Cuckoo relies on a couple of main configuration files:

  • cuckoo.conf: for configuring general behavior and analysis options.
  • auxiliary.conf: for enabling and configuring auxiliary modules.
  • <machinery>.conf: for defining the options for your virtualization software (the file has the same name of the machinery module you choose in cuckoo.conf).
  • memory.conf: Volatility configuration.
  • processing.conf: for enabling and configuring processing modules.
  • reporting.conf: for enabling or disabling report formats.

To get Cuckoo working you should at the very least edit cuckoo.conf and <machinery>.conf.


The first file to edit is $CWD/conf/cuckoo.conf. Note that we’ll be referring to the Cuckoo Working Directory when we talk about $CWD. The cuckoo.conf file contains generic configuration options that you will want to verify or at least familiarize yourself with before launching Cuckoo.

The file is largely commented and self-explanatory, but some of the options may be of special interest to you:

  • machinery in [cuckoo]:
    This option defines which Machinery module you want Cuckoo to use to interact with your analysis machines. The value must be the name of the module without extension (e.g., virtualbox or vmware).
  • ip and port in [resultserver]:
    These define the local IP address and port that Cuckoo is going to try to bind the result server on. Make sure this matches the network configuration of your analysis machines or they won’t be able to return any results.
  • connection in [database]:
    The database connection string defines how Cuckoo will connect to the internal database. You can use any DBMS supported by SQLAlchemy using a valid Database Urls syntax.


Check your interface for resultserver IP! Some virtualization software (for example Virtualbox) don’t bring up the virtual networking interfaces until a virtual machine is started. Cuckoo needs to have the interface where you bind the resultserver up before the start, so please check your network setup. If you are not sure about how to get the interface up, a good trick is to manually start and stop an analysis virtual machine, this will bring virtual networking up. If you are using NAT/PAT in your network, you can set up the resultserver IP to to listen on all interfaces, then use the specific options resultserver_ip and resultserver_port in <machinery>.conf to specify the address and port as every machine sees them. Note that if you set resultserver IP to in cuckoo.conf you have to set resultserver_ip for all your virtual machines.


Auxiliary modules are scripts that run concurrently with malware analysis, this file defines their options.

Following is the default $CWD/conf/auxiliary.conf file.


Machinery modules are scripts that define how Cuckoo should interact with your virtualization software of choice.

Every module has a dedicated configuration file which defines the details on the available machines. For example, Cuckoo comes with a VMWware machinery module. In order to use it one has to specify vmware as machinery option in $CWD/conf/cuckoo.conf and populate the $CWD/conf/vmware.conf file with the available Virtual Machines.

Cuckoo provides some modules by default and for the sake of this guide, we’ll assume you’re going to use VirtualBox.

Following is the default $CWD/conf/virtualbox.conf file.

The configuration for the other machinery modules look mostly the same with some variations where required. E.g., XenServer operates through an API, so to access it a URL and credentials are required.

The comments for the options are self-explanatory.

Following is the default $CWD/conf/kvm.conf file.


The Volatility tool offers a large set of plugins for memory dump analysis. Some of them are quite slow. The $CWD/conf/volatility.conf file let’s you enable or disable plugins of your choice. To use Volatility you have to follow two steps:

  • Enable volatility in $CWD/conf/processing.conf
  • Enable memory_dump in $CWD/conf/cuckoo.conf

In $CWD/conf/memory.conf‘s basic section you can configure the Volatility profile and whether memory dumps should be deleted after having been processed (this saves a lot of diskspace):

# Basic settings
# Profile to avoid wasting time identifying it
guest_profile = WinXPSP2x86
# Delete memory dump after volatility processing.
delete_memdump = no

After that every plugin has its own section for configuration:

# Scans for hidden/injected code and dlls
enabled = on
filter = on

# Lists hooked api in user mode and kernel space
# Expect it to be very slow when enabled
enabled = off
filter = on

The filter configuration helps you to remove known clean data from the resulting report. It can be configured separately for every plugin.

The filter itself is configured in the [mask] section. You can enter a list of pids in pid_generic to filter out processes:

# Masks. Data that should not be logged
# Just get this information from your plain VM Snapshot (without running malware)
# This will filter out unwanted information in the logs
# pid_generic: a list of process ids that already existed on the machine before the malware was started.
pid_generic = 4, 680, 752, 776, 828, 840, 1000, 1052, 1168, 1364, 1428, 1476, 1808, 452, 580, 652, 248, 1992, 1696, 1260, 1656, 1156


This file allows you to enable, disable and configure all processing modules. These modules are located under the cuckoo.processing module and define how to digest the raw data collected during the analysis.

You will find a section for each processing module in $CWD/conf/processing.conf.

You might want to configure the VirusTotal key if you have an account of your own.


The $CWD/conf/reporting.conf file contains information on the reports generation.

It contains the following sections.

By setting those option to on or off you enable or disable the generation of such reports.