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Tags: scripts   testing   safely  
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Title: How can I test a shell script in a "safe environment" to avoid harm to my computer?
ID: /2019/05/06/How-can-I-test-a-shell-script-in-a-_safe-environment_-to-avoid-harm-to-my-computer_
Created: May 6, 2019    Edited:  June 12, 2020
Upload: November 24, 2022    Layout:  post
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As the school you are attending has published the scripts, the best place to voice your concerns is with your instructors.

That said we can help you decipher the code on a line by line basis. It is probably impractical for anyone here to analyze all the code.

You actually have 40 bash scripts with a total 5,360 lines. I’ve combined them together and looked for bash/shell commands that could be abused. They all appear to be used normally:

$ cat /tmp/sshellcheck.mrg | grep " rm "

      rm -rf "$RETURNPATH"/tmp/*
      rm -f "$RETURNPATH"/.mynorminette
    rm -f $LOGFILENAME
    rm -f $LOGFILENAME
      rm -f .mymoulitest
        rm -f "${RETURNPATH}/tmp/${FILEN}"

$ cat /tmp/sshellcheck.mrg | grep -i kill

  function check_kill_by_name
          kill $PROCESSID0
  declare -a CHK_MINISHELL_AUTHORIZED_FUNCS='(malloc free access open close read write opendir readdir closedir getcwd chdir stat lstat fstat fork execve wait waitpid wait3 wait4 signal kill exit main)'
        check_kill_by_name "${PROGNAME}"
      kill -0 "${CURRENT_CHILD_PROCESS_PID}" 2>/dev/null && kill "${CURRENT_CHILD_PROCESS_PID}" 2>/dev/null
      display_error "killed pid: ${CURRENT_CHILD_PROCESS_PID}"
    check_kill_by_name "$PROGNAME $PROGARGS"
        check_kill_by_name "$PROGNAME $PROGARGS"
        kill ${PID} 2>/dev/null

$ cat /tmp/sshellcheck.mrg | grep -i root

      "check_configure_select ROOT" "Root folder:          /"\
        echo "'${ALLOWED_FILES}' must be placed at root folder but was found here:" >>"${LOGFILENAME}"
        printf "%s" "'${ALLOWED_FILES}' must be placed at root folder"

$ cat /tmp/sshellcheck.mrg | grep -i sudo


It’s not human-readable bash scripts you need to worry about so much. It is compiled binary objects you cannot read that are cause for concern. For example a program called “shiny-bouncy-sphere” might paint something like that on your screen but in the background it could be erasing all your files.

Original answer

It is best to ask the author of the script what it does. Indeed you can almost post your question verbatim as it appears above.

Also ask the author:

And any other good questions you can think of.

Edit 1 - Worries about a malicious author.

You should only use software with lots of good public reviews. Alternately authors you trust here in Ask Ubuntu like Serge, Jacob, Colin King, etc. Other respected sites like Ask Ubuntu and their respected members should also be considered “non-malicious”.

The advantage of “respected authors” here in Ask Ubuntu is they stake their self-worth on “reputation points”. If they were to intentionally write code that “stole” or “damaged” data they would quickly loose their reputation. Indeed authors could suffer the “wrath of mods” and being suspended and/or having 10,000’s of reputation points taken away.

Edit 2 - Don’t follow all the instructions

I took a deeper look into your bash script instructions:

git clone ~/42FileChecker &&
    cd ~/42FileChecker &&
    bash ./

The “safe” method is to only run the first line:

git clone ~/42FileChecker

This downloads the scripts but doesn’t run them. Next use nautilus (file manager) to inspect the directories and files installed. Very quickly you discover there are a collection of bash scripts written by a group of students in France.

The purpose of the scripts is to compile and test C programs for improper functions and memory leaks.

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