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.

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TCP Ping: Turns out you can ping websites using TCP!

Ping a great tool in monitoring a host status in real-time. It iTCP Pings available on all (not sure) operating systems such as Windows, Linux, Mac and even Android. I commonly use ping whenever I wanted to see whether or a host is alive or dead. However, sometimes  firewalls do block generic ping packets which utilizes Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP is a protocol in order for ping to work properly. You don’t have to dig on that but you can if you want. ;)). So now, I don’t have any tool to use to check the host status. However, one alternative is to manually check it or visit the website in order to confirm if the host is up. However, since I don’t like firing up the website and reload it every seconds just to see if it’s up or not (because I am lazy and it doesn’t have logs), I tried to see if I can do a TCP ping. I searched google and turns out there is a too called TCP ping. However its a Windows-only tool (see here). (Too bad. Yeah. Life sucks but you shouldn’t go lose hope that easily.) Turns out if you dig further you will find this! At last the tool that we have been waiting for! But wait. Hold your horses. It’s a frigging script! How do I run it and make it terminal invokable (if that is even a term)? Well, lucky for you I have the same questions. Read below to find out the answer!

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Installing Chrome / Chromium on Kali Linux (plus tutorial on editing sources.list)

Chromium BrowserSo you’ve been wanting to ditch Iceweasel (Firefox) on you Kali Linux Distro right?So how about using Chrome / Chromium for a change? Worry not, you can easily switch or use both browsers in Kali Linux. All you have to do is add the official Debian repository to sources.list install and configure chromium. Sounds pretty easy right? Well sort of. Of course there will be some hiccups while installing Chromium (on Kali Linux) along the way that is why I decided to make this post in order to help fellow newb users (like us) survive installing that friggin popular browser in Kali Linux.

UPDATE (2016-09-19): To install chromium in Kali Linux, all you have to do is to invoke su or sudo and type this in the terminal: “apt-get install chromium”. Then answer yes and all the required packages will be installed automatically. 

Installing chromium via terminal
Installing chromium via terminal

Thanks to fr2623 for reminding me to update this post.

UPDATE (old): Turns out you don’t have to edit the source.list to install Chromium. I have tried installing Chromium from a fresh install of Kali Linux. You could just skip editing the source list and go directly to installing Chromium using the terminal. However, I will leave the source list tutorial in the post for future reference.

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Steam on Linux (Debian, Ubuntu, Linux Mint)? Yep. Possible.

This might not be new to you but just in case you don’t know yet, the ever famous “Steam” gaming platform works on Linux! No emulation / virtualization required! So if its the one thing that is holding you back to move into the Linux world, maybe you should think again!

For those who don’t know Steam, lets take a brief look.

Steam Platform

So what is Steam?

According to Wikipedia (I know, call me lazy!):

Steam is a digital distribution, digital rights management, multiplayer and communications platform developed by Valve Corporation. It is used to distribute games and related media online, from small independent developers to larger software houses; in October 2012, Valve expanded the service to include non-gaming software.

In short, Steam is a platform where publishers distribute their software (either be games or apps) to consumers. All you have to do is install Steam and when you pick a software from Steam, it will take care of the download and installation fr the software to your machine. Pretty convenient eh? It also supports auto update of installations so if the game or app publisher updates its software, Steam will automatically update it. Commonly, games and apps should be purchased in order for someone to download it. However, in Steam there is a wide range of Free-to-Play games such as:

  • Team Fortress 2 (personal favorite)
  • Dota 2
  • Warframe
  • Others (these are the only 3 games I played using steam)

You can visit Steam to view the full list. Also if I may add, Steam features a messaging system, in-game browser and achievements. So if you play Team Fortress like I do, you can easily check achievements, make a party and find online friends during the game. No need to ALT + TAB anymore!

Enough of Steam. So how do we install this on Linux? Remember that I am currently using Linux Mint XFCE right? So I think this steps will apply to Linux Mint XFCE (or the normal Min), Ubuntu and ultimately the great mother Debian. So here it goes:

 

  • Go to STEAM to download the .deb file
  • If you are in Linux Mint XFCE (or the normal Mint) or Ubuntu, just double click the file and install it. You will be needing the root password for this. Succeeding steps are for Debian
  • If you are in Debian, I think the way to install steam is to dpkg the file. Head over to the directory where you saved the file (I think it is saved in ~/HomeLinux/Downloads if you download it from Iceweasel) and copy the location from the address bar.
  • Next, open Terminal and type:

cd <insert the directory where you saved the Steam installer here>

  • Then type this and enter your root password:

sudo dpkg -i steam_latest.deb

  • Success! Now you can play your favorite games on Steam! Enjoy playing!

Note: Of course some of you out there wants to know what the commands in the terminal mean. Since I am just starting out, I could not provide you a very detailed answer but just like you (who want to know the commands) and I am still a newbie in Linux so here is what I know so far on the said commands:

  • cd: It means current directory. It tells your terminal to change your working directory to the directory or address or location that you have specified
  • sudo: It means that you will be running the command as root (administrator). This is required in order to install programs in Linux (well just like in Windows 7 right?)
  • dpkg: On my search at Debian, this is the main Package Management program for Debian. So typing this will call that package manager and wait for your input (switches -i or -r or others)
  • -i: A switch for the command dpkg. It tells your dkpg program that you are going to install a .deb file.

