October 30

Linux: How to encrypt a bash shell script using SHC

1. Download shc and install it

Download shc and install it as shown below.

# wget http://www.datsi.fi.upm.es/~frosal/sources/shc-3.8.7.tgz
# tar xvfz shc-3.8.7.tgz
# cd shc-3.8.7
# make

Verify that shc is installed properly.

$ ./shc -v
shc parse(-f): No source file specified

shc Usage: shc [-e date] [-m addr] [-i iopt] [-x cmnd] [-l lopt] [-rvDTCAh] -f script

2. Create a Sample Shell Script

Create a sample bash shell script that you like to encrypt using shc for testing purpose.

For testing purpose, let us create the following random.sh shell script which generates random numbers. You have to specify how many random numbers you like to generate.

$ vi random.sh

echo -n “How many random numbers do you want to generate? ”
read max

for (( start = 1; start <= $max; start++ ))
echo -e $RANDOM

$ ./random.sh
How many random numbers do you want to generate? 3

3. Encrypt the Shell Script Using shc

Encrypt the random.sh shell scripting using shc as shown below.

$ ./shc -f random.sh

This will create the following two files:

$ ls -l random.sh*
-rwxrw-r–. 1 ramesh ramesh 149 Mar 27 01:09 random.sh
-rwx-wx–x. 1 ramesh ramesh 11752 Mar 27 01:12 random.sh.x
-rw-rw-r–. 1 ramesh ramesh 10174 Mar 27 01:12 random.sh.x.c

random.sh is the original unencrypted shell script
random.sh.x is the encrypted shell script in binary format
random.sh.x.c is the C source code of the random.sh file. This C source code is compiled to create the above encrypted random.sh.x file. The whole logic behind the shc is to convert the random.sh shell script to random.sh.x.c C program (and of course compile that to generate the random.sh.x executable)

$ file random.sh
random.sh: Bourne-Again shell script text executable

$ file random.sh.x
random.sh.x: ELF 64-bit LSB executable, x86-64, version 1 (SYSV), dynamically linked (uses shared libs), for GNU/Linux 2.6.18, stripped

$ file random.sh.x.c
random.sh.x.c: ASCII C program text

4. Execute the Encrypted Shell Script

Now, let us execute the encrypted shell script to make sure it works as expected.

$ ./random.sh.x
How many random numbers do you want to generate? 3

Please note that the binary itself is still dependent on the shell (the first line provided in the random.sh. i.e /bin/bash) to be available to execute the script.
5. Specifying Expiration Date for Your Shell Script

Using shc you can also specify an expiration date. i.e After this expiration date when somebody tries to execute the shell script, they’ll get an error message.

Let us say that you don’t want anybody to execute the random.sh.x after 31-Dec-2011 (I used last year date for testing purpose).

Create a new encrypted shell script using “shc -e” option to specify expiration date. The expiration date is specified in the dd/mm/yyyy format.

$ ./shc -e 31/12/2011 -f random.sh

In this example, if someone tries to execute the random.sh.x, after 31-Dec-2011, they’ll get a default expiration message as shown below.

$ ./random.sh.x
./random.sh.x: has expired!
Please contact your provider

If you like to specify your own custom expiration message, use -m option (along with -e option as shown below).

$ ./shc -e 31/12/2011 -m “Contact [email protected] for new version of this script” -f random.sh

$ ./random.sh.x
./random.sh.x: has expired!
Contact [email protected] for new version of this script

6. Create Redistributable Encrypted Shell Scripts

Apart from -e, and -m (for expiration), you can also use the following options:

-r will relax security to create a redistributable binary that executes on other systems that runs the same operating system as the one on which it was compiled.
-T will allow the created binary files to be traceable using programs like strace, ltrace, etc.
-v is for verbose

Typically you might want to use both -r and -T option to craete a redistributable and tracable shell encrypted shell script as shown below.

$ ./shc -v -r -T -f random.sh
shc shll=bash
shc [-i]=-c
shc [-x]=exec ‘%s’ “$@”
shc [-l]=
shc opts=
shc: cc random.sh.x.c -o random.sh.x
shc: strip random.sh.x
shc: chmod go-r random.sh.x

$ ./random.sh.x
How many random numbers do you want to generate? 3

By R Natarajan

Copyright 2021. All rights reserved.

Posted October 30, 2012 by Timothy Conrad in category "Linux

About the Author

If I were to describe myself with one word it would be, creative. I am interested in almost everything which keeps me rather busy. Here you will find some of my technical musings. Securely email me using - PGP: 4CB8 91EB 0C0A A530 3BE9 6D76 B076 96F1 6135 0A1B