is set to run (perhaps silently or without notifying someone observing the computer) accepting input from a remote system and redirecting output to the same remote system; therefore the operator of the shoveled shell is able to operate the computer as if they were present at the console.[2]


  1. ^ "'Inside-out' security", InfoWorld, 22 (12), p. 49, March 20, 2000 
  2. ^ Tipton, Harold F.; Krause, Micki (2007), Information Security Management Handbook (6th ed.), CRC Press, p. 2839, ISBN 978-1-4200-1358-0