We all have been stuck in a National Cyber League (NCL) challenge. It is the most frustrating thing that could happen to us. So far, you have been using the CryptoKait site as your source of information to complete the challenges. However, you feel that you need an additional source to help you through some of the most problematic challenges.
I believe it is essential to have access to a virtual machine (VM) to safely practice your pen-testing and solve some of the NCL challenges. A VM is necessary because it offers different tools to solve some of the NCL challenges safely and without compromising the Game rules. You can use tools like Wireshark for log analysis, Hashcat for password cracking, aircrack-ng for wireless passwords, etc. You can also use the command prompt to become familiar with the command line.
To gain access to a VM, you want to download either VirtualBox or VMware. Once you download the hypervisor of your choosing, decide which operating system (OS) you want to work with. I suggest you choose Linux and Windows. You should select those two operating systems because you want to be exposed to them as much as possible, especially Windows. The truth is that in the cybersecurity world, you will mostly be involved with Windows OS, so the more practice you have, the better you’ll get. For in-depth instructions on setting up a VM, check out Hush1e’s blog here and the Setting Up a VM blog tag.
As you get ready to navigate through Linux, put your curiosity hat on, and explore the different tools available that can be used for some of the NCL challenges. When using software tools for the NCL Games, remember that there are restrictions on the tools you can and can’t use. I suggest you always search on the CryptoKait site (Taisa tries to keep an up-to-date list here) or ask the Player Ambassadors (PAs) on the Cyber Skyline Slack (keep in mind, you will not be able to access Slack unless you have a Cyber Skyline account). Additionally, be sure to read all of the instructions on every challenge because the instructions will tell you if there are certain tools you are not permitted to use for that challenge.
Now that you have the CryptoKait site on one screen and a VM on the other, you are ready to tackle those challenges that once deprived you of your sleep. I can assure you that you will have peace of mind using the VM as a second source and have more fun playing the Game.
Let the Games begin!