Cybrary SOC Career Path - Greenbone Security Assistant 503 ERR0R

Vulnerability Identification and Remediation Lab BUG?

Why I’m Doing This

This is officially the start of blogging about my experience in cybersecurity and what I’m learning on my journey to being a bug bounty hunter aka self-employed pentester. I’ve decided to leave the python projects alone for now and go back to them in the future once I have scored my CompTIA Security+ certification and my OSCP. I will be telling you all about what I’m learning in Cybrary, Darril Gibson’s labs, HackThisSite, and any other security study platforms I will use to help me with my success. Along with sharing what I’m learning, I will also be sharing what I may not understand or any bugs I find in labs on these platforms. This is to help me better understand what concepts I need to focus on as well as getting bugs fixed just in case you all may run into them too.

I’m not sure if this is officially a bug or not but right now I’m calling it one until I get answers back from Cybrary. I have been trying to complete this lab since February of this year to no prevail yet. If you are not familiar with the way the Cybrary Insider Pro platform is set up it is basically an online lab environment filled with many different virtual machines. These virtual machines are set up a certain way to help you complete specific tasks in order to get your full points for the lab as well as gain new hacking skills. When I do my interactive Twitter threads (check the link below) you all that tune in, usually who chip in tips to help, you think I’m in my own lab environment. Going forward I want you to understand that I am not and that some of the issues that may be going on might have to be handled by Cybrary and not a simple Google search.

Confirming IPs and Creating a Target List

In this Vulnerability and Remediation lab, we are expected to confirm devices in a provided IP range and create a target list of those devices to run a vulnerability assessment against. There are many other objectives expected from this lab but for right now we’re going to focus on that one since it’s where I get stuck. After communicating this issue with Cybrary I will see if it’s okay to blog about the rest of the lab as well as future labs on my website. When first starting the lab tasks everything goes smoothly and I am able to complete everything with no problem. This is the case all the way up until I start creating the setup for using “OpenVas” for the first time. OpenVas is just a software framework that has different tools and services that offer vulnerability scanning and management. Before we get into setting up OpenVAS in the lab I want to point out the first confusing set of instructions that I want to make note of.

Before setting up the OpenVAS vulnerability scanner in the Kali Linux environment, Cybrary instructs us to create a “Target List” of all the IPs gathered from the initial nmap scan performed. Once the target list has been created and saved in the root folder of the OS, we are instructed to use the “leafpad” tool to delete the reoccurring IP addresses. This is so that there is only one of each IP address in the target list so OpenVAS isn’t scanning duplicate addresses. Similar to how the screenshot looks below:

Screen Shot 2019-06-14 at 12.49.45 AM.png

Cybrary has an “Alert” and “Screenshot” section at the bottom left of each lab that warns you of any tips or knowledge you may need to know to complete the lab that’s not listed in the instructions. In this scenario, I noticed the “Alert” section instructed us to exclude the IP address of our Kali Linux machine, which is done in the screenshot above, but in the “Screenshot” section of this lab, it lists the IP address of the Kali machine. This may confuse others who are completing the lab because I know for a fact it is confusing me and I want to find out if this is maybe an issue as to why I can’t complete the lab.

Alert Section

Alert Section

Screenshot Section

Screenshot Section

\Vulnerability Assessment Using OpenVAS

Now let’s get to the nitty-gritty and where I think the real issue lies. When starting up OpenVAS for the first time for this lab Cybrary instructs us to do the following below:

Applications -> 02 - Vulnerability Analysis -> openvas initial setup

Screen Shot 2019-06-14 at 12.50.28 AM.png

I notice when this setup is running it looks like there are some failures that occur that may be why the vulnerability scanning tool, GreenBone Security Assistant, throws back a specific error letting us know something was not set up right. Take a look at the errors that occur after running the initial setup.

