A Look at ‘What Is Metasploitable’, a Hacker’s Playground Based on Ubuntu Virtual Machines

The Metasploit framework has been a staple in the ethical hacking industry for almost a decade now. Regularly updated with new exploits and auxiliary patches, it doesn't look like there is any rival to Metasploit with similar features or polish. But if you don't have a vulnerable system within your reach, how are you supposed to learn the exploits in Metasploit? 

This is where Metasploitable comes in. This tutorial on 'what is metasploitable' covers its definition, applications, and installation method.

So, hurry up and get started by learning ‘what is metasploitable’ bit from a beginner's perspective.

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What Is Metasploitable?


Metasploitable is a virtualized Linux-based operating system that comes pre-loaded with a variety of vulnerabilities often found in operating systems that can be exploited. Rapid7 Community also founded and maintained the Metasploitable Project (Metasploit-FrameWork Community). Metasploitable was created to test the Metasploit Framework. In simple terms, Metasploitable is a Linux-based operating system designed specifically for practicing penetration testing, network security, and Metasploit-Framework skills, among other things.

Everyone on the network can take advantage of any weakness in the Virtual Machine. This means that although your host manages the VM, an attacker can access your resources. Additionally, if your computer is linked to your host-only adapter, the intruder may escape the VM and target your device operating on your system. If this occurs, you could also set up a host-only adaptor.

You now have an answer to the question 'what is metasploitable.' Now, you will cover the next part of the lesson, which is how Metasploitable works.

How Does Metasploitable Work?

Metasploitable's main goal is to provide an insecure operating system that new networking students, penetrators, hackers, and network researchers may utilize to practice their skills in a secure environment. Anyone may easily set up their own private, secure lab using Metasploitable to test their skills or learn something new in a secure environment. As you all know, "practice makes perfect," which is why every pen tester wants to put their skills to the test in order to improve their accuracy. In that case, this OS serves as the primary target/victim OS.

Metasploit and Metasploitable go hand in hand with each other. Since metasploitable is ubuntu-based, the kernel-matched exploits found on Metasploit can be used on metasploitable as a test run. Apart from that, you can use other scripts and tools to really take metasploitable apart and, in the process, increase your analytical skills, which need to be very precise if you are a budding penetration tester.

In the next topic of this lesson on 'what is metasploitable,' you will cover the benefits of using metasploitable for penetration testing practice.

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Benefits of Metasploitable

  1. Easy: Being a virtual machine, metasploitable is very easy to set up. You will just need a VM manager like Virtualbox and VMware, along with the disk files from the official rapid7 website.

  2. Legal: Attacking third-party devices when learning ethical hacking without permission is punishable by law. Metasploitable makes it easy to practice your scripts and exploits by allowing you to run a localized, vulnerable machine.

  3. Customizable: Metasploitable is a modular and customizable operating system, allowing the penetration tester only to use the features they need. It is very light on memory and doesn't have extensive hardware requirements.

Moving on, you will understand how to install metasploitable using virtual machine managing software.

How to Install Metasploitable?

You should start by downloading the ZIP file for metasploitable. You can find the link here: Metasploitable download | SourceForge.net

Extract the ZIP file to find the disk files, as shown in the figure below.


Make sure you have VMWare installed, a virtual machine managing software. You can find the link to download and install VMware here: Download VMware Workstation Player

Once VMware is installed, open the extracted contents of the ZIP file and double-click on the 'Metasploitable.VMX' file. It will open VMWare with the metasploitable VM already set up, thanks to the '.VMX' file.


You can start the virtual machine and follow up from another operating system like Kali Linux or Parrot Security, which has Metasploit installed for testing purposes.

That brings an end to this lesson on 'what is metasploitable.'

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In this tutorial on what is metasploitable, you covered the definition, working, benefits, and installation of the metasploitable module in ethical hacking. However, many other tools are used when penetration testing, most of which require much more practice and dedication.

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If you have any concerns regarding this tutorial on 'what is metasploitable,' please let us know in the comments below, and we will help you out with solutions.

About the Author

Baivab Kumar JenaBaivab Kumar Jena

Baivab Kumar Jena is a computer science engineering graduate, he is well versed in multiple coding languages such as C/C++, Java, and Python.

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