Bypass Terminal Services/Citrix to gain access to command line from IE

 bypass Terminal Services Remote Apps/ Citrix XenApp to gain access to command line from Internet Explorer

Today, a friend of mine who works in our security team, shared with me a slick way to bypass published applications (in our case IE) to gain command line and PowerShell access.

Although users will have access based on his permissions; so if he is a user he won’t be able to do much, yet , in my opinion it bypasses the hall point of Remote Apps/ Citrix XenApp and gives the user access to execution capabilities on the server, if he is a knowledgeable enough, he will be able to compromise the server.


XenApp 6.5 Server on Windows Server 2008 R2 with all patches installed, Only IE published.

How to:

Since IE is published only, we assume that user has no execution capabilities on the server, to gain access to PowerShell or command line, do the following:

    • From IE open help.
    • Within help, search for notepad.
    • click on How I can How can I use my devices and resources in a Remote Desktop session?


  • Scroll down and click open notepad



  • once note pad opened (note that we have access to another application now), type in the file PowerShell and save the file as filename.bat.
  • once you saved the file, from Internet Explorer choose, file, Open and open the saved file and voilaaaa, you have powershell and cmd access.

although we can discuss for years if this is a security issue or not, I believe it is for some organizations and it sheds some light on a area where people can bypass a specific published application and gain execution mechanism on servers, Any thoughts ?!

3 thoughts on “Bypass Terminal Services/Citrix to gain access to command line from IE

  1. Disable the navigation bar on the IE if you are using published URL and don’t allow for the IE to be published directly. This way user can’t go to File->open and you won’t run into this issue.

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