Payload Rename Justification

James Lee edited this page Nov 18, 2013 · 4 revisions

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The Issue

Many payloads perform the same task, yet have different names. This results in confusion and a bad new-user experience. Specifically, ARCH_CMD payloads differ greatly from their shellcode-derived brethren. For example, the most heavily used payload is windows/meterpreter/reverse_tcp; the equivalent in ARCH_CMD land is cmd/unix/reverse, which gives no indication that the session type will be a shell.

The Proposal

I propose we rename all the aberrantly-named payloads to match the convention. Specifically:

  • cmd/unix/bind_awk -> cmd/unix/shell_bind_tcp_awk
  • cmd/unix/bind_lua -> cmd/unix/shell_bind_tcp_lua
  • cmd/unix/bind_netcat -> cmd/unix/shell_bind_tcp_netcat
  • cmd/unix/bind_netcat_gaping -> cmd/unix/shell_bind_tcp_netcat_gaping
  • cmd/unix/bind_netcat_gaping_ipv6 -> cmd/unix/shell_bind_tcp_netcat_gaping_ipv6
  • cmd/unix/bind_nodejs -> cmd/unix/shell_bind_tcp_nodejs
  • cmd/unix/bind_perl -> cmd/unix/shell_bind_tcp_perl
  • cmd/unix/bind_perl_ipv6 -> cmd/unix/shell_bind_tcp_perl_ipv6
  • cmd/unix/bind_ruby -> cmd/unix/shell_bind_tcp_ruby
  • cmd/unix/bind_ruby_ipv6 -> cmd/unix/shell_bind_tcp_ruby_ipv6
  • cmd/unix/bind_zsh -> cmd/unix/shell_bind_tcp_zsh
  • cmd/unix/generic -> cmd/unix/exec
  • cmd/unix/reverse -> cmd/unix/shell_reverse_tcp_telnet
  • cmd/unix/reverse_awk -> cmd/unix/shell_reverse_tcp_awk
  • cmd/unix/reverse_bash -> cmd/unix/shell_reverse_tcp_bash
  • cmd/unix/reverse_bash_telnet_ssl -> cmd/unix/shell_reverse_tcp_bash_telnet_ssl
  • cmd/unix/reverse_lua -> cmd/unix/shell_reverse_tcp_lua
  • cmd/unix/reverse_netcat -> cmd/unix/shell_reverse_tcp_netcat
  • cmd/unix/reverse_netcat_gaping -> cmd/unix/shell_reverse_tcp_netcat_gaping
  • cmd/unix/reverse_nodejs -> cmd/unix/shell_reverse_tcp_nodejs
  • cmd/unix/reverse_openssl -> cmd/unix/shell_reverse_tcp_openssl
  • cmd/unix/reverse_perl -> cmd/unix/shell_reverse_tcp_perl
  • cmd/unix/reverse_perl_ssl -> cmd/unix/shell_reverse_tcp_perl_ssl
  • cmd/unix/reverse_php_ssl -> cmd/unix/shell_reverse_tcp_php_ssl
  • cmd/unix/reverse_python -> cmd/unix/shell_reverse_tcp_python
  • cmd/unix/reverse_python_ssl -> cmd/unix/shell_reverse_tcp_python_ssl
  • cmd/unix/reverse_ruby -> cmd/unix/shell_reverse_tcp_ruby
  • cmd/unix/reverse_ruby_ssl -> cmd/unix/shell_reverse_tcp_ruby_ssl
  • cmd/unix/reverse_ssl_double_telnet -> cmd/unix/shell_reverse_tcp_ssl_double_telnet
  • cmd/unix/reverse_zsh -> cmd/unix/shell_reverse_tcp_zsh
  • cmd/windows/bind_lua -> cmd/windows/shell_bind_tcp_lua
  • cmd/windows/bind_perl -> cmd/windows/shell_bind_tcp_perl
  • cmd/windows/bind_perl_ipv6 -> cmd/windows/shell_bind_tcp_perl_ipv6
  • cmd/windows/bind_ruby -> cmd/windows/shell_bind_tcp_ruby
  • cmd/windows/download_eval_vbs -> cmd/windows/download_eval_vbs
  • cmd/windows/download_exec_vbs -> cmd/windows/download_exec_vbs
  • cmd/windows/generic -> cmd/windows/exec
  • cmd/windows/reverse_lua -> cmd/windows/shell_reverse_tcp_lua
  • cmd/windows/reverse_perl -> cmd/windows/shell_reverse_tcp_perl
  • cmd/windows/reverse_ruby -> cmd/windows/shell_reverse_tcp_ruby

Difficulties

Changing module names always entails a backwards compatibility issue.

  1. Experienced users are used to the old names and may be confused and annoyed by the change. This is mitigated somewhat by the fact that these payloads are probably used less often than other architectures, and thus users will have less ingrained muscle memory for them.
  2. It will break users' existing RC scripts that set payloads to any of the renamed modules.

I think consistency across platforms and architectures is more important and will result in less confusion overall.