A power-packed tool or just another average product?
Quite different from other Linux distribution platforms, Kali Linux focuses on forensics and security. While it’s a good offering from Offensive Security, some novice Linux users have been installing the platform without much know-how. If you’re comfortable using Linux platforms, it’s safe to say that this one won’t disappoint.A Debian-based Linux Distro (distribution) designed to support ‘ethical’ hacking, digital forensics and penetration testing, Kali Linux comes with reliable FOSS cybersecurity tools, such as Sqlmap, Skipfish, Wireshark, Metasploit Framework, THC-Hydra and more.
Almost everything you need
What makes it a good choice?
Simply put, a Linux Distro is a bundle containing the primary Linux Kernel, default settings, core utilities and applications. Most of the tools can be easily installed on any Linux distribution system, which makes you wonder if Kali Linux offers something special or not.
Unlike other platforms, this one comes pre-packaged with default settings and tools specifically chosen for intended use cases of distribution. Whatever you need to accomplish with Linux, Kali is a special distribution system making things easier.
On a default Kali Linux system, the applications installed clearly focus on security. You also get a set of command-line tools, which aren’t visible from the menu. Core utilities like an image viewer, text editors and calculator are also available. However, the system still lacks any heavyweight productivity tools or office applications.
As an example, let’s just say that it might be surprising to notice the lack of support for an email reader with standard installation. But since Kali Linux is Debian-based, a lot of packages need to be ported. It also means that you can install additional software on your own, and they should work seamlessly.Since it’s based on Debian, the installation process is simple and straightforward. After a default installation, 'root' is the only available user. Most pen-testing tools need super-user permissions, which could eventually be a burden.With an emphasis on security, Kali Linux uses system hooks to disable network services by default. While these hooks allow you to install different services, they don’t give instant access to network parameters, including Bluetooth.Minimal but trusted set of repositories. Considering the goals and aims of Kali Linux, it’s important to maintain the integrity of the system. Developers have kept upstream software sources to an absolute minimum. While a lot of new users are tempted to add extra repositories to sources.list, it can lead to serious risks affecting the system.
Where can you run this program?
Unlike other Linux Distribution systems, this one provides more flexibility. You can easily install Kali Linux as an OS, or choose to boot a Linux ‘live session’ from CD, DVD or USB. Since it supports ‘Encrypted USB Persistence’, it securely saves changes from even a Live USB session to a new partition. The cybersecurity applications bundled with Kali Linux are well-organized. You can even find a ‘Top 10 Security Tools’ category. With a straightforward ‘apt-get’ command, you can effortlessly update the Kali Distro and bundled applications.
Is there a better alternative?
Whether you’re a security professional, trying to build a career in Information Security or just need knowledge of this specific field, it’s important to choose a Linux Distro that best serves the purpose.
With its own software repository, BackBox provides stable versions of several network and system analysis toolkits. The platform uses the XFCE desktop environment and delivers a customizable, effective and fast experience. It’s also backed by a helpful community.
With its own repository, BlackArch has thousands of tools categorized in different groups. It’s an endless list that keeps growing. In case you already use Linux, you can easily set up a comprehensive BlackArch tools collection.
Samurai Web Testing Framework has a unique framework developed with the primary purpose of pen-testing on the web. It comes as a Virtual Machine, backed by VMWare and VirtualBox. Based on Ubuntu, this framework contains some of the best open-source and free tools focusing on attacking and testing websites. You also get a pre-configured Wiki set up, which allows you to store crucial information during penetration tests.
With a comprehensive set of cyber tools designed to map, stress, enumerate and hack computer systems and networks, Kali Linux is a good choice for every experienced Linux user. All the tools within the system are prioritized and well-organized.
Should you download it?
Well, the answer isn’t simple. Though Kali Linux is an exceptional Linux Distro, it’s not suitable for someone who doesn’t have at least some level of experience in administering a system. In case you’re looking for a simple learning tool, or just need a Linux Distro for general-purpose desktop installation, it’s better to skip this one. However, if you’re studying penetration testing rigorously, or have been involved with professional penetration testing, there’s no better Linux Distro than Kali Linux, at any price.
Regarding installation, you can either install Kali Linux as an OS or boot as a ‘live session’ from CD, DVD or USB. Since the platform supports ‘Encrypted USB Persistence’, you can save changes without worrying about losing data or important information. If your goal is to become a certified professional or improve your existing Linux skills, don’t look anywhere else. This one will be a great choice!
- Free and open-source
- Automatic updates available
- Comprehensive set of cyber tools
- Mediocre usability
- Default Gnome desktop theme seems dull
- Needs extensive experience with Linux