Introduction to Google Cloud Platform

Part 0: Choose a Google account

In this tutorial, you will use a Google account to sign up for Google Cloud Platform (GCP). You will also join a Google Group with this account, which will give you access to certain GCP resources.

Choose an Google account you will use. Important: It must be an Google account.

You have several options:

  • You can use a personal Google account that you already have
  • You can create a new personal Google account by signing up for one here
  • If you have a google account (perhaps through your university), it won’t work for GCP unless the domain admin has enabled creation of GCP resources by your account. For example, GCP accounts will not be able to create projects on GCP. If this is the case, use a personal Google account.

Regardless, whenever you use GCP, be sure that you are accessing the platform while signed in to the correct Google account. Otherwise, you may be confused to not see expected projects or to get “access denied” messages.

Tip: You can use a browser incognito window to make sure you are signed in to the correct google account. In this window, sign in only to the google account you want to use with GCP.

Part 1: Sign up for Google Cloud Platform (GCP)

Important: Do the following while signed in to the Google account that you want to use with GCP.

  • Visit and click “Get started for free.”
  • Make sure you are signed in to Google with the account you want to use with GCP.
  • Step 1 of 2: Agree to the terms of service.
  • Step 2 of 2: Choose “Account type” > “Individual”. Complete the sign-up form. Provide a credit card.

    Why a credit card? Google still requires a credit card to make sure you are not a robot. Google will not autocharge your account unless you manually upgrade to a paid plan.
  • Click “Start my free trial”.

Part 2: Purchase the lab virtual machine access package

To get access to the Google Cloud Platform virtual machines created for the labs on this site, visit the storefront and follow instructions there to purchase access to the “lab virtual machine access package”. This will give your gcp email address access to certain Kali GCP images used for this class.

Part 3: Create a new project and launch a new Kali Linux instance

Once you have purchased access and your gcp email address has been added to the infosec-management google group, do the following:

  • Return to
  • Then, create a new “project” which will house all of the material for this class.
    1. Click “create project”
    2. Choose a name for your project, and for the “Location,” choose “No Organization”.
  • Then, expand the hamburger menu and navigate to the “Compute Engine” area. Click to enable. Wait a few minutes for Compute Engine to set up.
  • Click “Enable.”
  • Click “Create Instance”.
  • Use the following settings for the first set of options:
    1. In the “name” field, enter any name for your instance, such as “kali”.
    2. Set the “Region” field to “us-central1”. The “Zone” can be anything within that zone.
    3. Set the “Series” field set to “N1”
    4. Change the “Machine type” field to “n1-standard-4 (4 vCPU, 15 GB memory)”
      Heads up! GCP might later suggest that your instance is over-provisioned, and that you should downgrade it to something with less memory. If you do this and switch to an instance with less than 7.5 GB memory, then you won't be able to launch some of the memory-intensive virtual machines, such as the Windows one.
    5. For the “CPU platform” field:
      1. Click the “CPU platform and GPU” dropdown to expand this menu section
      2. Select “Intel Haswell or later”.
    Do you get an error message saying that a N1 instance is not available? You might get an error message such as the following: Failed to start kali, A n1-standard-4-VM instance is currently unavailable in [your regional zone]. Alternatively , you can try your request again with a different VM hardward configuration or at a later time. If you get this error message, you can check a different N1-series machine type for availability, such as n1-standard-2, or you could try an N2-series instance, with machine-type n2-standard-4, and with CPU platform Automatic
  • Use the following settings for the “Boot disk” field:
    1. Click “Change”.
    2. Select the “Custom images” tab.
    3. Click “Select a Project.” Click the “All” tab to see all projects. Choose “security-assignments-kali”.
    4. Select the most recent Kali version that you see.
    5. Set “Boot disk type” to “Standard persistent disk”
    6. Under the “Size (GB)” field, you can choose a value between 500GB (the image size) and 1,000GB (the quota limit for new accounts).

      The labs don’t require anywhere near even 500GB disk space, but with cloud computing, the more space that you allocate for your drive, the better performance they give to read/write operations for your instance.

  • Click the “Create” button.

  • Wait a few minutes for your image to boot.
    1. Once it does, it will show a checkmark.
    2. Connect to your instance via ssh. If it fails to connect, try again (the system may not have finished booting).

