I’ve been thinking about something I hear from people often. “I can’t afford a hacking lab, so how can I practice legally?” It’s something that I have never struggled with, but for some reason, seems to be used as some kind of “Pass” for hacking random systems as long as no damage is done. Let me be clear, Hacking any system without permission is not only illegal but immoral and ill-advised.
The Key Components of a Hacking Lab:
Before we start building the lab, we must first define what the key pieces of the lab are. Since most lab environments are meant to emulate a real life network or situation, what you will need is a server, router, and attack computer. I fall victim to the fantasy of what I “Want” in my lab. The big powerful server(s) and multiple routers, subnets, and a super-powerful elite laptop for attacking it all from. however, that just isn’t the case of what you NEED in most cases.
You can use any old computer for a server, a server simply means a dedicated computer to run software. If you upgrade to a new PC, use your old one as a server and attack it, why not? if all else fails, set up a Virtual machine.
I say you need a router, so you can create your own sub-net on your network, protecting all the other computers from your attacks and traffic manipulation. You can buy a brand new wireless router for $50 at best buy, so if you look around for refurbished, or used routers, you can likely score one for free or near free.
you already have an attacker machine, its the machine you’re sitting in front of right now, or the one you have your hacking tools installed on. if you are just starting with hacking and don’t know what tools you’ll need, boot a live disk of Backtrack Linux, it comes preloaded with many of the tools that pen-testers need.
The bottom line is that there is absolutely no excuse to need to attack a network or computer that is not your own when you do not have permission to do so. Attacking any system that doesn’t belong to you can land you in jail, or at least get you a few hefty fees to pay.