Kali Linux is a Debian-based Linux distribution aimed at advanced Penetration Testing and Security Auditing. Kali contains several hundred tools which are geared towards various information security tasks, such as Penetration Testing, Security research, Computer Forensics and Reverse Engineering. Kali Linux was released on the 13th March 2013 as initial version, and latest version 2018.2 was released on April 30, 2018; 41 days ago. Kali Linux is developed, funded and maintained by Offensive Security, a leading information security training company. It was developed by Mati Aharoni and Devon Kearns of Offensive Security through the rewrite of BackTrack, their previous information security testing Linux distribution based on Knoppix. The third core developer Raphaël Hertzog joined them as a Debian expert.
When you start to use Kali Linux, you will realize that there are a wide variety of things that you can do with it. This article is all about the most commonly performed tasks and features used in Kali.
Kali Linux requires a minimum of 20GB hard disk space for installation.
A minimum of 2gb RAM for i386 and AMD64 architectures.
A bootable CD-DVD drive or a USB stick.
Special Features of Kali Linux
Full Customisation of Kali ISOs
Full customisation of Kali ISOs with live-build allowing you to create your own Kali Linux images - Kali Linux is heavily integrated with live-build, allowing endless flexibility in customising and tailoring every aspect of your Kali Linux ISO images.
Kali Linux ISO of Doom and Other Kali Recipes
The Kali Linux ISO of doom - a great example of the flexibility of live-build, and the types and complexity of customisations possible. Build a self-installing, reverse VPN auto-connecting, network bridging Kali image - for the perfect hardware backdoor.
Kali Linux Live USB with LUKS Encrypted Persistence
Kali Linux Live USB persistence with LUKS encryption - Kali has extensive support for USB live installs, allowing for features such as file persistence or full (USB) disk encryption.
Kali Linux Live USB with Multiple Persistence Stores
Kali Linux Live USB with multiple persistence stores - What’s more, Kali Linux supports multiple persistence USB stores on a single USB drive. You can create a live Kali USB bootable drive which supports encryption and multiple store profiles.
Kali Linux Full Disk Encryption
Kali Linux LUKS Full Disk Encryption (FDE) - Having the ability to perform a full disk encryption of your sensitive penetration testing computer drive is an essential feature needed in the industry.
Kali Linux LUKS Encryption Nuke
Nuking your Kali Linux hard disk with the Kali LUKS nuke option - While being able to encrypt your drives is important, we believe it’s also important to be able to quickly control the destruction of data on these drives. Kali LUKS nuke feature is unique for distribution.
Kali Linux Metapackages
Mastering Kali Linux tool sets with Kali Metapackages - Kali contains a bunch of meta package collections which aggregate different toolsets. This makes it easy to get custom, minimized environments set up. For example, if all you need are some wireless tools for an upcoming assessment, you can apt-get install kali-Linux-wireless.
Kali Linux Amazon EC2 AWS Images
Kali Linux in the cloud - Kali Amazon EC2 images available - You can easily set up a cloud version of Kali Linux in the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud but need some serious bandwidth or disk space for this tasks.
Kali Linux Accessibility Features
Kali Linux accessibility features for visually impaired users - Kali is one of the very few Linux distributions which have a working accessibility system for blind or visually impaired users through both voice feedback and braille hardware support.
Automating Kali Linux Deployment
Automating Kali Linux deployment via Unattended PXE installations - You can automate and customize your Kali Linux installations over the network. You are one PXE boot away from a fresh, custom Kali installation, or 10,000 of them.
Kali Linux on a Raspberry Pi and Other ARM Devices
Kali Linux on a Raspberry Pi and a bunch of other interesting ARM devices - Kali supports over a dozen different ARM devices and common hardware such as Raspberry Pi, Android, Beaglebone, and more.
Kali Linux Forensics Mode
Kali Linux forensics mode - The bootable “Forensics” mode available in Kali makes it perfect for forensics work, as the forensics Kali live image option does not mount any drives (including swap) with this option. The wealth of forensics tools on Kali (metapackage - kali-forensics-tools) makes Kali a good choice for any forensics work you need.
Kali Linux NetHunter
Kali Linux NetHunter ROM overlay for Nexus Android devices - Kali is so versatile that creating the “Kali NetHunter” Android was a natural extension to our distribution. NetHunter is a custom Android ROM overlay for ASOP which brings together all the toolset of Kali Linux (and more!) to your Nexus or OnePlus phones.
Kali Linux Running on Android
Kali Linux running on Android through Linux Deploy - Use the Android App “Linux Deploy” to get Kali seamlessly installed in a chroot environment.
Disk Encryption on Raspberry Pi 2
Disk Encryption on Raspberry Pi 2 and other ARM hardware - There’s no easy way of having LUKS disk encryption on ARM hardware.
A useful little hexadecimal and URL encoder/decoder.
Phishery lets you inject SSL-enabled basic auth phishing URLs into a .docx Word document.
An SSH server auditor that checks for encryption types, banners, compression, and more.
An Automated Penetration Testing Toolkit that runs its own scans or imports results from various scanners and takes action on them.
Uses graph theory to reveal the hidden or unintended relationships within Active Directory.
A post-exploitation tool to help automate the assessment of large Active Directory networks.
Powerful GUI database manager that supports the most popular databases, including MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle, SQLite, and many more.
Automatically attempts default credentials on discovered services.
More than 600 penetration testing tools included
After reviewing every tool that was included in BackTrack, we eliminated a great number of tools that either simply did not work or which duplicated other tools that provided the same or similar functionality.
Free (as in beer) and always will be
Kali Linux, like BackTrack, is completely free of charge and always will be. You will never, ever have to pay for Kali Linux.
Open source Git tree
We are committed to the open source development model and our development tree is available for all to see. All of the source code which goes into Kali Linux is available for anyone who wants to tweak or rebuild packages to suit their specific needs.
Kali adheres to the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard, allowing Linux users to easily locate binaries, support files, libraries, etc.
Custom kernel, patched for injection
As penetration testers, the development team often needs to do wireless assessments, so our kernel has the latest injection patches included.
Developed in a secure environment
The Kali Linux team is made up of a small group of individuals who are the only ones trusted to commit packages and interact with the repositories, all of which is done using multiple secure protocols.
We thoroughly understand that not everyone will agree with our design decisions, so we have made it as easy as possible for our more adventurous users to customize Kali Linux to their liking, all the way down to the kernel.
Although penetration tools tend to be written in English, we have ensured that Kali includes true multilingual support, allowing more users to operate in their native language and locate the tools they need for the job.
Kali Linux could be an amazing teaching tool. But if you go with it, you have to be prepared for a steep learning curve. If you’re a very new Linux user starting from zero or if you just want to use your computer without a headache, there are plenty of general purposes and user-friendly distributions to start with. Maybe you disagree with us, then don’t hesitate to use the comment section to give your experience. Thank you!