Pacu – AWS Exploitation Framework

Pacu is an open source AWS exploitation framework created and maintained by Rhino Security Labs to assist in offensive security testing against cloud environments. Pacu allows penetration testers to exploit configuration flaws within an AWS environment using an extensible collection of modules with a diverse feature-set.

Current modules enable a range of attacks, including user privilege escalation, backdooring of IAM users, attacking vulnerable Lambda functions, and much more.


Pacu is a fairly lightweight program, as it requires only Python3.5+ and pip3 to install a handful of Python libraries. Running will check your Python version and ensure all Python packages are up to date.

Quick Installation

  > git clone
  > cd pacu
  > bash
  > python3

For a more detailed and user-friendly set of user instructions, please check out the Wiki’s installation guide.

sandcastle: AWS S3 bucket enumeration

Pacu’s Modular Power

Pacu uses a range of plug-in modules to assist an attacker in enumeration, privilege escalation, data exfiltration, service exploitation, and log manipulation within AWS environments. At present, Pacu has 36 modules for executing AWS attacks, but we’ll be working hard to add more modules in the future, and suggestions for new modules (or even contributions of whole completed modules) are welcome.

In order to keep pace with ongoing AWS product developments, we’ve designed Pacu from the ground up with extensibility in mind. A common syntax and data structure keeps modules easy to build and expand on – no need to specify AWS regions or make redundant permission checks between modules. A local SQLite database is used to manage and manipulate retrieved data, minimizing API calls (and associated logs). Reporting and attack auditing is also built into the framework; Pacu assists the documentation process through command logging and exporting, helping build a timeline for the testing process.

We’ll be working on improve Pacu’s core capabilities and building out a well-documented ecosystem so that cybersecurity researchers and developers can make new modules quickly and easily.


We’re always happy to get bugs reports in the Pacu framework itself, as well as testing and feedback on different modules, and generally critical feedback to help refine the framework. We hope to see this grow into a key open-source tool for testing AWS security, and we need your help to make that happen! Any support towards this effort through use, testing, improvement, or just by spreading the word, would be very much appreciated.

If you’re interested in contributing directly to the Pacu Framework itself, please read our contribution guidelines for code conventions and git flow notes.

Developing Pacu Modules

If you’re interested in writing your own modules for Pacu, check out our Module Development wiki page. As you develop new capabilities please reach out to us — we’d love to add your new modules into the core collection that comes with Pacu.

Pacu Framework Development Goals

  • Improve interface formatting
  • Database forward-migrations and version tracking
  • “Attack Playbooks” to allow for easier use of complex module execution chains
  • Colored console output
  • Module Dry-Run functionality
  • Allow use of standalone config files
  • Plugin architecture improvements


  • Pacu is officially supported in OSX and Linux.
  • Pacu is Open-Source Software, and is distributed with a BSD-3-Clause License.

Getting Started

The first time Pacu is launched, you will be prompted to start and name a new session. This session will be used to store AWS key pairs, as well as any data obtained from running various modules. You can have any number of different sessions in Pacu, each with their own sets of AWS keys and data, and resume a session at any time (though a restart is currently required to switch between sessions).

Modules require an AWS key, which grant you minimal access to an AWS environment and are comprised of an access key ID and a secret access key. To set your session’s keys, use the set_keys command, and then follow the prompts to supply a key alias (nickname for reference), an AWS access key ID, an AWS secret access key, and an AWS session token (if you are using one).

If you are ever stuck, help will bring up a list of commands that are available.

DAws – Advanced Web Shell

Basic Commands in Pacu

  • list will list the available modules for the regions that were set in the current session.
  • help module_name will return the applicable help information for the specified module.
  • run module_name will run the specified module with its default parameters.
  • run module_name --regions eu-west-1,us-west-1 will run the specified module against the eu-west-1 and us-west-1 regions (for modules that support the –regions argument)

Submitting Requests / Bug Reports

  • Report vulnerabilities in Pacu directly to us via email: [email protected] .
  • Pacu creates error logs within each session’s folder, as well as a global error log for out-of-session errors which is created in the main directory. If you can, please include these logs with your bug reports, as it will dramatically simplify the debugging process.
  • If you have a feature request, an idea, or a bug to report, please submit them here.
    • Please include a description sufficient to reproduce the bug you found, including tracebacks and reproduction steps, and check for other reports of your bug before filing a new bug report. Don’t submit duplicates.


For walkthroughs and full documentation, please visit the Pacu wiki.


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