One of the most widely used Linux distros is Kali Linux, which is favored by security professionals.
If you are disappointed with Windows, Linux is probably the best option. Even though it’s been around since the 90s, you’ve probably never used it or distributed it (distros). Kali Linux is one popular distro that is mainly used for cybersecurity. It may not be aimed at casual Linux users, but if you are a professional penetration tester or studying cyber security with the goal of getting certified, Kali Linux is one of the best tools available.
What is Kali Linux?
People are attracted to Linux because of its stability, security, and open environment. Unlike most Windows operating systems, Linux is faster, too, because it’s more lightweight. However, you don’t get Linux by just “Linux”. Distros are what the Linux kernel is used for, and that’s what people use when they talk about installing Linux.
Kali Linux itself is derived from Debian, one of the oldest and most popular Linux distributions. It was originally developed in 2013 to be tested and evaluated for safety. Like most distros, it is an open source project. It is developed and maintained by Offensive Security, and in order to be safe, only packages signed by the development team are allowed. This is the reason why the average Linux user might prefer Ubuntu, Linux Mint, or other distros instead.
Kali’s download page lists various OS versions, from custom x86 graphics and virtual machines to ARM, Android, and Live graphics. In terms of stable versions, Kali Linux releases four versions every year, roughly one per quarter. The latest version at the time of writing is Kali 2023.3, which was released on May 30 2023. In addition to this, the development team also sends out regular updates every few weeks, which may see bugs here and there.
Kali Linux system requirements
Installing Kali Linux does not require much in terms of system. For the standard desktop version, the Kali Linux website recommends the following:
- 2GB of RAM
- 20GB of disk space
- CD/DVD drive or USB drive to install OS
- Internet access
The system requirements for Kali Linux are minimal, and almost any system made in the last 10 years should be able to run it.
How to download and install Kali Linux
The Kali Linux website provides a generous amount of system and system images to get the OS up and running. If you are a Linux beginner and want to try Kali Linux, I recommend downloading the machine image and running it in VMware or VirtualBox. You won’t even need a DVD drive or USB stick this way; you can only run a pre-configured Kali machine inside a standard Windows environment.
- Download VMware Workstation Player for Windows with the latest VMware image from the Kali website.
- Open VMware Workstation Player.
- Click Open Virtual Machine.
- Select the .vmx file from the Kali image you downloaded.
- On the next screen, click Play virtual machine.
- Wait a few seconds for the virtual machine to load, and log in using “kali” in both the username and password fields.
Alternatively, if you are familiar with Linux distros and want to install “bare metal” for better performance, it is recommended that you use Windows and Linux using the Kali installer image.
Kali Linux Experience
For starters, Kali Linux resembles the Windows environment in many ways. You have a taskbar (top) with icons for Firefox, Terminal, file manager, and more. You have an Applications button in the lower left corner of the taskbar to view all installed programs, similar to the (old) Windows button.
By default, Kali Linux ships with about 600 security analysis and testing tools such as Nmap (port scanner), John the Ripper (password cracker), and Metasploit framework (penetration testing), to name a few. Due to the extensive cybersecurity tools provided in the distro, Kali Linux is very popular among both casual and ethical hackers.
Although it focuses on these tools, it also has regular applications such as a calculator, a recording tool, a text editor, a video player, a task manager, and, of course, the Firefox browser. Even if you’re not a hacker, you can manage most of your daily tasks in Kali and change your desktop settings, tweak appearance and sound settings, and manage your hardware preferences.
Installing additional software or “packages” in Kali can be done by updating the OS using Terminal and running the command to install the package or metapackage (group of packages) you want.
This update may take some time, depending on the number of packets that need to be updated. Once done, you can run the “install” command to install, say, the “kali-linux-default” package. You can install many programs and games in Kali, such as Minecraft.
Can I buy a PC with Kali Linux?
A few years ago, buying a computer with a pre-installed Linux distro was almost impossible. Of course, there were ways to run any distro you wanted, but official support was lacking. The best Linux laptops don’t even come out of the box. Most of these laptops come pre-installed with Linux, while some have advanced optimizations and support for Linux drivers.
With Google pushing the boundaries with ChromeOS, you can enter the Linux ecosystem with some of the best Chromebooks from HP, Asus, Acer, and Samsung. PCs with Kali Linux may be rare, but with extensive Linux support by PC manufacturers, running Kali on any modern machine is easy. Plus, with virtual machine and live boot options, you don’t have to mess with your operating system anymore.
To Kali or not to Kali: Is it yours?
Kali Linux is one of the most secure Linux distros and is one of the best for all security professionals or aspiring ones. If you’re looking to improve your cyber security skills and enter the world of hacking, Kali Linux should be at the top of your testing tools.
On the other hand, if you just want to leave Windows in favor of a light and stable Linux distro, you will find Ubuntu, Linux Mint, or PopOS many with a simple and easy-to-use interface, at least on a regular basis. daily use.