Henry Dalziel | Pentesting Distros | May 14, 2013
2013 2015 Concise Courses Linux Penetration Testing Poll Update! (February 2014) We have decided to keep this open, well, forever! The vote count is looking really healthy and I guess we will close it by mid 2014 and that will give us a poll of over 1K which is clearly a valid representation. So, don’t be shy, submit your favorite. Here is our list. If you feel that we might have left one out please let us know.
Thanks for voting!
Voting is now closed! However – here is a screenshot of the results as at November 25th 2014
For a security professional, not having the correct tools would pose a rather significant problem.
The great thing about Linux Distributions (whether they have been designed for security, forensics or wireless security) is that of convenience. Having all the necessary security tools under the hood is clearly going to make you work more efficiently and effectively but of equal importance is being able to update the repositories and software packages.
BackTrack was by far the best known and widely used with over approximately 4 million users in 2012 – which is really quite a staggering amount of people. For a reference, Ubuntu (which is the foundation of most of the penetration testing distros we cover in our blog and website) is used by 12 million people on a daily basis according to their homepage. For such a niche distro like BackTrack (which is now Kali Linux) to make such a dent is definitely impressive.
What are the differences to the Linux (niche) penetration testing/ security distributions out there?
With reference to the tools they actually use – not much. With reference to the intention or rather purpose of the distro or Live CD there is a lot of difference. For example CAINE has a focus on forensics whilst Kali Linux is clearly an all-round security distro. There are differences with the GUI they use. Some are Gnome, KDE or our favorite XFCE. Artwork, design, whether they run on root, the way the handle repositories and software package updates, their level of support and depth of community all enhance the uniqueness of the distribution which ultimately is there to help you.
Please let us know in the comments below if we have missed out a distro!