argvArgv to run the command with.list of string (required)
sepThe separator that will be used to split the stdout into rows.string
lengthSize of buffer to capture output per row.int64
envEnvironment variables to launch with.LazyExpr
cwdIf specified we change to this working directory first.string

Required Permissions: EXECVE


This plugin launches an external command and captures its STDERR, STDOUT and return code. The command’s stdout is split using the sep parameter as required.

This plugin is mostly useful for running arbitrary code on the client. If you do not want to allow arbitrary code to run, you can disable this by setting the prevent_execve flag in the client’s config file. Be aware than many artifacts require running external commands to collect their output though.

We do not actually transfer the external program to the system automatically. If you need to run programs which are not usually installed (e.g. Sysinternal’s autoruns.exe) you will need to use Velociraptor’s external tools feature to deliver and manage the tools on the client.


NOTE: The plugin receives an array of arguments which are passed to the execve() system call as an array (on Windows they are properly escaped into a command line). This means that you do not need to escape or quote any special characters in the command.

We noticed people often do this or variations on it:

LET PathToCacls = "C:/Program Files"
LET CommandLine <= "cacls.exe " + '"' + PathToCacls + '"'
SELECT * FROM execve(argv=["powershell", "-c", CommandLine])

While this appears to work it is incorrect, fragile and susceptible to a simple shell injection (for example if the PathToCacls contains quotes).

As a rule we prefer to not run commands through the shell at all since it is not needed and unsafe. The correct approach is always to split the argv into an array of distinct arguments:

LET PathToCacls = "C:/Program Files"
SELECT * FROM execve(argv=["cacls.exe", PathToCacls])

This calls the program directly and is not susceptible to escaping or quoting issues (since there is no shell involved). Additionally it does not invoke powershell which means that any execution artifacts are not trampled by this VQL.