That’s it! If you find my explanation too complicated or you find my understanding wrong, kindly comment and I will revise this. Thanks for reading!

Microsoft Lync 2010 on Linux (Linux Mint / Kali Linux / Debian)? Yes it’s possible!

Microsoft Lync 2010I am wondering if someone already did install Microsoft Lync 2010 on their Linux box. Since its one of the most commonly used internal messengers of companies out there, why not give it a shot on Linux?

Well, there is no direct port of Lync to Linux to I have to find some alternative. Since Pidgin (a very capable Linux Messaging App) is pretty much flexible and can almost handle anything (except for Twitter!), I first tried my search in the repositories with Pidgin in mind. Turns out there is a package named:

pidgin-sipe – Pidgin protocol plugin to connect to MS Office Communicator

Seeing that MS Office Communication made my eyes wide open! “This might just really work!”, I said to myself. But enough of that, lets get into business. Here are the steps for running Lync on your Linux machines (I am using Linux Mint XFCE but I think this will work on almost every distro that supports Pidgin)! Pidgin

1. Fire up the terminal and install Pidgin (if you do not have it yet) by typing:

This is for Ubuntu, Linux Mint and probably Debian:

sudo apt-get install pidgin

2. Install the pidgin-sipe plugins for pidgin by typing:

sudo apt-get install pidgin-sipe

3. Open Pidgin and press CTRL + A to add accounts

4. Choose Office Communicator in the protocol name and enter your username, login and password.

5. If all goes well, it will connect with your comapny’s servers and will be ready to go!

Just a note here. It disconnects at a random time (maybe after 2 hours or so). To recover from disconnections, all you have to do is go to Accounts > Enable Account > and you’re good to go!

UPDATE:

Using Kali Linux (Debian based), I tried using the voice feature and apparently it works. However whenever I’m using the video call feature, the other end can see me but I could not see him/her.

Enjoy chatting!

On Linux Mint Debian: Removing that annoying “BEEP” Sound on Startup and Shutdown!

Beep Beep!So here I am customizing the newly installed LMDE (Linux Mint Debian Edition). So here’s how to remove the “beep” sound on your Debian Mint (take from Linux Mint Community Tutorial):

A. Stop the pcspkr module from loading:

  1. In the Terminal (re)move /etc/modprobe.conf, if present
  2. In the Terminal create a file /etc/modprobe.d/pcspkr.conf containing: blacklist pcspkr
  3. In the Terminal type: su
  4. This gets you a login on the Terminal as root (you’ll need to authenticate).
  5. In the terminal type: depmod -ae
  6. Ignore any warnings.
  7. In the Terminal type: update-initramfs -u
  8. In the Terminal type: exit
  9. This puts you back at the Terminal prompt as the original user.

B. Configure Alsamixer:

  1. In the Terminal type: alsamixer
  2. Press [F5] to list all audio channels.
  3. Look for a channel called ‘Beep’. If there isn’t one try selecting a different sound card by pressing [F6].
  4. Once you have found ‘Beep’, highlight it and lower the volume to the bottom. Then press the [M] key on your keyboard to mute it. ‘MM’ should now have appeared in the square under the volume scale.
  5. Press [ESC] to exit from Alsamixer.
  6. In the Terminal save the Alsamixer changes by typing: sudo alsactl store (authenticating if neccessary).

C. Reboot:

  1. Reboot the machine. If everything went well there will be no logout/shutdown/restart beeps heard or login screen beeps when the system comes back up

The guide is very straightforward to follow so no problems here. By the way, this one really works! Thanks to Darkness for writing this!

UPDATE:

I turned off the opening sound under Cinnamon via System Settings/Sound/Sound Effects. There doesn’t seem to be a closing beep. – Jon

Thanks for the additional info Jon!

A Little Problem with Wallpapers: Linux Mint Debian

I always wanted a customized desktop. Panels here, there and everywhere! However, before I change those settings, I go and look first at my wallpaper. Is it good enough? Forgive me Linux Mint fans but I do not want the default Linux Mint Wallpaper. Its too “grey” for me.

Expecting that I will have a collection of wallpapers to pick up, I decided to change my desktop wallpaper via right clicking the desktop and selecting change desktop background. To my surprise, there is no list of wallpapers to choose from. This forced me (which is fun) to find the default folder where mint is keeping its default wallpapers. Finally, after some digging, I found this folder:

/usr/share/backgrounds/linuxmint-nadia-extra

where Linux Mint stores its backgrounds. So how to I add these wallpapers to the change desktop background window? Just click the add button from the change desktop background window and select everything except for the credits. Sit back and watch your desktop come to life with a range of selection of wallpapers! Enjoy!

PS: My Desktop Background

Screenshot from 2013-07-27 12:10:06