Building a pen-testing Lab in 2020

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Hacking can be defined as
“the art of finding the working of any object and of finding any weakness in that working in order to exploit it in one’s advantage, or to fulfill one of the strongest human urge ie. Curiosity

In terms of todays Digital World we can define hacking as the

” Attempt to exploit a computer system or a private network’s weakness to get inside a computer. Simply put, it is the unauthorized access to get control over computer network or a system for some illicit purpose.”

You can learn more about hacking here

Ethical hacking is a term used to describe hacking done by a person/individual to identify the potential vulnerabilities or weakness in the system that could be exploited by a malicious hacker.

Hacking without knowledge and permission of the target is illegal.

It is always recommended to set up our own lab and practice hacking.

Now you have made up your mind that you also want to control the whole world from your system. You also want the glory and coolness of hackers you see on the TV. But you have no idea of where to practice your cool tricks?

The answer is setting up a pentesting lab.

Now there are various ways of doing it like.

  • You can set up different hardware for attackers and victims. : Most effective but very costly.
  • You can buy subscriptions for online Pentesting labs. : Costly and you dont get to understand the virtulization technology.
  • You can set up a pentesting lab on your own in your system.

To set up your own pentesting lab we will make use of the Virtulization technology. For those of you who dont understand

In computing, virtualization refers to the act of creating a virtual (rather than actual) version of something, including virtual computer hardware platforms, storage devices, and computer network resources.

If you didn’t quite understand the statement above I’ll break it down here. If you understood it skip this part.

A virtual machine is basically a computer you’re simulating on top of the operating system that resides on your computer. It pulls resources such as memory, CPU, and hard drive space from your primary machine. When it comes to networking Virtualbox will make a virtual network adapter on your computer and pass network traffic through it. Snapshots are basically save points of the operating system.

Hence for setting up this lab we will use the concept of virtualization to deploy multiple different full working machines or systems on your PC.

Its not all blue and green yet, to host multiple machines on your system your system needs to be upto some minimum specification so that it can bear the load of the machines.

Minimum Requirements

  • i3 / Fx 8320 / A10/ Ryzen 3
  • 6 gb of RAM
  • Integrated graphics will do the job
  • 80 Gb of storage space

Recommended Requirements( Higher the better)

  • i5 or anything higher
  • 8 gb of RAM
  • A dedicated Graphic Card
  • 100+ Gb of storage
  • Also a second monitor to work properly is must.

Now once you have your hardware, lets move to more intresting part i.e. the softwares needed.

Here you get to choose if you want to go full OpenSource or you want to spent some mony.

My recommendation is to go full opensource.

Software Requirements

Above all are virtual box images meaning you dont need to perform full installation. You just need to install the Virtual Box and then double click on the ISOs.

Now to start with the setup download above mentioned softwares.

And in case of ISOs go with the one labelling Virtual Box not VMware.


  1. Download all required files
  2. Install Virtual Box with the default settings.
  3. Ensure Virtual Box is closed and install the Virtual Box Extension Pack for the version of Virtual Box you’re installing.
  4. Now goto your Kali linux ISO, unzip it and double click on it.
  5. It will automatically launch Virtual Box and initiate the Kali linux.
  6. Do the same with the target ISOs of Windows10 test Image & Metasploitable 2 .

Now for the most important part

Your machines need to be in the same network in order for you to be able to perform pentesting on them. To do this follow this video.

And voila you have your own Penetration Testing lab set up.

Why Pentesting lab ?

  • It provide a safe enironment to test various viruses and trozens which can get out of hand quickly.
  • Cheap.
  • Legal.
  • Ethical.
  • Easy to control.
  • If things go south you can easily start fresh.

Happy Hacking


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