Running Your First Operation

This section will you show how to get your first operation up and running. An operation is the basic unit of Adversary Emulation.


If you haven’t already done so, follow the instructions in the Installation section before proceeding

If the CALDERA server isn’t running, start it by navigating to the caldera/ directory and executing


Then navigate to the CALDERA interface at https://localhost:8888

The default user account is admin and the default password is caldera

If you’ve followed the Installation instructions, you should have some agents connected, check this by going to the Debug > Connected Agents tab. If no agents are connected, go back to the Installation instructions to ensure that the Agents have been properly installed.

Creating an Adversary

To perform an Operation, CALDERA needs an Adversary to emulate. In CALDERA, an Adversary represents a real adversary’s tactics and techniques. When we create our operation we will select an Adversary to use which will dictate what techniques CALDERA performs during the operation.

We will create a simple Adversary.

Click on Threat > Create Adversary. This will take you to the adversary creation page. Several fields exist for you to configure.

This is the name that you would like to give to the adversary, for this example name it whatever you would like

These are the atomic actions that the adversary is allowed to perform. Steps are the main way in which you can change the behavior of your adversary. Each step gives the adversary new abilities to perform. Steps have a name and additionally are listed with their ATT&CK ID and ATT&CK Tactics. A detailed listing of each step is available by going to Threat > Configure Steps. For this example, select the following steps from the list:

  • copy_file: [T1105, Lateral Movement]
  • get_creds: [T1003, Credential Access]
  • get_admin: [T1086, Execution | T1069 & T1087, Discovery]
  • get_computers: [T1086, Execution | T1018, Discovery]
  • get_domain: [T1016, Discovery]
  • net_use: [T1077, Lateral Movement]
  • remote_process(WMI): [T1047, Execution]
Artifact Lists
Artifact lists allow you to customize the artifacts that your adversary leaves behind. These artifacts include things like file and service names. For now we will leave this field blank to use the default artifact list.
Exfil Method
CALDERA supports exfiltration techniques. This field defines how the adversary will exfiltrate data.
  • raw_tcp - exfiltrate using a tcp based protocol
  • http - exfiltrate using an http protocol
  • https - exfiltrate using an https protocol
Exfil Address
This is the IP address that CALDERA will exfiltrate data to. Leaving it set as x.x.x.x will automatically use CALDERA’s runtime IP address automatically. Leave this set to x.x.x.x for now.
Exfil Port
This is the TCP port that CALDERA will exfiltrate to. Leave this set to its default.

After completing this, click “Submit”. You can now see the newly created Adversary. If you made a mistake click the small pencil icon in the top right to edit the adversary.

Creating a Network

Now we will create a network for the adversary to operate on. Networks are just collections of host. They are a simple way for CALDERA to organize and group together computers.

Navigate to Networks > Create Network. You will be brought to the adversary creation page. There are a few fields for you to configure.

You can name the network you are creating. For this example give the network any name you would like
This will let you select the domain name of the computers that you would like to include in this exercise. Every computer in a Network must be from the same domain. For this example select whichever domain is available.
Once you have selected your Domain, the Hosts field will populate. As Agents register with the CALDERA server, they are added to this field. Select as many hosts as you would like to participate in this game.

Click “Submit” at the bottom of this page to create the Network.

Create an Operation

Now that we have created both an Adversary and a Network, we can create our first operation.

Go to Operations > Create Operation.

This will take you to the Operation creation page, where there are a lot of values to customize. We will explain them all but most of them are advanced and we won’t need to configure them.

You can give the Operation a name so that you can remember it.
You must select an Adversary which will be the agressor in this Operation. Pick the adversary that you created earlier.
You must select a network for this Operation which will limit the scope of the operation to the hosts contained in the Network you choose. Select the Network you created earlier.
Starting Host
This is the first host that the Operation will start on. Select from one of the options.
Start Method

This option lets you configure how the initial RAT will be created. Because CALDERA assumes that a network has already been compromised, CALDERA begins with a RAT running on the starting host. This field lets you configure how that RAT is created.

  • Existing Rat - If a RAT is already connected to CALDERA, you can use it as the starting RAT. If you select this option, an additional field will appear called “Starting Rat” that will allow you to pick the RAT you would like to start with.
  • Wait For New Rat - If you would like to launch the RAT manually, you may select this option to have CALDERA wait for a Rat to connect
  • Bootstrap Rat - CALDERA can automatically start a RAT on the starting host for you. Select this option.
Start Path
You may tell CALDERA where you would like the Rat’s executable file to be placed. Leave this empty to use the default location.
Starting User

The Rat can be started in several different user contexts. This field lets you select the user context you would like the Rat to start as.

  • System - This is the System account. Leave this option selected.
  • Active User - This will start the Rat as the user account of whoever is logged in. If you select this option you will see a field called “Parent Process” appear, which will let you enter a process to use as the parent for the rat
  • Logon User - This will let you enter a specific user account to use. If you select this option, two fields will appear for you to enter the user name and password of the account that you would like the Rat to run under.
CALDERA has the ability to cleanup after itself at the end of an operation. With a few exceptions, every technique that CALDERA executes can be cleaned up. Checking this box will perform the cleanup automatically when CALDERA is finished with the operation. Unchecking this box with allow you to manually trigger cleanup after the operation is over.
Command Delay (ms) & Command Jitter (ms)

CALDERA typically runs techniques very quickly. If you would like to introduce some variability in how quickly CALDERA operates, you can artificially slow it down by adding delay and jitter. Every time CALDERA tries to execute a command, delay and jitter are used to calculate a sleep function. The value for this sleep is defined by the expression:

delay + random(-jitter, jitter)

where the function random returns a random number between its first and second parameter. For now leave delay and jitter set to 0.

Clone Previous Operation
At the bottom of the screen you can also see that there is an option to clone a previous operation. This lets you quickly copy the settings from a previous Operation.

Now that you have configured the Operation select, “Submit”.


Creating an Operation will immediately start running it.

This will create and start the operation, and take you to the operation view.

Observing an Operation

In the Operation view, you can view the progress that CALDERA has made working on an operation.

The operation’s status is displayed at the top of the screen next to the Operation’s name.

Below the status, colored bubbles indicate the number of hosts and credentials that have been compromised during this operation.

The bubbles on the left indicate CALDERA’s progress in compromising the network. Each bubble represents a host within the network. Bubbles start out gray. When CALDERA discovers a host, that host’s bubble turns blue. When CALDERA gets a Rat on a host, that host turns red.

On the right is a pane called “Operation Details”. This has several tabs that let you explore the operation.

The Steps tab shows all of the steps that have been executed. Clicking on a step will expand the step to show the exact commands that CALDERA executed.
The Jobs tab is used for debugging
The Artifacts tab lists artifacts that CALDERA creates on the network. At the moment only files that CALDERA creates are listed here
Cleanup Log
The cleanup log lists any errors that occurred during operation cleanup.