As part of my “Getting Started with CTF” I decided I would write about getting the best setup to start doing “Capture The Flag” (CTF) challenges. As part of this I had to pick an OS to work with. So I decided to install Black Arch Linux as my choice of Operating System for CTFs and general learning of cybersecurity. You can read about why in my previous blog post!
However, I will not install from the BlackArch ISO. Instead I will install ArchLinux and build BlackArch on top. To me this is a much cleaner approach. Installing BlackArch or Kali gives you 1000s of tools that you know nothing about. This is not good for learning. By only installing what you need and when you need it will you learn more about the workings of Linux and have a much smaller installation to update when the time comes.
So, lets get started. To begin you need
- PC or Laptop running Windows with at least 8Gb of RAM
- A 4 core cpu from the last 4 years
- Oracle Virtual Box installed.
- Putty Installed
- Keyboard, mouse, screen and some old-fashioned Common sense.
Configure the VM,
Launch Oracle Virtual Box and create a new VM with a name, folder and at least 4096MB of RAM.
By default EFI is not enabled. You need to enable this or the server will not boot!
Add at least 2 Processors, the more the better.
For Networking add a bridged adapter, A bridged adapter allows direct (bridged) access to your network. This means you will get a ip address in the same range as your PC/Laptop and the ip will be controlled by DHCP running on your router. This is not always what you want as you may want to completely isolate your hacking environment from your home working environment. But that is beyond the scope of this guide.
For this Virtual Machine I added just 28GB of storage, but I quickly ran out so I would recommend you use at the very least 50GB
At this stage you should create a Shared Folder. When doing a CTF it’s sometimes very useful to be able to copy data between the Windows host and the Linux server. For the moment we won’t do the automount, but later after the installation we can enable it.
Get ArchLinux ISO
Go on over to ArchLinux and scroll to HTTP direct download and grab the latest ISO.
In the storage field inside settings, you can mount up the downloaded ISO from the previous step.
First Boot and Preparation for Installation.
So now we are ready to boot the installer for Arch, I will mostly follow the guide created by the ArchLinux team at https://wiki.archlinux.org/title/Installation_guide
Let’s boot it up,
So here right at the beginning I will deviate a bit from the Arch install guide. What we see here is called a console and a console has a lot of limitations. For one you can’t copy and paste into it. Which is a pain when you have to type everything. To make our life easier we can ssh into the installer. Yes, the installer is a fully functional Linux environment that we can ssh into.
First, we need the IP address, which we can grab by running the following command.
ip addr show dev enp0s3
We can see from the output that 192.168.1.192 is the ip address.
Now we update the root password to something simple and easy to remember.
Bang the IP into putty
Connect with the user root and password from last step.
We are logged in,
This makes everything so much easier.
Now back to following the ArchLinux installer guide.
Confirm you have internet access.
ping -c 2 www.google.com
Now we have got shell access and internet access. We can pause for a moment, take in some coffee and join me back for storage configuration in Part 102.
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