Awk – Part 1 – Printing the 5th word in a line of text to std output


To kick off ‘Project Bash’ located here I’m going to be talking about Awk. Awk is a text processing tool that can be used to manipulate text in a line in bash. There are many uses of awk so I have called this one Part 1. In Part 1 we are going to use awk to select a word in a line of text, this can be very useful if we want a specific value in a line of text like the 5th word and want to iterate that through each line in a file. Take the following example:

So we have just used Nmap to ping sweep a subnet and want to create a target IP list from the results, we send the output to a file called alive.txt. check out the below:

Awk Part 1

If we break the command down:

The first command ‘Cat alive.txt’ prints out the contents of the file alive.txt to std output (ie into bash). We then pipe the out to a second command. We then use the command ‘grep “report”‘ to find all lines with the word ‘report’ in:

Then finally using ‘awk ‘{print $5}’ to print the 5th word in the line using the variable $5.

Changing the variable in the awk command to ‘$2’ prints the 2nd word in the line:

As you will probably agree this is powerful tool, especially when you need to clean up some out. There are multiple ways we can do the above this is just one of them. Ace!


Sed – Part 2 – To remove text from a line.

Sed – To remove text from a line.

To remove specific characters or portion of text from a line in Linux in bash we can use sed. In the below example we want to specifically remove ‘BARRY\’ from a line everything within the square brackets [text to remove] is removed, so we use:



Sed – Part 1 – How to add a word/text to the end of each line of a file in Linux

How to add a word/text to the end of each line of a file in Linux

In this example we are going to use ‘sed’ to add a word to the end of each line in a text file in Linux using bash one liner! Why would we want to do this? Multiple reasons if your penetration tester. Creating user name lists or adding ports to the end of IP addresses for example. Sed is used to perform basic text transformations you can read more about it here.

So for example if we wanted to add ‘:80’ to the end of each line for a list of IP address we would do the following:

for example

sed ‘s/$/:80/’ IP.txt >  new_IP.txt

Or  if we found we wanted to add ‘adm’ to the end of each line in a list of user names we would also use sed.

Having these small bash commands to hand is super useful. As a penetration tester I am always find that I need to script something in Bash or PowerShell or needing to produce one liners. Having these commands to ready and waiting saves time looking them up. Hopefully you will also find them useful. Don’t forget the man pages for bash commands. Practice, practice and more practice.