Screen Shot 2019-06-14 at 1.13.45 AM.png
Screen Shot 2019-06-14 at 1.14.02 AM.png
Screen Shot 2019-06-14 at 1.14.19 AM.png
Screen Shot 2019-06-12 at 1.15.18 AM.png

This process takes a few minutes to complete but according to the lab instructions this setup is supposed to ensure the SSL certificate needed to access the OpenVAS server covers the date we perform this lab. Now in the screenshot above it has previously recorded date because I took screenshots days before writing this lab but in this case, it should look similar to that. Once that’s done we move onto importing the target list file into the online vunerability scanner, Greenbone Security Assistant, where I run into a “Start Task, 503, Service Temporarily Down” error.


We are instructed to open the Iceweasel browser and go to the IP address given to be able to access the Greenbone Security Assistant website. If you take a look at the screenshot below you can see that there is an option to “refresh” Iceweasel because it hasn’t been opened in a while.

Screen Shot 2019-06-14 at 1.32.11 AM.png

Usually, when I run this and restart Iceweasel I am able to access the site and continue with the lab. When I do not refresh Iceweasel when visiting the Greenbone Security Assistance site this happens:

Screen Shot 2019-06-14 at 3.34.30 AM.png

I wanted to point this out as well because I don’t see this listed anywhere in the instructions or tips and tricks section that you would run into this problem. If I didn’t try clicking it I probably wouldn’t have accessed the site. After refreshing the site you get welcomed to the Greenbone Security Assistant page and will be prompted to add the certificate exception (from the openvas initial setup) so that you are able to access the login page. I viewed the details of the cert and everything looked fine here so I’m still not sure as to why I am having trouble scanning the IPs inside the security assistant.

Screen Shot 2019-06-14 at 3.37.14 AM.png

Bringing it All Together

After all of that has been figured out I can log in and start scanning the IPs.

Screen Shot 2019-06-14 at 3.37.36 AM.png

After login, we are prompted to upload the target list IPs into the configuration tab to identify the targets that need to be scanned. After setup, the final page should look like this with the previously gathered IPs listed in the “host” section.

Screen Shot 2019-06-14 at 3.42.31 AM.png

Then we move into actually setting up the scan in the scan management tab to be able to scan the target hosts. Following the directions provided by Cybrary, the final setup should look like this:

Screen Shot 2019-06-14 at 3.46.47 AM.png

Now, this is where I start to get the error. We are instructed to press the “play” button in the top menu bar to start the scan but after it is pressed I am immediately presented with the following error:

Screen Shot 2019-06-12 at 12.27.13 AM.png


Because I cannot complete the scan I cannot move on to viewing the scan results and taking the information to plug it into a vulnerability audit report. In the next lab, Creating Recommendations Based on Vulnerability Assessments, in the SOC Career Path Course I am using Greenbone Security Assistant in this lab as well and get the same issue. After experiencing this with another lab I highly believe this is something happening on Cybrary’s end. I will be trying the next lab again soon to see if I can get through it with any issues sometime next week.

Overall I have learned a lot from attempting this lab multiple times. I now know:

  • What Greenbone Security Assistant is and how to set up scans and upload targets

  • How to import nmap scan results into a file using the -oG command

  • What OpenVAS is and how to set it up in Kali

  • What OpenVAS needs updated SSL certificates to run

  • Iceweasel sometime needs a refresh if you haven’t used it in a while to get to certain sites

  • The issue may not always be me, it could be the lab

  • How to go about re-setting an SSL certificate when you encounter the Greenbone Security Assistant 503 error

If you have completed this lab and have any insight please let me know what I could be missing. I want to keep this learning streak going and complete this SOC course before the end of the year. So I can start the Penetration Tester career path. When I get an update from Cybrary I will definitely try the lab again if they do provide a solution and blog about it.

In the meantime, check out my YouTube channel for my security entrepreneurship adventures and what I’m currently learning and or teaching in cybersecurity. Help me get to 4K watch time so I can get monetized to do what I love!!