6 steps to Create a Virtual Hacking Lab

Hello!

As a new guy in the hacking world, I bet you'd want to know how to create a virtual hacking lab. If you don't know what this is or you just don't care enough to create one, I suggest you read this post thoroughly because it is highly essential.


How to Create a Virtual Hacking Lab



The hacking lab creates a safe environment to practice your hacks. This way you won't have to worry about the risk of failure when trying a hack in the real world because any slip off can be devastating.


Hacking isn't like most professions. In most, you fail and dust yourself off. But in this, you fail and probably spend some time behind bars. This makes practising very important, and this is where the virtual hacking lab comes in.


Many newbies find it pretty difficult to set up a dedicated lab to practice hacks. This article does justice to this problem.

I'll be breaking the tutorial down in 6 steps to make it easier to comprehend;


  1. Download VMware Workstation or Player
  2. Download Kali VMware Images
  3. Unzip Images
  4. Open VMware Image
  5. Download & Install Targets
  6. Download Old Applications

Let's go!

Step 1: Download VMware Workstation or Player

You should practice hacking within a virtual environment. You set up a hacking system like Kali Linux, and some victims to exploit. Essentially, you'll likely want multiple OS and software to enable you try out a variety of hacks.

How to Create a Virtual Hacking Lab


Virtual machines and a virtual network offer the safest way to set up a hacking lab. 


There are numerous virtualization systems available, including Oracle's VirtualBox, KVM, Microsoft's Virtual PC and Hyper-V, Citrix, and VMware's Workstation, VMware Player and ESXi.


In a case of a lab environment, I recommend VMware's Workstation or Player. The workstation is a purchasable product that costs as high as $200 after the free 30-day trial, while the Player is free-to-use.


The difference between these two is that the Workstation can both create and play, while the Player is used to just play VMs.


Download VMware's Workstation or Player here.


Step 2; Download Kali VMware Images

After you must have installed the virtualization system, your next step is to download the VMware images of Linux(provided by offensive language). These images help you to run from Workstation or player instead of creating a virtual machine. 



These images have already been created by Offensive Security. This basically means that you can then use it in either Workstation or Player once you download the VM of Kali.


Step 3; Unzip Images

You need to unzip the downloaded files using one of the several free available zip utilities like WinZip, WinArchiver, etc. 


Download and install the one that suits your fancy and unzip the files. The screenshot below shows the unzipped Kali files using the free trial of WinZip.



Step 4; Open VMware Image

When you must have unzipped all the files, your next step is to open up the virtual machine. Be sure to know the location you unzipped the VM image.

Next is to open the Player or the VMware Workstation. Go to file and open like in the below image.

How to Create a Virtual Hacking Lab


This opens a window like in the below image.


This shows the VMware VM file that you're gonna load into VMware. Note that I'm using the "amd64" which is simply the 64-bit version. The 32-bit version will work though, but a lil bit slower.

Next, after you do so, VMware starts your VM and displays the below image.





Now, hit the little green button in your screen that says "Power on this virtual machine." It will now display a Kali screen.

How to Create a Virtual Hacking Lab

Use "root" as User and "toor" as Password to get started hacking!


Step 5; Download & Install Targets

Now, download and install your target system. You could use your own host Windows system since this is merely a practice, you might wanna use an older and easier to hack system. 


I recommend installing a Windows Vista, XP, Server 2003, or an older version of Linux. You can use these systems to practice hacking since they have known security vulnerabilities. Later, when you think you're climbing up the ladder, you can now install and use Windows 7 and 8 for your hacks.


If you don't have a copy of these older OS, you can easily purchase them on the internet. At last check, it was sold for as low as $9.66 on Amazon, but that can change anytime.


Alternatively, you can get these OS for free on torrent sites, but BEWARE!..you'll likely be downloading more than you bargained for.


These free downloads often come with rootkits that embed in your system when you open the file.


You can get older versions of Linux from the distribution.

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Step 6; Download Old Applications

Now that you have your operating system, you're gonna be needing apps and software to run on these older versions. These older versions have plenty known security flaws that you can check your hacking skills.


You can use the website "Old Apps" to download many of these.

How to Create a Virtual Hacking Lab

Hit me up in the comment section if you got stuff to say or add on how to create a virtual hacking lab.


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