B602: subprocess_popen_with_shell_equals_true

bandit.plugins.injection_shell.subprocess_popen_with_shell_equals_true(context, config)[source]

B602: Test for use of popen with shell equals true

Python possesses many mechanisms to invoke an external executable. However, doing so may present a security issue if appropriate care is not taken to sanitize any user provided or variable input.

This plugin test is part of a family of tests built to check for process spawning and warn appropriately. Specifically, this test looks for the spawning of a subprocess using a command shell. This type of subprocess invocation is dangerous as it is vulnerable to various shell injection attacks. Great care should be taken to sanitize all input in order to mitigate this risk. Calls of this type are identified by a parameter of ‘shell=True’ being given.

Additionally, this plugin scans the command string given and adjusts its reported severity based on how it is presented. If the command string is a simple static string containing no special shell characters, then the resulting issue has low severity. If the string is static, but contains shell formatting characters or wildcards, then the reported issue is medium. Finally, if the string is computed using Python’s string manipulation or formatting operations, then the reported issue has high severity. These severity levels reflect the likelihood that the code is vulnerable to injection.

See also:

  • ../plugins/linux_commands_wildcard_injection
  • ../plugins/subprocess_without_shell_equals_true
  • ../plugins/start_process_with_no_shell
  • ../plugins/start_process_with_a_shell
  • ../plugins/start_process_with_partial_path

Config Options:

This plugin test shares a configuration with others in the same family, namely shell_injection. This configuration is divided up into three sections, subprocess, shell and no_shell. They each list Python calls that spawn subprocesses, invoke commands within a shell, or invoke commands without a shell (by replacing the calling process) respectively.

This plugin specifically scans for methods listed in subprocess section that have shell=True specified.


    # Start a process using the subprocess module, or one of its
        - subprocess.Popen
        - subprocess.call
>> Issue: subprocess call with shell=True seems safe, but may be
changed in the future, consider rewriting without shell
   Severity: Low   Confidence: High
   Location: ./examples/subprocess_shell.py:21
20  subprocess.check_call(['/bin/ls', '-l'], shell=False)
21  subprocess.check_call('/bin/ls -l', shell=True)

>> Issue: call with shell=True contains special shell characters,
consider moving extra logic into Python code
   Severity: Medium   Confidence: High
   Location: ./examples/subprocess_shell.py:26
26  subprocess.Popen('/bin/ls *', shell=True)
27  subprocess.Popen('/bin/ls %s' % ('something',), shell=True)

>> Issue: subprocess call with shell=True identified, security issue.
   Severity: High   Confidence: High
   Location: ./examples/subprocess_shell.py:27
26  subprocess.Popen('/bin/ls *', shell=True)
27  subprocess.Popen('/bin/ls %s' % ('something',), shell=True)
28  subprocess.Popen('/bin/ls {}'.format('something'), shell=True)

New in version 0.9.0.