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This content is taken from the Coventry University & Institute of Coding's online course, Basics of Network Security. Join the course to learn more.

Set up a virtual lab

Download the virtual machines (VMs) required for the exercise from our repository and configure your own virtual lab.

Disclaimer: These machines should not be used in a production environment as they are only configured to serve as a demonstration, and as such are inherently insecure in configuration. This does not mean that you are in any form of danger doing these exercises, but you should only use these machines to practice as instructed in the tasks.


The instructions on how to set up your first local virtual lab are provided below. You will download the VMs from our server and run them locally on your computer.

In order to run the virtual machine you will need to download and install VMware Player (if you are running on Windows or Linux). It is free for non-commercial educational use and you can get it from VMware website (500MB). If you are running a Mac you will need VMware Fusion (500MB), select ‘download now’.

For this course you will need to download three VMs from our repository.

  • CUEHaliLight
  • COSserver
  • SecurityOnion

Side note: The repository mentions that you should always verify the checksums before uncompressing and running the VMs.

  • Why do you think this is a good idea?
  • How can this be achieved on your platform? (Windows, MacOS, Linux)?

Discuss this matter below.

Once you have downloaded the VMs, extract the archive and double click on the VMware virtual machine (.vmx) file which will open the VM in VMware Player.

Important: When you run the VM for the first time, VMware will ask you whether you have copied the VM or moved it. You must select ‘Moved’.

The first VM you need this week is CUEHaliLight – this is a customised version of Kali Linux which has everything you need for this course and has been configured to work with the other VMs from our virtual lab. Once the VM has booted, you can login using username root and password toor.

The second VM you will need this week is a target – we will use COSserver. You can use username root and password qwe123! to login to the machine.

You should now be ready for this week’s practical exercise.

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This article is from the free online course:

Basics of Network Security

Coventry University