This Content was created in 2018 and Caldera has changed a lot since then. Content and steps might be outdated.


MITRE's CALDERA project rocks! It emulates adversarial actions on a network. These instructions will guide you through installing and running your first operation. These instructions also work as-is for a Raspberry pi! The performance on the pi is limiting, but its worth it for portability and demos for clients. I don't recommend using CALDERA on a pi if testing in a lab with more than 5 hosts, perhaps an odroid would work better.


You'll need the following:

  • Ubuntu 16.04 server or Raspberry pi 2
  • 15 minutes of your time

Step 1 - Installing caldera

  1. Install dependencies

    apt-get -y install python3-dev python3-pip git-core mongodb
  2. Make sure setup-tools in up to date

    pip3 install --upgrade setuptools
  3. Download CALDERA

    git clone https://github.com/mitre/caldera
  4. Install CALDERA. cd into the caldera/caldera directory and run:

    pip3 install -r requirements.txt
  5. Prep database

    echo "replSet = caldera" >> /etc/mongodb.conf

    Restart the database with systemctl restart mongodb.service.

  6. Download crater, CALDERA's RAT.

    Make sure you are in the caldera directory (not caldera/caldera), then run:

    mkdir -p dep/crater/crater && cd dep/crater/crater
    wget https://github.com/mitre/caldera-crater/releases/download/v0.1.0/CraterMainWin7.exe
    wget https://github.com/mitre/caldera-crater/releases/download/v0.1.0/CraterMainWin8up.exe
    ln -s CraterMainWin8up.exe CraterMain.exe
  7. Run CALDERA from the following directory caldera/caldera.

    python3 caldera.py

    You should be able to login to the UI at https://CALDERAIP:8888 Note: default credentials are admin:caldera

  8. Optional - In preparation for step 2. You can download the required agent software (cagent and visual c++ redistributable) to the server so agents can easily download locally. Handy for a portable setup on the pi.

    cd ~/
    wget https://download.microsoft.com/download/9/3/F/93FCF1E7-E6A4-478B-96E7-D4B285925B00/vc_redist.x64.exe
    wget https://github.com/mitre/caldera-agent/releases/download/v0.1.0/cagent.exe

    You can host a python web server to download these: python -m SimpleHTTPServer

Step 2 - Setup agents

On your lab systems:

  1. Install Visual C++ Redistributable

  2. Create directory c:\Program Files\cagent. Download the agent's configuration file from your CALDERA server https://YOUR-CALDERA-SERVER:8888/conf.yml and save it to the c:\program files\cagent directory. Download and save the agent.

    NOTE: you may need to edit the conf.yml if DNS doesn't work in your lab.

  3. Open an administrative command prompt, and in the c:\program files\cagent directory perform the following:

    cagent.exe --startup auto install
    cagent.exe start

If all goes well you'll see the agent under Debug>Connected Agents

You can verify agents are working by sending commands to the agent under Debug>Send Command feature.

Step 3 - Setup and launch an adversary operation

CALDERA needs to know 3 things before you can launch an operation.

Setup your network and assign hosts

Creat an adversary (or choose a builtin)

Create an operation

After you create the operation, CALDERA automatically kicks off the operation after you create it. Here it is in action:


CALDERA github repo
CALDERA documentation
BlackHat presenation on CALDERA by Andy Applebaum and Doug Miller

Tips and Troubleshooting

  • If you re-ip an agent and keep the same hostname, you will run into issues. CALDERA will always pick old/stale entry and you wont be able to purge it via UI. You'll have to modify the database.
  • remove agents with cagent.exe remove
  • Even default installs of Windows 10 will flag PowerView as malicious and CALDERA will fail to successfully execute some steps that require it. To work around this, use CALDERA's script editor to modify the powerview-ps1 script or better would be to obfuscate it. NOTE: You must use the script editor since the files are stored in binary. Alternatively you can disable Windows Defender to have all tests succeed. Edit GPO: comp configuration > admin templates > windows components > windows defender
  • The agent is designed to run under a domain users context. Start it with domain user like so: cagent.exe --username DOMAIN\bjames --password SECRET start