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Automated Virtual Machine Generation and Cloaking for Cuckoo Sandbox.


VMCloak is a tool to fully create and prepare Virtual Machines that can be used by Cuckoo Sandbox. In order to create a new Virtual Machine one should prepare a few configuration values that will be used later on by the tool.


VMCloak relies on a couple of tools and libraries that are required during the process of generating a new VM.

  • Python 2.6+
  • mkisofs/genisoimage
  • VirtualBox


On Ubuntu a few packages are required due to the indirect inclusion of the cryptography Python package. Installation of all packages excluding VirtualBox may be done by running as follows.

$ sudo apt-get install build-essential libssl-dev libffi-dev
$ sudo apt-get install python-dev genisoimage
$ sudo pip install vmcloak

Or one may also install it in a virtualenv.

$ virtualenv .
$ source ./bin/activate
$ pip install -U vmcloak


For a quick walkthrough on the general usage of VMCloak, please refer to the following blogpost:


In order to run the VMCloak unit tests, which should be run on a custom build server due to its huge resource requirements (i.e., setting up multiple virtual machines is not something to take lightly), we provide some pointers for setting up such an environment.

First of all, the ~/.vmcloak/config.json should be created containing a JSON blob with, currently, one value. The winxp.serialkey value should be featured with a serial key that matches your Windows XP ISO file. An example config.json file may look as follows.

    "winxp": {
        "serialkey": "windows xp serial key here"

Then install pytest and pytest-xdist:

$ pip install -U pytest pytest-xdist

Mount all of the ISO files as required, for a default configuration this looks as follows (the following commands should be run as root user):

$ mkdir /mnt/winxp
$ mount -o loop,ro vms/winxppro.iso /mnt/winxp

$ mkdir /mnt/win7x64
$ mount -o loop,ro vms/win7ultimate.iso /mnt/win7x64

$ mkdir /mnt/win81x64
$ mount -o loop,ro vms/Win8.1_EnglishInternational_x64.iso /mnt/win81x64

$ mkdir /mnt/win10x64
$ mount -o loop,ro vms/Win10_1511_2_EnglishInternational_x64.iso /mnt/win10x64

Now we're going to run the actual unit tests. Note that we can speed them up by specifying N unit tests to be ran in parallel. As most of the tests actually install Windows or run a virtual machine, we recommend to run at most one unit test per CPU core. Also reserve about two to four gigabytes of RAM for each extra unit test in parallel. E.g., if you want to run four unit tests in parallel, then your computer should have at least four CPU cores and 16GB of RAM.

Finally run the unit tests:

py.test -n 8


The development of the VMCloak project initially started out as part of the ITES Project at Avira, thanks to Thorsten Sick. Many thanks to Rasmus Männa for lots of great contributions lately.

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Automated Virtual Machine Generation and Cloaking for Cuckoo Sandbox.



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