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By: Dr. Michael J. Garbade
July 31, 2018

A Brief Introduction to Kali Linux for Cybersecurity

By: Dr. Michael J. Garbade
July 31, 2018
By: Dr. Michael J. Garbade
July 31, 2018

What is Kali Linux?

Kali Linux, initially released in 2013, is a popular Debian-based Linux distribution operating system mainly used by penetration testers and digital forensics experts.

The cyber security tool is maintained and funded by Offensive Security Limited, a prominent IT security company.

Kali Linux is the reincarnation of BackTrack, a Linux distribution software that was used for penetration testing.

Darren Rainey, who has more than four years of information systems security experience and currently teaches ethical hacking basics, says that “the Offensive Security team took the best out of BackTrack, deprecated some of its features, and introduced other better features to give Kali Linux its modern power and robustness.”

You can download Kali Linux here.

What are Some of the Features of Kali Linux?

  • Availability of more than 600 tools: Kali Linux has an extensive collection of penetration testing tools. Whichever tool you need—from Aircrack-ng for examining Wi-Fi network security to John the Ripper for cracking passwords, this bundle has everything for your cyber security needs.

  • Completely free: Just like its predecessor, BackTrack, Kali Linux is offered free of charge—forever.

  • Multi-language support: The team at Offensive Security has done an excellent job at offering Kali Linux help in several languages, apart from the traditional English language.

  • Entirely customizable: Do you want to customize Kali Linux to suit your unique preferences? Nothing prevents you from reworking the tool to suit your design needs, even from the kernel.

  • ARMEL and ARMHF support: If you like using an ARM-derived, single-board infrastructure such as BeagleBone Black and Raspberry Pi, Kali Linux will have you covered. The tool supports ARMEL and ARMHF systems, allowing you to carry out hacking without many hassles.

  • Open-source model: Kali Linux is offered as an open-source software, allowing anyone who wants to tweak its source code to do so.

How to Use Kali Linux

With Kali Linux, ethical hackers can assess the computing infrastructure of an organization and discover vulnerabilities to be addressed.

Here are the main steps for carrying out penetration testing on a network and the Kali Linux tools that can be used.

1. Reconnaissance

In this first process, a pen tester collects preliminary information or intelligence on the target, enabling better planning for the actual attack.

Some Kali Linux reconnaissance tools include

  • Recon-ng

  • Nmap

  • Hping3

  • DNSRecon

2. Scanning

In this step, technical tools are utilized to collect more intelligence on the target. For example, a pen tester can use a vulnerability scanner to identify security loopholes in a target network.

Some Kali Linux scanning tools include

  • Arp-scan

  • jSQL Injection

  • Cisco-auditing-tool

  • Oscanner

  • WebSploit

  • Nikto

3. Gaining access

In this third step, the ethical hacker infiltrates the target network with the intention of extracting some useful data or to use the compromised system to launch more attacks.

Some Kali Linux exploitation tools include

  • Metasploit Framework

  • BeEF (Browser Exploitation Framework)

  • Wireshark

  • John the Ripper

  • Aircrack-ng

4. Maintaining access

Just like the name suggests, this phase requires the pen tester to continue dominating the target system as long as possible and cause more destruction. It requires tools that can allow stealthy behavior and under-the-ground operations.  

Some Kali Linux tools for maintaining access include

  • Powersploit

  • Webshells

  • Weevely

  • Dns2tcp

  • Cryptcat

5. Covering tracks

In this last stage, the hacker removes any sign of past malicious activity on the target network. For example, any alterations made or access privileges escalated are returned to their original statuses.

Some Kali Linux tools for covering tracks include

  • Meterpreter

  • Veil

  • Smbexec 

Conclusion

Kali Linux cyber security is a useful tool for penetration testing. You should learn the ins and outs of using the tool so that you can sufficiently guard your critical IT infrastructure from malicious attackers.

After mastering use of this tool using a Kali Linux tutorial, you’ll feel comfortable carrying out advanced penetration testing to discover vulnerabilities in your network.

How do you find Kali Linux useful?

Please let me know in the comment section below.

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