A shellcode is a small piece of executable code used as a payload, built to exploit vulnerabilities in a system or carry out malicious commands. The name comes from the fact that the shellcode usually starts a command shell which allows the attacker to control the compromised machine.
Shellcodes can be crafted to take advantage of specific software vulnerabilities, allowing attackers to bypass security measures and gain control over a compromised system. They are also used in cybersecurity fields like penetration testing.
See also: secure shell, payload, vulnerabilities
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