CyberStart begins with puzzle solving and browser-based challenges, but quickly pivots to provide access to real challenges, real security tools and environments. That means you need the right hardware and software, but sometimes access to equipment or security policies get in the way. Some students prefer to use their own devices which they are familiar with, where others need a way around it. We have provided some advice on this below.

Use my own hardware

  • Computer with VMware or Virtual Box (you can find instructions online which is great practice for students)
  • A reliable internet connection
  • Chrome or Firefox browser, updated for security and experience
  • Unrestricted access to browser developer tools/settings so users can inspect elements, run code in the console, view network traffic and perform other such tasks e.g. users will need to be able to View Source or Inspect Element, and have access to scripting abilities

VMware or Virtual Box is needed in order to run the CyberStart Virtual Machine. Early levels of CyberStart do not require the virtual machine but you will need this to play many of the challenges beyond Level 5, and to try the forensics challenges. Using your own virtual machine and customising the environment is great practice.

Note: Many school computers have restrictions that limit access to the browser dev tools functions. Check with your school IT professional to see if these blocks can be temporarily lifted if you’re going to do this at school, or plan to use unrestricted equipment, like home computers or computers at public libraries, for the more advanced challenges.

If you still have unanswered questions, please let do not hesitate to contact us at