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Top 10 Linux Distro for Ethical Hacking and Penetration Testing



Top 10 Linux Distro for Ethical Hacking and Penetration Testing

If you are pursuing a careers in infosec or working professionally in cyber security, surely you must have a good Linux distro that works best for you. Every distro is good in its own right. It comes with its fair share of features and the overall quality is great.


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But there are always pros and cons related to each distro. Which is why it makes a lot of sense to try and find the best distro that suits your needs. Here you have some of the best ones for penetration testing and ethical hacking.


The list below highlights some of the top Linux distros for ethical hacking and pen testing:

Kali Linux 

Parrot Security OS


Samurai Web Testing Framework 

Pentoo Linux 

DEFT Linux 


Network Security Toolkit (NST) 

BlackArch Linux 



1. Kali Linux – Download Kali Linux


Kali Linux has been around for a very long time and it’s indeed top of the line when it comes to penetration testing and information security training. It helps you uncover security flaws, you can handle exploits and experiment quite a lot. It’s not that much of a download too, so this one is well worth checking it out.


2. Parrot Security OS – Download Parrot Security OS


Parrot Security is a Debian Based platform. It includes a plethora of tools for software development, privacy defense and security testing. If you are very passionate about security testing and ethical hacking, this might very well be the distro that you want to use. The best part is that it’s free and it has a very active community. It’s also a very stable OS, so you can use it as your daily driver if you want.


3. BackBox – Download BackBox Linux


BackBox’s approach is to offer you a free and open source environment where you can do security testing freely and at your own pace. It’s great if you want to simulate network or app attacks. At the same time, the distribution is all about safety and the overall community here is amazing. If you like penetration testing tools that work great under Linux, this is a wonderful OS for you to try.


4. Samurai Web Testing Framework – Download Samurai Web Testing Framework


Maybe the best thing about the Samurai Web Testing Framework is that it’s a virtual machine. It’s not a complete OS on its own, but it has all the tools you need to perform high quality testing at your own pace. The best part about it is that it’s already configured as a web pen testing environment. It also has some of the best free penetration testing and hacking tools ready to go. All in all, it’s a great option!


5. Pentoo Linux – Download Pentoo Linux


Pentoo Linux is pretty much a regular Linux distribution, but its focus is on security. It’s a Gentoo install with tons of custom tools, it even has a custom kernel. You can save changes on the stick, you have hacking support and backported Wi-Fi stack. It’s definitely a good option if you want to perform ethical hacking and penetration testing in a modified Gentoo environment.


6. DEFT Linux – Download DEFT Linux


DEFT is a short name for digital evidence and forensics toolkit. This is used to run live on a system without tampering the corrupted devices. It’s very good for penetration testing and hacking, and the best part is that it’s free of charge. That being said, it’s great for IT auditors, universities, the military and so on. The adaptability and ease of use offered here is stunning and it really goes to show the great attention to detail that you obtain this way. People like this a lot just because it’s reliable, convenient and professional. But it also works great and the adaptability is amazing.


7. Caine – Download Caine


Caine’s focus is on offering you a digital forensics environment. It’s a great toolkit focused on security and here you can do your penetration testing with great ease. It has a very user-friendly interface, something that other systems just don’t have nowadays. The penetration testing tools added here are very reliable, and as a whole you just have a pretty impressive set of benefits.


8. Network Security Toolkit (NST) – Download Network Security Toolkit


The Network Security Toolkit is based on Fedora. As the name suggests, it’s a bootable live USB tool. Every security professional and network admin can use it alongside a very good set of network security tools. The fact that it’s working from an USB or a DVD does bring in quite the advantage. And it does include a great UI that makes it easy to access whatever option you want without problems.


9. BlackArch Linux – Download BlackArch Linux


If you want a great Linux distribution focused solely on penetration testing, then you just can’t get better than BlackArch. This one is actually suitable for security researchers and penetration testing. It has a repository with 2000+ tools. On top of that, this is a very adaptable tool and one that can bring in front resounding benefits. It’s certainly worth a shot if you want a great OS that works amazingly well for all customers.


10. Bugtraq – Download Bugtraq

Bugtraq comes with a great penetration testing technology and the best part about it is that it’s always evolving. Every tool added here was heavily tested and the best part is that you have a great interface to access everything from. They did a very good job with the stability and the attention to detail placed into all of this.


We found that these are some great Linux Distro options especially if you are into penetration testing and ethical hacking. Some of them have to be installed, but many of these work from an USB stick, so you can easily do a live installation if you want to. In the end you can have a really good time and that on its own can be really nifty.


It all comes down to you to test as many of these as possible until you find one that you enjoy using. Every option counts here, so try to check these out and see which one you like the most!

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Dress Like a Pro

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What do cybersecurity professionals wear to DEF CON, Black Hat, DerbyCon, Hackers on Planet Earth, and others?

There’s no set dress code to these events so hackers tend to wear something that reflects their personal style, something they might wear in their day to day life. For some cybersecurity professionals, this will be casual cargo pants, a band or movie t-shirt, and comfortable shoes such as sliders or hiking boots.


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