|OS family||Linux (Unix-like)|
|Initial release||13 March 2013|
|Latest release||2021.1 / 24 February 2021|
|Update method||APT (several front-ends available)|
|Platforms||x86, x86-64, armel, armhf|
|Kernel type||Monolithic kernel (Linux)|
|Default user interface||Xfce|
|Official website||Official website|
Kali Linux has around 600 pre-installed penetration-testing programs(tools), including Armitage (a graphical cyber attack management tool), Nmap (a port scanner), Wireshark (a packet analyzer), metasploit (penetration testing framework, awarded as the best penetration testing software), John the Ripper (a password cracker), sqlmap (automatic SQL injection and database takeover tool), Aircrack-ng (a software suite for penetration-testing wireless LANs), Burp suite and OWASP ZAP web application security scanners, etc.
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. Originally, it was designed with a focus on kernel auditing, from which it got its name Kernel Auditing Linux. The name is sometimes incorrectly assumed to come from Kali the Hindu goddess. The third core developer, Raphaël Hertzog, joined them as a Debian expert.
Kali Linux's popularity grew when it was featured in multiple episodes of the TV series Mr. Robot. Tools highlighted in the show and provided by Kali Linux include Bluesniff, Bluetooth Scanner (btscanner), John the Ripper, Metasploit Framework, Nmap, Shellshock, and Wget.
The first version, 1.0.0 "moto", was released in March 2013.
Kali Linux requires:
- A minimum of 20GB hard disk space for installation depending on the version, Version 2020.2 requires at least 20GB.
- A minimum of 2GB RAM for i386 and AMD64 architectures.
- A bootable CD-DVD drive or a USB stick.
- A minimum of an Intel Core i3 or an AMD E1 processor for good performance.
The recommended hardware specification for a smooth experience are:
Kali Linux is distributed in 32-bit and 64-bit images for use on hosts based on the x86 instruction set and as an image for the ARM architecture for use on the Beagle Board computer and Samsung's ARM Chromebook.
The developers of Kali Linux aim to make Kali Linux available for even more ARM devices.
Kali Linux is already available for Asus Chromebook Flip C100P, BeagleBone Black, HP Chromebook, CubieBoard 2, CuBox, CuBox-i, Raspberry Pi, EfikaMX, Odroid U2, Odroid XU, Odroid XU3, Samsung Chromebook, Utilite Pro, Galaxy Note 10.1, and SS808.
With the arrival of Kali NetHunter, Kali Linux is also officially available on Android devices such as the Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 7, Nexus 9, Nexus 10, OnePlus One, and some Samsung Galaxy models. It has also been made available for more Android devices through unofficial community builds.
It is the first Open Source Android penetration testing platform for Nexus devices, created as a joint effort between the Kali community member "BinkyBear" and Offensive Security. It supports Wireless 802.11 frame injection, one-click MANA Evil Access Point setups, HID keyboard (Teensy like attacks), as well as Bad USB MITM attacks.
BackTrack (Kali's predecessor) contained a mode known as forensic mode, which was carried over to Kali via live boot. This mode is very popular for many reasons, partly because many Kali users already have a bootable Kali USB drive or CD, and this option makes it easy to apply Kali to a forensic job. When booted in forensic mode, the system doesn't touch the internal hard drive or swap space and auto mounting is disabled. However, the developers recommend that users test these features extensively before using Kali for real world forensics.
Kali Linux includes security tools, such as:
These tools can be used for a number of purposes, most of which involve exploiting a victim network or application, performing network discovery, or scanning a target IP address. Many tools from the previous version (BackTrack) were eliminated to focus on the most popular and effective penetration testing applications.
- Kali NetHunter
- Ubuntu OS
- List of digital forensic tools
- Parrot Security OS
- Security-focused operating system
- Raspberry Pi
- Penetration testing
- Debian Linux
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Mati Aharoni: One of our goals with Kali is to provide images of the operating system for all sorts of exotic hardware—mainly ARM based. This includes everything from Raspberry Pi's to tablets, to Android TV devices, with each piece of hardware having some unique property.
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