36.8.1. Infected Shell Scripts
A brief warning about script security is indicated.
A shell script may contain a worm,
trojan, or even a
virus. For that reason, never run
as root a script (or permit it to
be inserted into the system startup scripts in /etc/rc.d) unless you have obtained
said script from a trusted source or you have carefully analyzed
it to make certain it does nothing harmful.
Various researchers at Bell Labs and other sites, including M.
Douglas McIlroy, Tom Duff, and Fred Cohen have investigated the
implications of shell script viruses. They conclude that it is
all too easy for even a novice, a "script kiddie,"
to write one.
Here is yet another reason to learn scripting. Being able to
look at and understand scripts may protect your system from
being compromised by a rogue script.
36.8.2. Hiding Shell Script Source
For security purposes, it may be necessary to render a script
unreadable. If only there were a utility to create a stripped
binary executable from a script. Francisco Rosales' shc --
generic shell script compiler does exactly that.
Unfortunately, according to an article in
the October, 2005 Linux Journal,
the binary can, in at least some cases, be decrypted to recover
the original script source. Still, this could be a useful
method of keeping scripts secure from all but the most skilled