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Powercat bind shell not working: Quick Fix

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  • 2 min read

There are a lot of things to account for when pen testing a network. Getting a bind shell to work isn’t exactly the easiest process in the world, but it does allow you to interact with the target machine. Of course, this means jumping several hurdles to get to an open listener. As such, bind shells usually fail when run on a well-protected machine. 

In this article, we’re taking a look at Powercat bind shells not working, the reason behind it and what you can do to fix the problem.

What causes this error?

Bind shells can fail for a number of reasons, including but not limited to the following.

  • Target machine has a firewall blocking open listeners.
  • Bind shell script has latency causing connection drops. 
  • Using a VPN or proxy. 
  • Powercat isn’t installed properly.

Also read: How to fix Playfab network error in session?

How to fix this?

For those who don’t know, Powercat is the Windows equivalent of Netcat, a Linux-based network scanning tool. Powercat works on Powershell version 2 and later, so it’s important to have the prerequisites in place before you can play around with Powercat.

Additionally, you need to load the powercat function in Powershell before it can be executed. The best way to do this is to download the Powercat PS1 file from the official Github repository and use the following command to load it into Powershell. 

. .\powercat.ps1

Keep in mind that an improperly loaded powercat function will either not function or introduce problems in the network scanning pipeline. If you don’t want to download the function and load it locally, you can also load it using a URL.

 IEX (New-Object System.Net.Webclient).DownloadString('')

Other solutions include disabling the firewall on the target computer or opening up ports. But since you likely won’t have access to the target machine during testing, it’s best to ensure that Powercat is working fine for you in addition to the other tools in your testing pipeline. 

Also read: What is HonHaipr device on your WiFi network?


Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here: [email protected]