A short introduction to Kali Linux

IT security – it is one of the major things that we should be looking at in our daily lives. Since most of our information is constantly being converted into digital form, using secure technologies and doing the best practices when it comes to security is a must do.

Today, we will look at a tool used by some of our IT security practitioners. This is a tool used to secure common IT infrastructures and do security testing. This tool is Kali Linux.

 

What is Kali Linux?

A very short introduction

Kali Linux (also called Backtrack before) is a custom Linux distribution from Offensive Security. It is based from Debian (Ubuntu before) and contains a collection of tools  used by security testers. A while ago I told you that Kali Linux is a tool. However, to be more precise about it, Kali is an operating system which highlights a collection of tools that can help security testers in different testing scenarios such as wireless LAN testing, network and web application testing, and even social engineering tests.

Kali Linux: Desktop
Kali Linux: Desktop

What are its features?

To keep it short, I will just highlight some of its features. For a full featured description, you can check Kali’s website and the separate web pages for the individual tools.

It is a full pledge operating system

This means it can replace your main operating system (though I would not recommend such unless you do not use your current machine as a primary workstation). And being Linux, you don’t have to download software drivers to make it run as most of the time, all the things that you need to properly run the operating system is already built into it.

It contains a lot of tools

When I say a lot, I mean a lot. Kali have tools ranging ranging from Information Gathering to Stress testing. Some of the most notable ones are:

  • NMAP
  • DNSRecon
  • Burpsuite
  • Aircrack-ng
  • sqlmap
  • sslstrip
  • Metasploit
  • Reaver

You can find the full list here.

Nmap
Nmap

It can run on top of your current operating system via a virtual machine

Though you can install Kali on a virtual instance using its .iso package, Offensive Security is also providing custom virtual instances to the public. Meaning, you can run Kali Linux without formatting your machine and going into the installation process!

Since the virtual instances are all prebuilt, you don’t have to worry about installing additional packages to make it compatible with your virtualization software plus you don’t have to decide on different installation settings. You just have to import the instance and run!

It is used by majority of the IT security practitioners

Kali Linux is one of the top go-to operating system which IT security practitioners (and also hackers) use. And since they are used by almost everyone in the industry, you can be sure that using it will take you to the same path of learning IT security practitioners are taking. This means that using Kali Linux can help  you learn what tools they use, how they use it, and why they use it.

Should I care about Kali Linux?

You should as it will help you understand and test some of the security concepts out in the Internet. Also, with more and more of our lives being stored, copied, and constantly manipulated in the Internet, one should be more vigilant about their security. Being knowledgeable in this field even with just the basics will take you a long way as you can evade some of the things that could steal your private information and prevent malicious things from happening in your own machine.

Where can I download Kali Linux?

Kali Linux comes in different flavors for you to download. You can download it in:

  • 32, 64-bit or ARM version
  • Different desktop environment
  • ISO or virtual instances
  • via direct download or torrent

If you want to try testing Kali Linux, you can head to their download page.

 

 

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