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Build Your Own Security Lab: A Field Guide for Network Testing by Michael Gregg

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Chapter 2. Building a Software Test Platform

This chapter looks at your options for building and setting up a software test platform. A software test platform will provide you a standalone, sterile environment to use for testing and exploration. You may be asking yourself what the right operating system is or how you know which operating systems you need. These are good questions that are addressed in this chapter. This chapter plays a critical role in that just having the hardware is of little use without software to use with it. If you are going to build your own network security lab, software will play a critical role. If you are building this lab with a tight budget, picking the right software will be even more critical, as there are certain pieces of software you simply cannot live without.

One way to maximize your budget is by using virtual servers. This technology offers a great way to get more bang for the buck out of existing hardware. We also look at some tools and applications you might consider installing on your newly constructed operating systems. Finally, just remember the overall reason for using this type of test system: It's that you should never be running test software or experimenting on a production network. Unknown tools and software can cause many different results when combined with other software and processes. The worst case is that a critical system or service fails. You do not want to be the person who causes this to happen. For this reason alone, you ...

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