Looking for best Linux to learn hacking?
Whether you want to pursue a career in Information Security or you are already working as a security professional or if you are just interested in this specific field of knowledge, a decent Linux distro that suits your purpose is a must.
There are countless Linux distros for various purposes. Some are designed for specific tasks in mind and others are for different interfaces.
We have seen weird Ubuntu distributions in an older article. But, today we are going to have a look at a list of some of the best Linux distro to learn hacking and Penetration Testing.
Before we see the best Linux distros for hackers, I would recommend you to check for online hacking courses at our shop.
Best Linux hacking distributions
I have basically listed out various Linux distributions focusing on security. These Linux distros provide various tools that are needed for assessing networking security and other similar tasks. List is in no particular order.
1. Kali Linux
Kali Linux is the most widely known Linux distro for ethical hacking and penetration testing. Kali Linux was developed by Offensive Security taking on the mantle of BackTrack.
Kali Linux is based on Debian. It comes with a large amount of penetration testing tools from various fields of security and forensics. And now it follows the rolling release model, meaning every tool of your collection will always be up-to-date.
It is the most advanced penetration testing platform out there. It supports a wide range of devices and hardware platforms. Moreover, Kali Linux provides decent documentation and a large & active community.
You can easily install Kali Linux in VirtualBox inside Windows and start your hacking practice right away.
BackBox is a Ubuntu-based distro developed for penetration testing and security assessment purpose. It is one of the best distro in its field.
BackBox has its own software repository providing latest stable versions of various system & network analysis toolkits and the best known ethical hacking tools. It is designed with minimalism in mind and uses XFCE desktop environment. It delivers a fast, effective, customizable and complete experience. It also has a very helpful community behind it.
Parrot Security OS is relatively new in the game. Frozenbox Network is behind the development of this distro. The target users of Parrot Security OS are penetration testers who need cloud friendly environment with online anonymity and encrypted system.
Parrot Security OS is also based on Debian and uses MATE as its desktop environment. Almost every recognized tool for penetration testing is available here, along with some exclusive custom tools from Frozenbox Network. And yes, it is available as Rolling Release.
BlackArch is a penetration testing and security researching distro built on top of Arch Linux.
BlackArch has its own repository containing thousands of tools organized in various groups. And the list is growing over time.
If you are already an Arch Linux user, you can setup BlackArch tools collection on top of it.
Bugtraq is a Linux distro with a huge range of penetration, forensic and laboratory tools.
Bugtraq is available with XFCE, GNOME and KDE desktop environments based on Ubuntu, Debian and OpenSUSE. It is also available in 11 different languages.
Bugtraq packs a huge arsenal of penetration testing tools – mobile forensics, malware testing laboratories along with tools specifically designed by the Bugtraq-Community.
6. DEFT Linux
DEFT, short for Digital Evidence & Forensics Toolkit, Linux is a distribution made for Computer Forensics, with the purpose of running live system without corrupting or tampering devices connected to the PC where the booting takes place.
DEFT is paired with DART (Digital Advanced Response Toolkit), a Forensics system for Windows. It uses LXDE desktop environment and WINE for running Windows tools.
Samurai Web Testing Framework is developed with the sole purpose of penetration testing on web in mind. Another difference is that it comes as a Virtual Machine, supported by Virtualbox & VMWare.
Samurai Web Testing Framework is based on Ubuntu and contains the best free and open source tools focusing on testing and attacking websites.
It also includes a pre-configured Wiki set up to store information during your penetration tests.
8. Pentoo Linux
Pentoo is based on Gentoo Linux. It is a distro focused on security and penetration testing and is available as LiveCD with persistence support (means any changes made in the Live environment will be available on the next boot if you use a USB stick).
Pentoo is basically a Gentoo installation with lots of customized tools, kernel features and much more. It uses XFCE desktop environment.
If you are already a Gentoo user, you can install Pentoo as an overlay on it.
CAINE stand for Computer Aided Investigative Environment. It is created as a project of Digital Forensics and is completely focused on it.
Caine comes with a wide variety of tools developed for system forensics and analysis purpose.
Network Security Toolkit is a bootable Live ISO based on Fedora. It provides security professionals and network administrators with a wide range of open source network security tools.
Network Security Toolkit has an advanced Web User Interface for system/network administration, navigation, automation, network monitoring & analysis and configuration of many applications found in Network Security Toolkit distro.
Fedora Security Spin is a variation of Fedora designed for security auditing and testing and it can also be used for teaching purpose.
The purpose of this distro is to support students and teachers while they are practicing or learning security methodologies on information security, web application security, forensics analysis and so on.
ArchStrike (previously known as ArchAssault) is a project based on Arch Linux for penetration testers and security professionals.
It comes with all the best things of Arch Linux with additional tools for penetration testing and cyber security. ArchStrike includes thousands of tools and applications, all categorized into modular package groups.
There are plenty others for you to choose from. We are going to mention some more of them:
Which of the above listed hacking Linux distros have you tried? Want to suggest any distro that we missed? Share what you think in the comment section.