Hack To Learn - Environment Set Up

Hello and welcome to HaXeZ. In order to start hacking you will first need some tools. If you’re running a Windows based Operating System then you can install tools locally. However, a better solution might be to use a Virtual Machine. A virtual machine is an operating system that runs on top of your base Operating System. Furthermore, it is unlikely to affect your local Operating System. With this in mind, you can download all sorts of malicious software without worrying about it damaging your local Operating System. Although, there are attacks that can break out of your Virtual Machine but that’s something we can worry about later.

Choosing an Operating System

There are many different OS’s built specifically for penetration testing or hacking. However, I’m not going to discuss each one individually but feel free to check out any of the following; Kali, Parrot, Backbox and BlackArch. There are others out there but I believe these to be the main distributions. For the purposes of this article I’m going to be using Kali Linux.  

GET an Operating System

Firstly, head over to https://www.kali.org/get-kali/ and have a look around. There you will see a number of options including Virtual Machines.

Kali Linux Website
Kali Linux Website

If you click on the Virtual Machines option then it should take you to the part of the page where you have the option to download either a VMware or VirtualBox image. With this in mind, we need to make a decision about which hypervisor we want to use. To explain, a Hypervisor is the software that is going to run our Virtual Machine. Feel free to google the pros and cons of both VMWare and VirtualBox and make your own decision. However, I’m going to be using VirtualBox for the purposes of this demonstration.

Virtual Machines
Virtual Machines

Compatibility

Now it is important to download the correct version. If you’re on a modern version of Windows then you will likely need the 64 bit version. However, you can check which version you need by running the following command in an elevated Command Prompt (right click, run as administrator).

wmic os get osarchitecture
Operating System Architecture
Operating System Architecture

As shown above, my OSArchitecture is 64-bit which means I should download the 64-bit version. You can perform a direct download by clicking on the download arrow or if you’re feeling generous you can leach and seed the torrent file by using a torrent client.

GET a Hypervisor

While your Virtual Machine OS is downloading, head over to https://www.virtualbox.org/ and click the big blue button that says download VirtualBox. Once the file has finished downloading, locate it, double click it and install it.

VirtualBox Website
VirtualBox Website

Import Your Operating System

Once your Virtual Machine has finished downloading, open VirtualBox and click File > Import Appliance.

Import Operating System
Import Operating System

This will then spawn another window, if you click the file icon it should open a Windows Explorer Window and allow you to navigate to your Virtual Machine Appliance. Select it.

Select Your Appliance File
Select Your Appliance File

You should then see the configuration of the virtual machine. Don’t worry about this too much as most of it can be changed later. For now just make sure the installation file path is correct and click import.

Virtual Machine Operating System Settings
Virtual Machine Operating System Settings