SC2150 – ShellCheck Wiki

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-exec does not automatically invoke a shell. Use -exec sh -c .. for that.

Problematic code:

find . -type f -exec 'cat {} | wc -l' \;

Correct code:

find . -type f -exec sh -c 'cat {} | wc -l' \;         # Insecure
find . -type f -exec sh -c 'cat "$1" | wc -l' _ {} \;  # Secure

Sometimes the command can also be rewritten to not require find to invoke a shell:

find . -type f -exec wc -l {} \; | cut -d ' ' -f 1


find -exec and -execdir uses execve(2) style semantics, meaning it expects an executable and zero or more arguments that should be passed to it.

It does not use system(3) style semantics, meaning it does not accept a shell command as a string, to be parsed and evaluated by the system's command interpreter.

If you want find to execute a shell command, you have to specify sh (or bash) as the executable, -c as first argument and your shell command as the second.

To prevent command injection, the filename can be passed as a separate argument to sh and referenced as a positional parameter.


This warning would trigger falsely if executing a program with spaces in the path, if no other arguments were specified.

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