Getting Started with NDG Online Labs

Karen Lucas -

Launch a Course and Select a Lab Exercise

The courses you are enrolled in are listed on the home page of your NDG Online account under the Learn tab in the navigation menu. The content available to you through your NDG Online account will vary, depending on the courses in which you are enrolled.

1. For this example, we will select the Cisco CCNA Cyber Ops course. Click on the class card to launch the course.

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2. The lab exercises associated with course are listed. Select a lab exercise by clicking a lab exercise name.

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3. You may see the NDG Logo briefly displayed on the screen while the NDG Online system connects to the resources needed for the lab environment. Wait for the connection to complete, pod initialization will begin shortly.

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4. You may see the Initializing POD indicator displayed on the page as your lab session begins. This indicates the NDG Online system is in the process of initializing the devices in the pod to prepare them for use. Allow the initialization to proceed. The lab access interface will display when initialization is complete.

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Explore the Sections of the Lab Access Interface

The lab access interface is divided into several tabbed sections. The Topology, Content and Status tabs provide access to NDG Online functions. Additional tabs provide access to the devices in the pod. The devices in a pod will vary, depending on the course and lab exercise.

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As you perform different actions throughout your lab session in any of the tabbed sections, you will see Lab Notifications displayed in the right corner, below the Time Remaining Indicator. Most messages are set to display only briefly.

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Topology Tab

The Topology tab displays the lab topology including the IP addressing scheme and physical or logical connections. The devices included in topologies will vary by course and by lab exercise.

Clicking on the icon of a device on the topology diagram will change the active tab to the tab for the selected device (accessing a device is discussed below). 

In this example, the topology diagram shows five devices:

  • CyberOps Workstation
  • Kali
  • Metasploitable
  • Security Onion
  • Winclient

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Content Tab

The Content tab displays the lab content, the instructional material associated with the lab. 

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If the content is not displayed on the Content tab, please refer to the section below for configuration guidance.

You may see options to rotate the display of the content, download and print. The options available will vary, depending on your choice of browser and your browser settings.

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To adjust your view of the content, you may see buttons to toggle the content display between Fit to Width/Fit to Display and Zoom in/Zoom out. (These options will vary, depending on your browser selection and browser settings.)

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Configure the Browser to Display Content

If your browser is not configured to view PDF files inside the browser, the content will not be displayed. Instead, you will see a message similar to the screen shown below.

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You may launch the PDF in a separate window by clicking the link. But, if you would like to configure your browser to display the PDF, you may do so by following the steps below. For this example, we will configure the Firefox browser. The steps required to configure your browser will vary, depending on your selection of browser and browser settings.

1. Open the Firefox menu and select Options, which will open in a new browser tab.

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2. Scroll down the Options page and locate the Applications section. Select the Content Type of Portable Document Format (PDF) and set the Action to Preview in Firefox.

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3. Select the browser tab to return to your lab session. It may be necessary to reload the browser page and re-select the Content tab. The content should now be displayed.

Status Tab

The status of all devices in the pod is displayed on the Status tab. 

NDG Online provides several options for managing devices (options available vary by device), which may be accessed by clicking on the Action dropdown:

  • Send CTRL+ALT+DEL: Simulate the action of pressing CTRL+ALT+DEL on the device.
  • Undock: Access to the device is made available in a separate, floating window, allowing you to position and arrange windows to suit your needs. (for details, see the Undock and Dock Device Windows section below.
  • Actual Size, Scale Display: Options to adjust the size of the output displayed in a window, relative to the size of the viewer window.
  • Power on, Power Off: Options to toggle the power of the device.

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Access a Device

In this section, we will illustrate the process of accessing one of the devices in the pod, starting from the Topology tab. Access the Security Onion by clicking the icon the topology diagram or by clicking on the Security Onion device tab.

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The active tab will change to the Security Onion tab and the device will be displayed in the viewer. You may interact with the device as if you were accessing it directly, including entering credentials (typically provided in content) and entering commands.

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As we saw in the Status Tab, NDG Online provides several options for managing devices, which may also be accessed by clicking on the currently selected device name tab (Security Onion, in this example).

  • Send CTRL+ALT+DEL: Simulate the action of pressing CTRL+ALT+DEL on the device.
  • Undock: Access to the device is made available in a separate, floating window, allowing you to position and arrange windows to suit your needs. (for details, see the Undock and Dock Device Windows section below.
  • Actual Size, Scale Display: Options to adjust the size of the output displayed in a window, relative to the size of the viewer window.
  • Power on, Power Off: Options to toggle the power of the device.

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Undock and Dock Device Windows

To organize your workspace, it can be helpful to have the terminal windows for several devices arranged so that you may conveniently view and easily access all of them. You may Undock any lab device to have the terminal displayed in its own window.

1. From the lab device tab (CyberOps Workstation, in this example) select the option to Undock the device display.

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2. The CyberOps Workstation device tab indicates the device is currently undocked and displayed in its own window. You may move and resize the window to suit your needs.

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3. To dock the terminal display back to the device tab, select the Dock option on the device window.

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Switch to a Different Lab Exercise

1. If you have completed all the activity associated with the current lab exercise, you may choose to continue your session using a different lab exercise. Select the Modules option in the left panel.

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2. The list of content for the course will be displayed. Select a lab exercise by clicking the exercise name.

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3. The content for the selected lab exercise will be loaded. The lab interface will indicate Switching Labs... The lab reservation will resume when the new lab is loaded.

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 Extend a Lab Session

1. In the event that the time remaining is about to expire and additional time is needed to perform a lab, it is possible to extend a lab session. When time remaining equals 15 minutes, a warning message will appear in the top right-hand side of the lab environment along with a Request More Time button. Click on the Request More Time button to add time. A total of three (3) extensions are allowed per lab.  

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