      You should see a browser window pop up that looks like the following image. Leave this popup open – you will need it for the next step.

Part 4: Connect to your Kali Linux VM using Chrome Remote Desktop

Setting up Chrome Remote Desktop (CRD) will enable you to graphically connect to your Kali instance, from your browser, using a Google account to sign in. You should be able to log in as long as your Kali instance is running on GCP.

  • Open another browser window, and visit
  • Click the “Begin” button.
  • Click the “Next” button. (Chrome Remote Desktop is already installed on Kali).
  • Click the “Authorize” button.
  • Select your personal Google account and click the “Allow” button.
  • Click the icon to the right of the Debian Linux command to copy the command:

  • Switch to your browser window with the ssh connection to Kali, paste in the command you copied into the Kali Linux command line. Press enter.
  • Enter and re-enter a six-digit pin. Press enter.
    • You will not see any visual feedback as you enter a pin. This is normal.
    Did you get an OAuth error? This may happen if something went wrong when you ran the command copied , and if you tried to run it again. The copied command is only valid for one attempt. You will need to start this section over again, to obtain another authorization url, which will have a new auth token embedded.
  • Switch back to the window with open. Click the “Remote Access” link at the top or visit

  • Click on your Kali instance.

  • Type in your six-digit pin, and check the box so that your browser remembers the pin.

    Can't get to the pin-entry screen? Try a different web browser, such as Google Chrome. Also try disabling any browser extensions that may be interfering.
  • Next, if you are prompted to enter a password to create a “color managed device”, type in the password toor, and click authenticate.

  • After you finish logging in, you should see a screen like the following:

  • Enable copy-paste across your remote desktop session.

    • Click the blue arrow tab on the right hand of the screen to open additional options in Chrome Remote Desktop.
    • Look for an option to “Enable clipboard synchronization.” Follow prompts in your browser to grant permission. See this example.

      The specific method to enable copy-paste changes from time to time, but is usually accessible through the sidebar.
If you have suspended or stopped your instance, you will need to navigate to the GCP console and start it again before attempting to connect with CRD.

Part 5: Set up budget alerts

You get $300 in free credits when you sign up for google cloud platform. As of 8/27/2019, the Kali instance that you launch will cost almost $200 per month if you run it continuously. So do not run it continuously. Shut down the instance when you are not using it. You are only billed by GCP for time that your instance is running.

You can either suspend, shut down, or delete an instance. Which you choose will depend on your needs, but be aware that suspended instances still incur some costs.

The semester is about four months long, so set up a budget planning to spend (no more than) $75 per month. To do so:

  • Click the hamburger menu on the upper left > Billing > Budgets & alerts.
  • Click Create Budget

  • (1) Scope

    • Projects => “All projects”
    • Services => “All services”
    • uncheck “Discounts” and “Promotions and others”
  • (2) Amount

    • Budget type => “Specified amount”
    • Target amount => $75
  • (3) Actions > Set four thresholds, at 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100%. When you have hit these thresholds within a month, you will receive a budget notification email.

These budget reminders will help you to keep an eye on your costs, and will help remind you to shut down an instance that could otherwise cost you a lot of money.

Part 6: Install a GCP Console app on a mobile device

You can manage your GCP instances from the Cloud Console Mobile App. This can be handy if you realize that you have accidentally left an instance running – you can easily shut it down from the app.

Part 7: Complete the Introduction to Linux Tutorial

Complete this introduction to Linux tutorial. Then, come back and complete the deliverable for this tutorial.


Using the Kali VM for the steps below shows both that you got your Kali VM up and running, and that you have basic skills with the Linux terminal. You must use your Kali GCP instance for the following.

  • Using a terminal,
    • make a directory called linux-tutorial
    • In that directory, create a file called i-did-it.txt with the following contents: Hello, world!
  • Submit a screenshot showing:
    • The browser tab address showing that you are connected via chrome remote desktop to your kali instance
    • The terrifying kali dragon desktop
    • A terminal window, showing:
      • The contents of i-did-it.txt
      • A string with your name and uni email, e.g., echo "Anthony Vance [email protected]"
      • Output of the date command

For example: