Matriux – Penetration Testing from Hyper-V

Matriux – Penetration Testing from Hyper-V

Matriux is a vulnerability assessment / penetration testing Linux distribution. The team’s beta release was the beginning of this month, and I have been playing around with the distro for the past couple weeks. What can I say? I am a sucker for Latin motto’s (“Aut viam inveniam aut faciam” or “I shall find a way or make one”) and for cleanly laid out VA/PT toolsets.

The bonus, for those running Hyper-V, is that Matriux is a Kubuntu based and comes with the Jaunty kernel (2.6.28-13-generic). Setting up a Hyper-V security appliance is as simple as creating a vm, using the legacy network adapter, skipping the hard drive, and booting off the downloadable ISO. Matriux works right out of the box within Hyper-V.

You can compare this to the Slax VA/PT distros, which do not support the network adapter. Often times, these distros do not even support the mouse. Using the Matriux Live CD in Hyper-V is a breeze. For an environment to support a demo or an occassional vulnerability assessment, you cannot ask for more.

If you are doing regular assessments, there are a couple limitations with Hyper-V. The legacy network adapter performs at 100 Mbps (significantly slower than the 10 Gbps speed of the standard network adapter.) The Live ISO is read-only, too. The mouse integration is present, but it is not the seamless integration one is used with Windows vms. Oh, and the mouse integration does not work when connected to Hyper-V over RDP. To get full functionality, you will need to install Matriux into a vhd and install the Hyper-V integration components.

The Jaunty kernel does not support integration. You have two options: (1) downgrade Matriux’s kernel to 2.6.18 and install Hyper-V’s integration components; or (2) upgrade Matriux to the Lucid kernel (2.6.32-7) and enable the Hyper-V GPL code. Option (2) provides faster performance and is in-line with the Matriux planned Beta 2, but it does not support the full mouse integration.

For those who want to skip to the chase and simply try out Matriux under Hyper-V, I have done the steps for you. You can download the security appliance from SimWitty’s website. Enjoy!

Thank you to the Matriux team for a smooth, well done security distribution beta. Thanks goes, too, to Tom Houghtby for providing the Linux knowledge and guidance that made the integration possible.


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