Henry Dalziel | Pentesting Distros | March 23, 2013
Kali Linux is a much hyped Linux penetration testing distribution and for good reason as well – it is a continuation of the much hallowed BackTrack distro.
We have reported a lot on Linux pentesting distros with our favorite being BackBox – primarily because it just works right away with zero tweaking, and also because it runs on XFCE which is insanely fast. So what does Kali offer and what are the key features of the distro?
Related Post: See the Kali Linux family tree and how it evolved from Knoppix (back in the day) which was forked into WHoppix – then WHAX – then BackTrack, and finally Kali Linux! Worth also mentioning that this post family tree post was mentioned in the PaulDotCom security web show!
If you’d like a detailed look at Kali Linux, might be better to head over to their official site – but here’s a quick summary for you:
With regards to penetration testing tools, the folks at Offensive Security basically cleansed BackTrack, took out the old, broken and duplicated and brought in the new and thereby created Kali Linux. Not only are the pentesting tools GPG signed (along with the repositories) but there has been an emphasis on making Kali Linux the multinational penetration testing Linux Distribution of choice. By making an effort to incorporate other widely spoken languages is a smart move since it will have a positive impact with regards to the distro’s usage in other countries.
Being and staying true to the open source ethos Kali Linux is using a Git Tree which enables users to see and tweak all software sources. Kali is also FHS compliant (Filesystem Hierarchy Standard) enabling users greater ease in being able to locate files, binaries and libraries. Ensuring FHS compliance with the Git Tree does make tweaking the distro a breeze – and for that Offensive Security needs praise.
One of our personal issues here at Concise Courses was the problems we used to encounter with regards to getting our wireless cards and drivers to work with tools and penetration testing distro’s. To that effect Kali Linux has made special effort to help us all by embedding excellent wireless device support. Kali Linux has been built with support to include many wireless devices so that they can correctly operate on many hardware platforms.
ARM support is also credit-worthy as the architecture becomes more popular.
In summary Kali Linux, as a continuation of the ever popular BackTrack Linux needs praise – the team are dedicated and, it seems, are listening to their ever growing and loyal community. We are going to stick with BackBox but will certainly have Kali on a virtual machine to further experiment. Have you used Kali? What do you think about it?