Cuckoo relies on two main configuration files:

  • cuckoo.conf: for configuring general behavior and analysis options.
  • reporting.conf: for enabling or disabling report formats.


We’ll first start editing conf/cuckoo.conf walking through every section and option available.


Following is the logging section:

# Enable/Disable additional debugging messages. This messages won't wrote to
# log file but just printed on screen. [on/off]
debug = off

The debug option enables or disables debug messages that will be both printed on standard output as well as stored in the log file.


Following is the analysis section:

# This is the actual analysis timeout (expressed in seconds). This represents
# the default timeout performed by analysis core if none is specified.
analysis_timeout = 200
# Watchdog timeout (expressed in seconds) for analysis execution to complete,
# when this timeout gets hit, current execution is aborted and virtual machine
# is restored and freed.
watchdog_timeout = 600
# Specify here the path where analysis results shall be stored.
results_path = analysis/
# Enable or disable this option to instruct Cuckoo to delete the original file
# submitted for the analysis. [on/off]
delete_original = on

This section defines two analysis time boundaries:

  • analysis timeout: this timeout represent the maximum time an analysis should last, it can be overridden when submitting a file to analyze.
  • watchdog timeout: this is the time limit for which Cuckoo host should wait for the guest component (analyzer) to terminate its operations.

The analysis timeout should be smaller than the watchdog timeout. If by mistake it’s configured differently, Cuckoo will force the analysis timeout to a smaller value.

Consider that the watchdog timeout should be raised just under critical circumstances, where the analyzer or virtual machine are not responding and therefore need to be killed. When this happens, you’ll most likely lose any analysis results from that run.

The results_path option defines where to store the analysis results.

The delete_original option is very self-explainatory: when enabled Cuckoo will delete the submitted file from the original path and will just keep a copy along with the analysis results.


Following is the processing section:

# Specify here the interpreter path to be used to launch the script.
interpreter = /usr/bin/python
# Specify here the path to the analysis results processing script.
processor =

This section defines where the post-analysis processing script is located and how it should be executed.

This script should be your interface to the analysis results and you should use it and customize it at your will in order to consume the data generated by Cuckoo. We’ll get more into details on this in the Customization chapter.

By default Cuckoo provides a Python processing script that invokes some Python classes used to process the results and to generate human readable analysis reports (text, HTML, JSON).

The interpreter option defines the path to the application to be used to execute the script.

The processor option defines the path to the script to be executed.


Following is the sniffer section:

# Enable or disable the following option by assigning a True or False value.
# In case you decide to disable it, you're supposed to either not have any
# network dump or to used VirtualBox's (or any other virtualization engine
# you are using) to handle the network monitoring instead of using an external
# sniffer such as tcpdump. [on/off]
sniffer = off
# Path to the sniffer (tcpdump) binary.
path = /usr/sbin/tcpdump
# This specifies the network interface where the sniffer will bind to in order
# to monitor virtual machines' generated traffic.
interface = eth0

This section should be considered and edited just in the case you decided to use an external sniffer (assuming that you properly installed it already).

If otherwise you don’t plan to use an external sniffer, you can skip this section.

First you’ll need to enable the snifer option by setting it to “on”.

The path option defines where the sniffer (tcpdump) binary is located. It should be generally correct by default.

The interface option defines which network interface the sniffer should monitor. This obviously depends on your network configuration and on how you are planning to configure your virtual machines’ networking. It’s up to you.

Virtual Machines

Following is the Virtual Machines section:

# Virtualization product.
engine = VirtualBox
# List virtual machines IDs separated by commas.
enabled = cuckoo1
# Set to "gui" if you want Cuckoo to spawn virtual machines' GUIs or set to
# "headless" if you don't.
mode = gui
# Path to local Python installation on guest machines. Please be sure to have
# correctly set this value as it's critical to Cuckoo's proper execution.
python = C:\Python27\python.exe

This is probably the most important section in the configuration file, as it defines the core options for the virtualization engine.

The engine option defines which virtualization module to use. At current stage only VirtualBox is supported, therefore you shouldn’t modify this option unless you really know what you’re doing.

The enabled option defines a comma-separated list of enabled virtual machines.


The virtual machines’ IDs used by Cuckoo are user-defined names that are exclusively used internally by Cuckoo. They are not the names used to label the virtual machines inside VirtualBox. Even if they could have the same values (not recommended), it’s important to understand that they are not the same thing.

The mode option defines if the virtualization software should spawn the machines in gui mode (with regular window) or in headless, which will not create any graphical interface.

The python option defines the location of the Python interpreter inside the virtualized Windows environment. This is critical to proper execution of Cuckoo, so take care to use the path you define here when installing Python on Windows or to come back here later and modify this value accordingly.

Virtual machines details

For each virtual machine you specified in the comma-separated list in the enabled option of the previous section, you have to create a dedicated section named with the ID value you assigned in the list.

An example of such section is:

name = Cuckoo1
username = User
password = cuckoo
# Please notice that the shared folder name must coincide with the current
# virtual machine id, which is the name you assigned between the square
# brackets (e.g. [cuckoo1]).
share = shares/cuckoo1

As you notice the section name [cuckoo1] has to contain the ID you assigned to the virtual machine.

The name option is the name you’re going to use to create the virtual machine in VirtualBox.

The username option defines the name of the Windows account you’re going to create.

The password option defines the password for such Windows account.


The Windows account is mandatory. It is needed to allow the host to execute commands inside the guest operating system, therefore the username and password options must containd valid values.

The share option defines the path to the shared folder you’re going to assign to this specific virtual machine. This folder has to exist, therefore make sure to create it. The name of such folder must coincide with the ID you assigned to current virtual machine. In the example given, the current virtual machine ID is “cuckoo1”, so the shared folder is named “cuckoo1” as well.

If for example you defined more than one virtual machine in the enabled option (e.g. “cuckoo1,cuckoo2”) you’ll have to create multiple details sections like:

name = Cuckoo1
username = User
password = cuckoo
share = shares/cuckoo1

name = Cuckoo2
username = User
password = cuckoo
share = shares/cuckoo2


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

It contains the following section:

# Enable/Disable reporting tasks.
# Here you can choose what report enable or disable.
# By default all available reporting tasks are enabled.
# Available values are [on/off]
jsondump = on
reporttxt = on
reporthtml = on
metadata = on
maec = on
pickled = on

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