Introduction to Google Cloud Platform

By Drs. Anthony Vance and Dave Eargle

Part 1: Join the class Google Group

To get access to the Kali virtual machine created for this class:

  1. If you don’t already have one, create a personal Google account by signing up for one here.
Heads up! Your TUmail Google account will not work with Google Cloud Platform. You'll need to use a personal Google account.
  1. While logged into your personal Google account, visit this link to join the Google Group (public access) for this class.
  2. Click “Join this group.”

Part 2: Sign up for Google Cloud Platform (GCP)

  • Visit https://cloud.google.com and click “Get started for free.”
  • Make sure you are signed in to Google with your personal account (not your TUmail Google account).
  • Step 1 of 2: Agree to the terms of service.
  • 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.
  • Click “Start my free trial”.

Part 3: Create a new project and launch a new Kali Linux instance

  • First, create a new “project” which will house all of the material for this class.
  • Then, expand the hamburger menu and navigate to the “Compute Engine” area. Wait a few minutes for Compute Engine to set up.

  • Click “Create”.
  • In the “name” field, enter a name like “kali-linux-vm” (must be all lowercase).
  • Give your new virtual machine instance the following specs:
    • Important: Leave the “Region” field set to “us-central1”.
    • Leave the “Series” field set to “N1”
    • Change the “Machine type” field to “n1-standard-4 (4 vCPU, 15 GB memory)”
    • Click the “CPU platform and GPU” link.

    • Give it at least 4 vCPU and 15 GB memory
    • For the “CPU platform” field, select “Intel Haswell or later” for CPU platform.

    • For the “Boot disk” field, click “Change”.
      • Select the “Custom images” tab.
      • In the “Show images from” field, select, “infosec management”
      • Select the most recent Kali version that you see.
      • Leave “Boot disk type” “Standard persistent disk”
      • Under the “Size (GB)” field, select the default size of “500”.

        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.

      Your boot disk settings should look like this:

      • Click the “Select” button.
  • Your overall settings should look like this:

  • Click the “Create” button.
  • Wait a few minutes for your image to boot. Once it does, connect to it via ssh:

  • You should see a browser window pop up that looks like the following:

    The “@kali” after your username shows that you are connected to your Kali VM workstation.

Part 4: Connect to your Kali Linux VM using Chrome Remote Desktop

Setting up Chrome Remote Desktop (CRD) will enable you to graphically connect to your Kali instance, from your browser, using a Google account to sign in. You should be able to log in as long as your Kali instance is running on GCP.

  • Open another browser window, and visit https://remotedesktop.google.com/headless.
  • Click the “Begin” button.
  • Click the “Next” button. (Chrome Remote Desktop is already installed on Kali).
  • Click the “Authorize” button.
  • Select your personal Google account and click the “Allow” button.
  • Click the icon to the right of the Debian Linux command to copy the command:

  • Switch to your browser window with the ssh connection to Kali, paste in the command you copied into the Kali Linux command line. Press enter.

  • Enter a name for this image, e.g., “Kali”.
  • Enter and re-enter a six-digit pin. Press enter.

    Did you get an OAuth error? This may happen if something went wrong when you ran the command copied , and if you tried to run it again. The copied command is only valid for one attempt. You will need to start this section over again, to obtain another authorization url, which will have a new auth token embedded.
  • Switch back to the window with remotedesktop.google.com open. Click the “Remote Access” link at the top or visit this link.

  • Click on your Kali instance.

  • Type in your six-digit pin, and check the box so that your browser remembers the pin.

    Can't get to the pin-entry screen?Try a different web browser, such as Google Chrome. Also try disabling any browser extensions that may be interfering.
  • If a screen asks you to select a session type, click “OK” to accept the default.

    • Next, if you are prompted to enter a password to create a “color managed device”, type in the password toor, and click authenticate.

  • After you finish logging in, you should see a screen like the following:

  • Note that if you click the blue arrow tab on the right hand of the screen, it opens additional options in Chrome Remote Desktop:

Enabling copy-paste. It is possible to enable copy-paste between your host computer and your Kali instance. Look in the above-shown sidebar additional options for a related option if you are having trouble copy-pasting. The specific enabling method changes from time to time, but is usually accessible through the sidebar.
If you have suspended or stopped your instance, you will need to navigate to the GCP console and start it again before attempting to connect with CRD.

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.

You can either suspend, shut down, or delete an instance. Which you choose will depend on your needs, but be aware that suspended instances still incur some costs.

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.

Part 6: Install a GCP Console app on a mobile device

You can manage your GCP instances from the Cloud Console Mobile App. This can be handy if you realize that you have accidentally left an instance running – you can easily shut it down from the app.

Part 7: Complete the Introduction to Linux Tutorial

Complete this introduction to Linux tutorial. Then, come back and complete the deliverable for this tutorial.

Deliverable

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: