Build Your Own Home Cyber Range: Part 2

Command Line

Low-level computer commands such as rebooting and shutting down are best issued via command line in Linux, in case other applications and services have crashed. From the Ubuntu Linux desktop, you can access the command line by selecting your apps menu and opening Terminal Emulator.


Secure Shell (SSH) lets us remotely access the command line of our Ubuntu box. The industry once upon a time used Telnet for this purpose, but SSH via port 22 is more modern and supports password authentication and encrypted session traffic. To establish SSH access, install an OpenSSH server on the Ubuntu box. Ubuntu usually comes prepackaged with an SSH client, but you’ll need the OpenSSH server package in order to host SSH protocol and connect from an external system.


On Windows 10, the de facto software to access another computer’s desktop is the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) on port 3389. It’s by no means a high-security solution, but the low latency and simplicity of use are much appreciated on a local computer-to-computer connection. The catch in our case is that we’re not connecting to another Windows PC; we’re connecting to Ubuntu Linux, so we’ll need to load some software to help Ubuntu use the RDP protocol. XRDP to the rescue! XRDP will allow you to use RDP from a Windows 10 PC to establish persistent remote desktop access to the virtualization server. To use XRDP, you’ll need to install it on the Ubuntu box first. Here are the commands:


The last consideration for administering a home cyber range remotely is how to transfer files to and fro efficiently over the home network. The easiest solution for this in lieu of a home file server is using WinSCP to facilitate the drag-and-drop file transfer. WinSCP authenticates using your Ubuntu credentials via port 22 and can save your credentials in a convenient fashion.


Our home cyber range is starting to come together. Now that we have three ways to communicate with the Ubuntu system (SSH, RDP, and SCP), we can store the hardware in a more convenient location and free up desk space for our personal system only. If this process intrigues you, join us for our Code Fellows Ops 102 virtual workshop, where we perform this home lab setup together as a group.



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