How to Set Up a Personal Lab for Ethical Hacking?

Ethical hacking is a skill that is learned over time. It requires practice and patience to get to a decent skill level in this field. Having a lab setup handy can help you a lot in your learning. A lab lets you practice your skills in a controlled environment, reducing the risks that arise from practicing on real systems. Having your virtual lab will help you in many ways:

  • You can practice anytime as per your convenience.
  • You don’t have to put your data under the dangers of getting wiped because of malware infection.
  • You are also saved from legal troubles that may result from testing on a real website that you do not own.
  • You get the freedom to experiment and tweak around (mostly impossible with online labs). 

What is Ethical Hacking Lab?

Learning ethical hacking and becoming a skilled ethical hacker requires immense practice. For this, you need to set up a lab where you can try things that you learn. Moreover, if you practice on a real system, it can bring security risks. 

You can easily set up a virtual lab using some software and tools. We have mentioned all the requirements below:

Software Required for Ethical Hacking Lab Setup

Virtual Machine (VM) 

It is used to host your preferred OS, test servers, vulnerable machines, etc. You can choose hypervisors by VMware, Oracle, Microsoft, or any other option. 


  • VMware workstation or vSphere

  • Oracle VirtualBox 

  • Microsoft HyperV

  • Citrix Xenserver


Unpatched OS

Along with your preferred OS, you will also need an unpatched operating system for testing the vulnerabilities. 

Vulnerable VMs

The role of having vulnerable virtual machines is to help you apply your skills to find and fix the vulnerabilities. You can go for popular vulnerable VMs like BadStore, DVWA, OWASP broken web application, or Metasploitable.

Hardware Required to Setup Ethical Hacking lab

  • Desktop/laptop with a minimum of 4GB of RAM. 

  • A host OS for your computer system. It can be Windows, Linux( any family, any flavor) or Mac OS depending on your choice. 

  • A large HDD or SSD to store your tools and other important files.

  • Wi-fi connectivity. 

  • Latest security patches must be installed on your guest OS before you start.

Ethical Hacking Tools for Lab

After having the required hardware and software in place, it is time for you to install some tools on your system to implement your skills.

Kali Linux

It is one of the best-operating systems when it comes to practicing ethical hacking and learning penetration testing. You will find various types of tools in Kali Linux to fulfill most of your requirements. 

John The Ripper

It is free software for cracking passwords. John The Ripper is the preference of numerous ethical hackers for penetration testing because it supports fifteen platforms. 


This is a good tool for penetration testing of web apps. You can practice how to hack web applications in an ethical way.

Burp Suite

It is another tool to prefer for application security testing. You can choose one from Burp Suite and OWASP ZAP. 

Metasploit Framework (MSF)

Metasploit is an open-source project in the cybersecurity field, offering information about various vulnerabilities. It is also available as a tool that helps you in penetration testing and developing IDS signature. 


This tool is mostly used by network admins for troubleshooting network issues, analysis, capturing traffic on local networks like Ethernet, Bluetooth, etc. You can use the WireShark tool for network pentesting to find and fix issues in the network that may cause loss of confidential data over an unencrypted network.


It is a free-to-use and open-source network scanner. You can use it for security auditing and discovering networks. It can also perform detection of operating systems and network ports. 

Anonymous Settings


  1. Download TOR

  2. gedit Start-tor-browser

  3. Search root (Comment this all out)


  1. nano /etc/proxychains.conf

  2. Remove Comment (dynamic_chain)

  3. Add Comment (strict_chain)

  4. proxy_dns should not be comment

  5. Have a look over Example add proxy list using internet

  6. Now open firefox using proxychains proxychains firefox

  7. Visit

 MAC Changer

  1. Open terminal macchanger 

  2. macchanger –s eth0

  3. macchanger –e eth0

  4. macchanger –r eth0 (random MAC )

  5. macchanger –r eth0

  6. macchanger –l eth0 (list of mac address)

  7. macchanger –m 08:00:46:12:ac:22 eth0

  8. all broadcast Mac

  9. MAC Lookup website –  

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