Introduction to Cuckoo Sandbox

Cuckoo Sandbox is a powerful open-source tool designed for automated malware analysis. It provides a controlled environment to execute and observe the behavior of potentially malicious software in a safe and isolated manner. By analyzing the behavior of malware samples, security analysts and researchers can gain insights into their capabilities, identify potential threats, and develop effective countermeasures.

Cuckoo Sandbox offers a range of features to facilitate malware analysis, including:

  • Dynamic Analysis: Cuckoo executes malware samples in a controlled environment and monitors their behavior, including file system changes, network activity, and system interactions.
  • Static Analysis: Cuckoo extracts static information from malware samples, such as file metadata, strings, and embedded resources, to provide additional insights into their characteristics.
  • Network Traffic Analysis: Cuckoo captures and analyzes network traffic generated by malware samples, allowing analysts to understand their communication patterns and potential network-based threats.
  • Behavioral Signatures: Cuckoo generates behavioral signatures based on the observed actions of malware samples, enabling the detection of similar threats in the future.
  • Integration with Threat Intelligence: Cuckoo can be integrated with external threat intelligence sources to enrich analysis results and provide context for identified threats.

Now that we have an understanding of what Cuckoo Sandbox is and its capabilities, let’s proceed with the installation and configuration process on an Ubuntu Server.


Before we begin the installation, ensure you have the following prerequisites in place:

  • An Ubuntu Server installation (version 20.04 or later recommended).
  • Root or sudo access to the server.
  • Basic knowledge of using the terminal and command-line interface.

Step-by-Step Installation Guide

Step 1: Update Your System

Before installing any new software, it’s a good practice to ensure your system is up to date. Run the following commands to update the package list and upgrade existing packages:

sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade -y

Step 2: Install Dependencies

Cuckoo Sandbox requires several dependencies to function properly. Install them using the following command:

sudo apt install -y python3 python3-pip python3-dev libffi-dev libssl-dev libjpeg-dev zlib1g-dev swig build-essential mongodb postgresql libpq-dev git

Step 3: Install Cuckoo Sandbox

Now, we’ll clone the Cuckoo Sandbox repository from GitHub and install it:

cd /opt
sudo git clone
cd cuckoo
sudo python3 install

Step 4: Configure Cuckoo Sandbox

  1. Create a configuration directory for Cuckoo:
mkdir -p ~/.cuckoo
  1. Copy the default configuration files to the .cuckoo directory:
cp /opt/cuckoo/conf/*.conf ~/.cuckoo/
  1. Edit the configuration files as needed. For example, you can configure the cuckoo.conf file to set the appropriate settings for your environment:
nano ~/.cuckoo/cuckoo.conf

Step 5: Setup Database

Cuckoo Sandbox supports both MongoDB and PostgreSQL databases. Here, we’ll set up PostgreSQL:

  1. Start the PostgreSQL service:
sudo systemctl start postgresql
sudo systemctl enable postgresql
  1. Switch to the PostgreSQL user and create a new database user and database for Cuckoo:
sudo -i -u postgres
createuser cuckoo
createdb -O cuckoo cuckoo
  1. Set a password for the cuckoo user:
  1. Edit the reporting.conf file to configure PostgreSQL:
nano ~/.cuckoo/reporting.conf

Uncomment and configure the PostgreSQL section:

enabled = yes
host =
db = cuckoo
user = cuckoo
password = your_password

Step 6: Install Virtualization Software

Cuckoo Sandbox requires virtualization software to create isolated environments. Install VirtualBox:

sudo apt install -y virtualbox

Step 7: Configure Virtual Machine for Analysis

  1. Create a snapshot of your virtual machine (VM) in its clean state:
VBoxManage snapshot <vm-name> take clean
  1. Edit the virtualbox.conf file to configure the VirtualBox settings:
nano ~/.cuckoo/virtualbox.conf

Uncomment and configure the settings:

enabled = yes
host =
port = 1337
mode = headless

machines = cuckoo1


label = cuckoo1 platform = windows ip = snapshot = clean

Step 8: Start Cuckoo Sandbox

  1. Initialize the Cuckoo database:
cuckoo init
  1. Start Cuckoo:
  1. In another terminal, start the Cuckoo web interface:
cuckoo web
  1. Access the web interface by navigating to http://localhost:8000 in your web browser.

Step 9: Submit and Analyze Files

You can submit files for analysis through the web interface or using the command line:

cuckoo submit /path/to/suspicious/file


Congratulations! You have successfully installed and configured Cuckoo Sandbox on your Ubuntu Server. You can now use Cuckoo to analyze suspicious files and identify potential threats in a controlled environment. Experiment with different configuration options and explore additional features to enhance your malware analysis capabilities. Remember to keep Cuckoo and its dependencies up to date to ensure optimal performance and security. Happy analyzing!


An amateur radio operator, military veteran, jack of all trades and master of none.

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