Kali Linux is a fantastic operating system for penetration testing and security evaluation. It comes with virtually all security tools built in, it’s lightweight by default, and it has a huge ecosystem that is constantly helping with the project.
Kali recently began moving towards a rolling distribution. This allows both the core Debian operating system components and the applications to update much more frequently with fewer dependency breaks. This is big deal, both because all future development will be on the rolling distribution and because the current distribution will not be supported after April 15th 2016.
This nearly-constant update rhythm is great for penetration testers. Kali will now have the very latest builds of essential tools like Metasploit, Kismet, and aircrack-ng. It will also get Debian Linux updates more frequently to support newer hardware and integrate bugfixes.
A frequently overlooked detail when installing Kali is that the installation ISO comes with only some of the available penetration testing tools. Kali’s developers and distribution owners make an effort to strike a balance between including all tools by default and the ever-increasing size of the ISO. There are also some tools that won’t work on some systems, like the GPU brute-force cracking tools that only work with specific video cards. In that light, it makes sense to leave some tools out.
What’s great is that installing the full set of tools is very simple. First, open a Terminal window.
If you’re not logged in as root type su to become root. You can also preface the next statement with sudo for the same effect.
Next run apt-get update to update the package list.
Now run apt-get install kali-linux-all.
This command installs all possible penetration testing tools from the Kali repository. You can see that on my fully updated installation, Kali has 435 extra tools that it can install.
There’s always a downside though. Here, the downside is that much more space will be used. As a reference, my Kali Linux installation now takes up 15.1 GB of space, compared to about 10 GB from a fresh installation. In my opinion this is a worthwhile trade-off, and I always install all tools on my Kali systems.
Mike Danseglio – CISSP, MCSE, and CEH
Mike Danseglio teaches IT Security Training, Windows, System Center and Windows Server 2012 classes at Interface Technical Training. His classes are available in Phoenix, AZ and online with RemoteLive™.