Virtual Machines, Virtualization, and Using This Stuff for YOUR Own Personal Cyber Security

Some might find this interesting. This will cover how to use software that malicious hackers use, but for your own personal security!

Photo by Niklas Ohlrogge


Don’t worry, nothing illegal here.. Let me be honest really quick, though. I’ve recently become paranoid for my own “digital well-being” so I started researching ways to protect myself digitally. With that said, what I lack in experience is certainly made up by thorough research, followed by repeated application, and maybe a dumb analogy using a movie reference. Anyway, enough banter from me.

Below will explain virtualization, virtual machines, and how these are applied, for good and for bad. I will try to explain this as if talking to a 4 year-old. Then again, 4 year-olds probably know more about this stuff than I do in this day and age. Anyway, the steps on how to install and use this stuff on a Windows 10 OS will be described at the end.

What is virtualization?

Basically, in imaginary terms, a box is created on your computer. This box is completely isolated from your computer’s other functions, but you can use this box to run a completely separate computer inside of your computer.

For example, say we have a Windows computer but we want to try out a Mac OS. Well, from my basic understanding, one can have this box on their computer and simply download the Mac OS to run inside of this box. With this set-up, a person could switch between using the actual machine (Windows) and the virtual machine (Mac) running inside this mysterious box (this box will be explained below).

What is a virtual machine?

Wikipedia puts it simply and states that “a virtual machine (VM) is the virtualization/emulation of a computer system.” This allows a Windows operating system to be run on a Mac and vice versa.

One could even do nested virtualization, where a virtual machine runs inside of a virtual machine inside of an actual machine. Like that movie Inception, with the dreams inside of dreams and so on…

For a more technical explanation, please refer to the Wikipedia links below:

How can virtual machines be used?

Depending on who you are, this can be used for good or for bad. Let’s see how people can use this technology to keep themselves safe or carry out nefarious activities:

  • penetration testing and vulnerability audits
  • for developing hacking software
  • to safely open up suspicious files or emails
  • to create an extra layer of security
  • testing network security
  • testing network attacks


Enable Virtualization. This is not a default setting for Windows, like it is for Mac. However, it is crucial to enable this before starting. This won’t be covered but here are a few guides to try:

Download 7zip. This is an uncompressing software that we’ll need because the virtual machine download will be compressed as a .7z file and will need to be uncompressed before being able to run it.

Download & Installation Process

  1. Download VMware Workstation Player. This would be what I referred to as the box, but it’s more technical term is hypervisor. It is a free download, but you can learn more about the software here.
  2. Download Kali Linux. This will be the OS we download as a virtual machine to run inside our box. It is a Linux based operating system that is customized for hacking. Learn more about it here.
  3. Extract Kali Linux. Using the 7zip software, we’ll extract the files by uncompressing them from the download. To do this, right click the downloaded Kali Linux zip file and select “Extract Here”

Start Up & Configuration

Everything is downloaded and now to start using this stuff:

  1. Click on the newly installed VMware Workstation Player.
  2. Open up a new virtual machine. Select the file you just extracted from the compressed Kali Linux download.

3. Press the green Play button

4. Click “OK” and “I Copied It”

5. Login with the default credentials

  • Username: kali
  • Password: kali

… and voila! A computer within a computer:

With this set up, you can do anything you could on a physical computer. For example you can browse the internet but now there will be an added layer of security. Basically, if anything goes wrong in the virtual machine, it will be isolated from the actual machine.

As Porky Pig would say, “That’s all folks!”

Thanks for reading!

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