Skip to content


Switch branches/tags

Name already in use

A tag already exists with the provided branch name. Many Git commands accept both tag and branch names, so creating this branch may cause unexpected behavior. Are you sure you want to create this branch?

Latest commit


Git stats


Failed to load latest commit information.
Latest commit message
Commit time

License Platforms Maintenance Conventional Commits GoDoc Go Report Card


A distributed systems and infrastructure simulator for attacking and debugging Kubernetes: simulator creates a Kubernetes cluster for you in your AWS account; runs scenarios which misconfigure it and/or leave it vulnerable to compromise and trains you in mitigating against these vulnerabilities.

For details on why we created this project and our ultimate goals take a look at the vision statement.

Before you start


Ensure the AWS requirements are met and configured.

Clone this repository and run:

make run

Simulator startup

This will drop you into a bash shell in a launch container. You will have a program on the PATH named simulator to interact with.

Simulator CLI Usage

Creating Environment And Lauching Scenario

Before you launch your environment, please see the How It All Works section to ensure you have the necessary credentials and permissions in place and know what you are standing up.

Create a remote state bucket for terraform

simulator init

You will be asked for the name for a S3 bucket for the Terraform remote state, which must be globally unique as per AWS standards. If this does not exist it will be created, otherwise the existing bucket will be used.

Create the infra if it isn't there

simulator infra create

This will standup the infrastructure, including an initial Kubernetes Cluster

List available scenarios

simulator scenario list

This will list all currently available scenarios. You can filter the list by difficulty or category using the appropriate arguments

To get a better idea of what is involved in each scenario, e.g. node-shock-tactics

simulator scenario describe node-shock-tactics

Launch a scenario (sets up your cluster)

simulator scenario launch node-shock-tactics

This will launch your selected scenario.

Login to the environment

simulator ssh attack

Running simulator ssh attack logs you into a container running on the Bastion host. Upon login, an outline of the challenge will be displayed. In addition, shortcuts for logging into the master, or nodes, of the Kubernetes cluster and how to show hints and start tasks are displayed. starting_point logs you into the correct starting point for the task you have started in the scenario.

From within the ssh attack container you have access to a range of helper commands such as start_task, next_hint and show_hints.

Bastion container initial login

Start task

start_task 1

The start_task command is used to inform the simulator which task you are undertaking with the number associated, and therefore what hints are available to aid you with that task.

Accessing hints


The next_hint command will provide a hint to help you complete the task you have started with the start_task command.

Viewing all hints that have been requested


The show_hints command will display all the hints you have requested to that point, in the task you have started.

Ending a task



start_task 2

The end_task command will end the task you are currently on and score you. This will also happen if you move onto the a new task with the start_task command. When you end a task in one of these ways, you will be scored 100 points minus the amount of hints you have displayed for that task at a value of -10 each. This is defined in the scenario task manifest.

Cleaning Up Environment

Destroy your cluster when you are done

simulator infra destroy

Once you have finished you should destroy the environment to ensure that no additional costs are incurred. You run this command in the launch container.


The following scenarios are currently shipped with the simulator:


But you can write your own and we really welcome any contributions of new scenarios :)

How It All Works

Infrastructure Design

Terraform AWS infrastructure

AWS Configuration

Simulator uses terraform to provision its infrastructure. Terraform in turn honours all the rules for configuring the AWS CLI. Please follow these.

You can provide your credentials via the AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID and AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY environment variables, containing your AWS Access Key and AWS Secret Key respectively. Note that setting your AWS credentials using either these (or legacy) environment variables will override the use of AWS_SHARED_CREDENTIALS_FILE and AWS_PROFILE. The AWS_DEFAULT_REGION and AWS_SESSION_TOKEN environment variables are also used, if applicable.

All the AWS_* configuration environment variables you have set will be propagated into the container

Troubleshooting AWS

  • If you get a timeout when running simulator infra create after about 10 minutes, the region you are using is probably running slowly. You should run simulator infra destroy and then retry simulator infra create
  • AWS_REGION vs AWS_DEFAULT_REGION - There have been some issues with the Go AWS client region configuration
  • Multi-account


Refer to the simulator terraform documentation


Simulator, whether run in the launch container or on the host machine, will generate its own SSH RSA key pair. It will configure the cluster to allow access only with this keypair and automates writing SSH config and keyscanning the bastion on your behalf using custom SSH config and known_hosts files. This keeps all simulator-related SSH config separate from any other SSH configs you may have. All simulator-related SSH files are written to ~/.kubesim and are files starting cp_simulator_

If you delete any of the files then simulator will recreate them and reconfigure the infrastructure as necessary on the next run

Scenario Launching (perturb)

Refer to the scenario launch documentation

Launch Flow Sequence

Refer to the Launch scenario flow documentation

Scenario Task Definition

Refer to the Tasks YAML file Format documentation

Create a new scenario

Refer to the Create Scenario documentation

The kubesim script

kubesim is a small script written in BASH for getting users up and running with simulator as fast as possible. It pulls the latest version of the simulator container and sets up some options for running the image. It can be installed with the following steps:

# cURL the script from GitHub
curl -Lo kubesim
# Make it executeable
chmod a+x kubesim
# Place the script on your path
cp kubesim /usr/local/bin

Development Workflow

Git hooks

To ensure all Git hooks are in place run the following:

make setup-dev

Development targets are specified in the Makefile.

You can see all the available targets with descriptions by running make help

Git commits

We follow the conventional commit specification. Please ensure your commit messages adhere to this spec.


Launching a scenario

TODO Validating a scenario

TODO Evaluating scenario progress



  • tasks.yaml format

  • If you need to make changes to the format you should update this documentation.

  • Any changes should be accompanied by a bump of the version in the kind property

  • Use the migrate-hints devtool to update the existing scenarios en-masse. You can make this tool available on your PATH by running make devtools

Simulator API Documentation

The simulator API docs are available on


Guidelines for contributors, and instructions on working with specific parts of Simulator are in the Contributor Guide.