Before You Begin
Read this section before you install Cobalt Strike.
The following items are required for any system hosting the Cobalt Strike client and/or server components.
Cobalt Strike's GUI client and team server require one of the following Java environments:
- Oracle Java 1.8
- Oracle Java 11
- OpenJDK 11. (see Installing OpenJDK for instructions)
If your organization does not have a license that allows commercial use of Oracle's Java, we encourage you to use OpenJDK 11.
Supported Operating Systems
Cobalt Strike Team Server is supported on a Linux system that meets the Java requirements and has been tested on the following Debian based Linux distributions (other versions may work but have not been tested):
- Kali Linux
Cobalt Strike Client runs on the following systems:
- Windows 7 and above
- MacOS X 10.13 and above
GUI based Linux, such as: Debian, Ubuntu and Kali Linux (other versions may work but have not been tested)
In addition to an accepted operating system, the below minimum requirements should be met:
- 2 GHz+ processor
- 2 GB RAM
- 500MB+ available disk space
On Amazon's EC2, use at least a High-CPU Medium (c1.medium, 1.7 GB) instance.
Be aware that certain Linux distributions may be missing or don't have the correct version of glibc. If you run into that issue, review the Knowledge Article, glibc Missing From Older Linux Distributions, on the Fortra Portal.
Cobalt Strike is tested with OpenJDK 11 and its launchers are compatible with a properly installed OpenJDK 11 environment.
Linux (Kali 2018.4, Ubuntu 18.04)
sudo apt-get update
Install OpenJDK 11 with APT:
sudo apt-get install openjdk-11-jdk
Make OpenJDK 11 the default:
sudo update-java-alternatives -s java-1.11.0-openjdk-amd64
- Uninstall the current OpenJDK package(s).
- Download OpenJDK for Linux/x64 at: https://jdk.java.net/archive/.
Extract the OpenJDK binary:
tar zxvf openjdk-11.0.1_linux-x64_bin.tar.gz
Move the OpenJDK folder to /usr/local:
mv jdk-11.0.1 /usr/local
Add the following to ~/.bashrc:
Refresh your ~/.bashrc to make the new environment variables take effect:
- Download OpenJDK for macOS/x64 at: https://jdk.java.net/archive/.
- Open a Terminal and navigate to the Downloads/ folder.
Extract the archive:
tar zxvf openjdk-11.0.1_osx-x64_bin.tar.gz
Move the extracted archive to /Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/:
sudo mv jdk-11.0.1.jdk/ /Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/
The java command on MacOS X will use the highest Java version in /Library/Java as the default.
If you are seeing a JRELoadError message this is because the JavaAppLauncher stub included with Cobalt Strike loads a library from a set path to run the JVM within the stub process. Issue the following command to fix this error:
sudo ln -fs /Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/jdk-11.0.2.jdk /Library/Internet\ Plug-Ins/JavaAppletPlugin.plugin
Replace jdk-11.0.2.jdk with your Java path. The next Cobalt Strike release will use a Java Application Stub for MacOS X that is more flexible.
- Download OpenJDK for Windows/x64 at: https://jdk.java.net/archive/.
- Extract the archive to c:\program files\jdk-11.0.1.
- Add c:\program files\jdk-11.0.\bin to your user's PATH environment variable:
- Go to Control Panel-> System-> Change Settings-> Advanced-> Environment Variables....
- Highlight Path in User variables for user.
- Press Edit.
- Press New.
- Type: c:\program files\jdk-11.0.1\bin.
- Press OK on all dialogs.
Wayland Desktop - Not Supported
Wayland is a modern replacement for the X Windows System. Wayland has made great strides, as a project, and some desktop environments use it as their default window system. Don't let the adoption fool you though. Not all applications or application environments work 100% perfectly on Wayland. There are still bugs and issues to address.
There are bugs in Java (or Wayland) that may cause a graphical Java application to crash, during normal use, when run in a Wayland desktop. These bugs affect Cobalt Strike users. Fortra does not support the use of Cobalt Strike on Wayland desktops.
Am I using Wayland?
echo $XDG_SESSION_TYPE to find out if you're on wayland or x11.
How to disable Wayland on Kali Linux
The latest version of Kali Linux 2017 Rolling uses a Wayland desktop by default. To change this back to X11:
- Open /etc/gdm3/daemon.conf with your favorite text editor.
- Find the [daemon] section.
- Add WaylandEnable=false and reboot your system.