Category: VM

Under the Wire… Windows Shell War Gaming

My boss and I had a conversation a few months ago regarding Over the Wire, a Linux war gaming server. The conversation revolved around how it was a great tool for those trying to build strength in Linux. From that conversation, we had a thought of why there wasn’t a variant on Windows focusing on the command line and from that thought came Under the Wire.

Under the Wire is a Windows Server 2008R2 Core system. The war game focuses on the Windows command line and the hope is that it helps people hone their skills or gain a better understanding for some of the things that can be done with a Windows shell.

It’s not expected for anyone to know everything they will encounter in this game, so please don’t panic, as the purpose of the game is to learn.

The object of the game is to use the hints for each level to find the password for the following level. For example, the password for level 2 is somewhere in level 1 and the password for level 3 is somewhere in level 2. That is the case for all levels, with level 20 being the last one. Once you have successfully logged into level 20, you have successfully completed the game.

The VM, instructions, and change log can be found here -> Under the Wire

General Notes:
• All passwords are lowercase regardless of how they may appear on the screen.

• The username for logging in will be century plus the corresponding level number. For example, the username for level 1 is century1 and for level 2, it would be century2 and so forth.

• The default shell is Powershell but you can switch to command line if you want. You can easily switch back and forth by typing cmd or powershell in the shell. If you wish to have multiple shells open, you can achieve that by doing the below.
1.Type taskmgr in the shell
2. Hit file > New Task (run…)
3. Type powershell or cmd

• You may find that while trying to accomplish a level using one shell it may render an access denied error. If that is the case, please just use the other shell. During testing, at least one of the shells worked for every level.

• You may be warned that this isn’t a genuine copy of windows. That alert is due to not having a product key and the trial period expiring. It does not hinder the game in any way other than the warning popping up. If it appears, simply exit out of it and continue on.

• Some things that may help you in the game are below.
– The Internet
– Get-help
– /?
– The Tab key will help with finishing out commands

Splitting up a Large VM for Easier Transmission

Here is the scenario: you have a VM that you want to transfer to another system over the Internet. The VM, in its entirety, is too big to transfer as is. So what do we do? Well, we could convert the .vmx into an .ova and then split it into a few manageable sizes for transport. Once on the distant end, we can easily put it all back together. Using the steps outlined here: https://communities.vmware.com/message/2244209, we can do this. Below are very generic steps to achieve this.

1. Convert the VM’s .vmx to ova in terminal

2. Use the ‘split’ commands to breakdown the ova into manageable sizes (I usually do mine in 550 MB (550000000 bytes)). In this case the command would be ‘split -b 550000000 your_vm.ova vm_brokedown

3. Transfer the smaller files to the destination

4. In terminal on the distant end, type cat vm_brokedown* > your_vm.ova

5. Import the ova into the Hypervisor of your choice.