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Thread: Installing Kali for free on AWS

  1. #1
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    Installing Kali for free on AWS

    Kali has an official AMI on the AWS Marketplace, but it has a minimum instance requirement of t2.medium. I don't need metasploit or a GUI, so I was hoping to be able to use AWS on Free Tier, which covers one year of 24/7 service on t2/t3.micro (depending on region). I also tried the 2020.1a and 2019.4 Community AMIs with the same result: "The instance configuration for this AWS Marketplace product is not supported."

    I've found "how to install Kali on Linux" tutorials from the past few years which use the official AMI but install it on a t2.micro instance. So I guess either Kali or AWS has changed the way minimum requirements are enforced.

    As of now, what's the simplest way to get Kali running for free in the cloud? Do I have to create a live build from an existing local Kali VM and then go through the process to put the VM image on AWS? Or am I missing some crucial piece of the puzzle? I've been focusing on AWS, but apparently Azure also has an official image, so maybe that's the better approach? I'm not particularly wedded to AWS—except that I've started their free year now, so it would be a shame to have to throw that away.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    So I have tried the steps in the SO answer. And I got almost to the end, but I've fallen at the last hurdle. When I attempt to import the .ova VM image from S3, I get this error:

    "StatusMessage": "ClientError: Unsupported kernel version 5.4.0-kali4-amd64"

    I don't see how this can be, given that there is an official Kali AMI. To be honest, though, Kali4 doesn't appear on EC2's list of supported kernels.

    Is it really the case that it's just impossible to use Kali on EC2 unless you use the Kali AMI?

  3. #3
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    Since I wasn't able to get AWS working, I switched to trying Google Compute Engine. Following these instructions got me most of the way to a solution. Google gives you $300 for a year, which is enough to use a standard instance, which is actually much more muscle than a t2.nano. Anyway, I managed to upload the minimal Kali VM and start the process of converting the .ova to GCE image with this command:

    gcloud compute images import kali-2020_1-min --source-file gs://[BUCKET_NAME]/kali-2020_1-min.ova --os debian-9


    The image conversion fails with:

    error: sh: E: Unable to correct problems, you have held broken packages."

    I made sure that GRUB wasn't using quiet as recommended in this SO answer, but that didn't fix the problem. I followed the comprehensive instructions for resolving the "held broken packages" error, but that didn't do anything. Literally: nothing changed, no packages installed or removed. Here's the command which seems to fail:

    /bin/sh -c "DEBIAN_FRONTEND=noninteractive apt-get install --assume-yes --no-install-recommends google-cloud-packages-archive-keyring google-cloud-sdk google-compute-engine python-google-compute-engine python3-google-compute-engine"

    When I try the same command in VirtualBox, I get "Unable to locate package" errors, even after adding the content to /etc/apt/sources.list.d/google-cloud.list as the import script does before. Here's the failing conversion log.

    The only idea I have is that the version of Kali I'm using, 2020.1, is based on Debian 10. But the gcloud import --os flag doesn't have a debian-10 option, just debian-9. So maybe the script simply isn't compatible with the current version of Kali?

  4. #4
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    I also found another tutorial which would have let me get this working on Vultur for $2.50/month, which isn't free, but is manageable. The reason I wanted to get Kali was so I could install packages like amass which aren't in Debian.

    But it turns out: you don't actually need Kali for a lot of these packages. You just need Debian and pointers to the Kali apt server. Here are instructions on how to do that. So in the end, I gave up on installing a full version of Kali on AWS or GCE and went this route. I'm just using a stock Debian AMI on a Free Tier Amazon t3.micro instance. Since I don't need heavy-duty network analysis or GUI things, I'm hoping that this will be enough. Everything is working so far.

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