Introduction to Google Cloud Platform

By Drs. Anthony Vance and Dave Eargle

Part 0: Complete Intro to Linux Tutorial

Complete this intro-to-linux tutorial

Part 1: Sign up for Google Cloud Platform (GCP)

  • Visit and click “Get started for free.”
  • Sign in to Google with your personal account (not your Temple Google account).
  • Send your personal Gmail address via email or Slack to I can make the Kali Linux VM available to you.
  • Step 1 of 2: Agree to the terms
  • Step 2 of 2: Choose “Account type” > “Individual”. Complete the sign-up form. Provide a credit card.

    Why a credit card? Google still requires a credit card to make sure you are not a robot. Google will not autocharge your account unless you manually upgrade to a paid plan.
  • Create a “project” which will house all of the material for this class.

Part 2: Complete the “Try Compute Engine” tutorial.

Complete the “try compute engine” tutorial. This tutorial will give you experience with launching, connecting to, and destroying virtual instances.

When the tutorial prompts you to destroy all tutorial instances, do so.

Part 3: Complete walkthrough for “Chrome Remote Desktop on GCP”

Complete this walkthrough. This tutorial will step you through launching a “headless” (graphical-desktop-less) server, installing a desktop suite, and then configuring Chrome Remote Desktop, which will allow you to remotely connect to a graphical user interface for this server.

Notes for the walkthrough:

  • Choose the XFCE desktop. It’s more lightweight.
  • When you get to the “Configure Chrome Remote Desktop to use XFCE by default:” step, there is an error in the documentation. Files under /etc/ have restricted edit permissions. Normally we can run sudo to run a command with elevated permissions, but redirecting text via the > command will not work with sudo.

    Instead of the command listed in the docs, you can run:

    echo "exec /usr/bin/xfce4-session" | sudo tee /etc/chrome-remote-desktop-session

    Alternatively, before running the echo command in the docs, launch an elevated shell with sudo -s, run the command in the docs, and then exit the elevated shell:

    sudo -s
    echo "exec /usr/bin/xfce4-session" > /etc/chrome-remote-desktop-session
  • When the tutorial prompts you to destroy all tutorial instances, do so.

Part 4: Create a new instance based on a custom Kali images prepared for this class

A customized image of the Kali penetration-testing operating system, based on Debian, has been prepared for this class for your use.

Please note: It already has chrome remote desktop services installed, as well as the XFCE desktop.

Launch your new instance with the following specs:

  • Give it at least 4 vCPU and 15 GB memory
  • Specify “Intel Haswell or later” for CPU platform

  • For boot disk
    • click Change > Custom Images > Show Images from "infosec management" > choose the most recent Kali version that you can see.
    • Down towards the bottom of the boot disk selection screen, give your drive something like 500GB or 1,000 GB storage space. We won’t use anywhere near that much, but on cloud computing, the more space that you allocate for your drive, the better performance they give to read/write operations for your instance. So beef up, storage space is cheap!

  • Once your image has booted (wait a few minutes), connect to it via ssh, using the gloud method – not the default browser-based method.

    Heads up! The `ssh` browser-based connection method is not working for this image. But connecting via gcloud console is working. To do so, click the drop-down next to "ssh" from the instances dashboard, as shown below.

  • After successfully connecting to Kali command line using the gcloud method, follow the steps in the walkthrough for the Chrome Remote Desktop on Configuring and starting the Chrome Remote Desktop service to connect the graphical XFCE desktop on Kali.
    • Set the name to “Kali VM”

Part 5: Set up budget alerts

You get $300 in free credits when you sign up for google cloud platform. As of 8/27/2019, the Kali instance that you launch will cost almost $200 per month if you run it continuously. So do not run it continuously. Shut down the instance when you are not using it. You are only billed by GCP for time that your instance is running.

The semester is about four months long, so set up a budget planning to spend (no more than) $75 per month. To do so:

  • Click the hamburger menu on the upper left > Billing > Budgets & alerts.
  • Create Budget

  • (1) Scope > Projects => “All projects”

  • (2) Amount > Budget type => “Specified amount”, Target amount => $75, uncheck “Include credits in cost.”

  • (3) Actions > I recommend setting four thresholds – one for each week of the month – at 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100%. When you have hit these thresholds within a month, you will receive a budget notificaiton email.

These budget reminders will help you to keep an eye on your costs, and will help remind you to shut down an instance that could otherwise cost you a lot of money.


Using the Kali VM for the steps below shows both that you got your Kali VM up and running, and that you have basic skills with the Linux terminal. You must use your Kali GCP instance for the following.

  • Using a terminal,
    • make a directory called linux-tutorial
    • In that directory, create a file called i-did-it.txt with the following contents: Hello, world!
  • Submit a screenshot showing:
    • The browser tab address showing that you are connected via chrome remote desktop to your kali instance
    • The terrifying kali dragon desktop
    • A terminal window, showing:
      • The contents of i-did-it.txt
      • A string with your name and uni email, e.g., echo "Anthony Vance [email protected]"
      • Output of the date command

For example: