Important! Bring your own system configured according to these instructions!
A properly configured system is required to fully participate in this course. If you do not carefully read and follow these instructions, you will likely leave the class unsatisfied because you will not be able to participate in hands-on exercises that are essential to this course. Therefore, we strongly urge you to arrive with a system meeting all the requirements specified for the course.
A properly configured laptop is required to participate in SEC501: Advanced Security Essentials - Enterprise Defender. Students must have Administrator privileges . Antivirus software is not recommended and may need to be disabled or uninstalled. If you have a production system already installed with data on it that you do not want to lose, it is recommended that you replace it with a clean hard drive.
For this course, SANS will provide you with the following virtual machines:
- Custom 64-bit Kali Linux
- Custom Windows 10 64-bit
- Security Onion
- Cisco CSR 1000V
It is critical that your CPU and operating system support 64-bit so that our 64-bit guest virtual machines can run on your laptop. VMware provides a free tool for Windows and Linux that will detect whether or not your host supports 64-bit guest virtual machines. For further troubleshooting, this article also provides good instructions for Windows users to determine more about the CPU and OS capabilities. For Macs, please use this support page from Apple to determine 64-bit capability. Note: Apple systems using the M1 processor cannot perform the necessary virtualization at this time and cannot be used for this course.
Prior to the start of class, you must install the necessary software as described below. The following are minimal hardware requirements for your laptop:
- CPU: 64-bit Intel i5 x 64 2.0+ GHz processor or higher-based system is mandatory for this class
- 16 GB RAM (32GB of memory is strongly recommended)
- 80 GB of available disk space (more space is recommended)
- Latest version of Windows 10, macOS 10.15.x or later, or Linux that also can install and run VMware virtualization products described below.
- VMware Workstation Pro 15.5.X+ or Fusion 11.5+
Please note: VMware Workstation or Fusion are mandatory. You must have the ability to take virtual machine snapshots, and you cannot do this with VMware Player.
You will use VMware to simultaneously run multiple virtual machines when performing hands-on exercises. You must have VMware Workstation installed on your system. If you do not own VMware, you can download a free 30-day trial copy from the VMware website (see above). If taking advantage of the trial offer, please make sure that the license will not expire before you complete the course. Other virtualization software, such as VirtualBox and Hyper-V, are not appropriate because of compatibility and troubleshooting problems you might encounter during class.
While the labs will run fine for Mac/Fusion students, the lab workbook was written from a Windows host and VMware Workstation perspective. Students opting to bring Mac OS or Linux as their host OS are expected to manage any OS or virtualization software issues that might arise.
We suggest going over the following checklist to make sure that your laptop is prepared for SEC501: Advanced Security Essentials - Enterprise Defender:
- The laptop meets hardware requirements outlined in this section.
- If you use a trial copy of VMware Workstation, make sure that the VMware license will not expire before the class ends.
- The Windows VMware machine runs using host-only networking mode.
Your course media will now be delivered via download. The media files for class can be large, some in the 40 - 50 GB range. You need to allow plenty of time for the download to complete. Internet connections and speed vary greatly and are dependent on many different factors. Therefore, it is not possible to give an estimate of the length of time it will take to download your materials. Please start your course media downloads as you get the link. You will need your course media immediately on the first day of class. Waiting until the night before the class starts to begin your download has a high probability of failure.
SANS has begun providing printed materials in PDF form. Additionally, certain classes are using an electronic workbook in addition to the PDFs. The number of classes using eWorkbooks will grow quickly. In this new environment, we have found that a second monitor and/or a tablet device can be useful by keeping the class materials visible while the instructor is presenting or while you are working on lab exercises.