If you’re serious about penetration testing, you need the right Linux distro. Our list of the top 5 best linux distro for 2023 will help you make the right choice.
There are several operating systems for hacking and penetration testing, with Linux distros specifically designed for Security Researchers or Ethical Hackers to do various operations in security industries with a variety of hacking tools that come prebuilt with the OS.
Because Linux is open source, you have the freedom to choose your own operating system. Many developers and companies created special distributions for this purpose. Kali Linux, Back Box Linux, Parrot Security OS, and so on!
1. Kali Linux
Kali Linux is a Debian-based Linux distribution that is specifically designed for digital forensics and penetration testing. It is an open-source operating system that was developed and is maintained by Offensive Security, a leading provider of online security training.
Kali Linux comes with a wide range of pre-installed tools for penetration testing, including tools for network analysis, vulnerability assessment, password cracking, and more. These tools are regularly updated and maintained to ensure that they are effective and up-to-date.
In addition to its extensive set of penetration testing tools, Kali Linux is also known for its user-friendly interface, making it easy for both beginners and experienced users to use. It is available as a downloadable ISO image that can be installed on a computer or as a virtual machine image.
While Kali Linux is a powerful tool for penetration testing, it is important to use it ethically and legally. Misuse of penetration testing tools can cause harm to others and may result in legal consequences.
Download: Kali Linux
2. Parrot OS
Parrot OS is a Debian-based Linux distribution that is designed for security testing, privacy protection, and development. It is an open-source operating system that was developed and is maintained by Frozenbox Network.
Parrot OS comes with a wide range of pre-installed tools for security testing and development. Including tools for penetration testing, forensic analysis, cryptography, and more. These tools are regularly updated and maintained to ensure that they are effective and up-to-date.
In addition to its security-focused features. Parrot OS also prioritizes privacy protection. It includes features such as built-in Tor support and anonymous web browsing tools.
Parrot OS is also known for its user friendly interface, making it easy for both beginners and experienced users to use. It is available as a downloadable ISO image that can be installed on a computer or as a virtual machine image.
Like with any penetration testing tool, it is important to use Parrot OS ethically and legally. Misuse of penetration testing tools can cause harm to others and may result in legal consequences.
Download: Parrot OS
ArchStrike is an Arch Linux-based distribution that focuses on cybersecurity and penetration testing. It is an open-source operating system that is maintained by a community of developers and security experts.
Its roots are in Arch Linux, and it provides a wide range of package management options. The ease of installation and uninstallation of available packages makes this OS user-friendly.
This system has over 5000 tools for exploitation, social engineering, spoofing, malware, brute-force, networking, forensics, DDoS, and enumeration.
4. Black Arch
BlackArch, as the name implies, is based on Arch Linux. The main feature of the distribution is its massive tool library, which includes over 2500 tools, many of which are not found in any other distro.
The distribution organises the tools by categorising them as anti-forensic, backdoor, or cracker. These are organised alphabetically, with no further sub-categories, which creates interesting navigation issues. Some categories, such as cracker, recon, and automation, list over a hundred tools each, making scrolling through the menus tedious.
BlackArch’s excellent repository setup is its best customisation. If you currently use Arch, you can add BlackArch on top of it by downloading packages from groups like blackarch-cracker, blackarch-exploitation, blackarch-forensic, and many more.
Overall, BlackArch is a powerful tool for security professionals and researchers who need a comprehensive set of penetration testing tools in a single distribution. However, it should be used responsibly and ethically, and only with permission from the target systems’ owners.
5. Demon Linux
Demon Linux, as the name implies, is a Linux-based operating system popular for ethical hacking. Despite its dark look, it is a lightweight and user-friendly security distribution. Its true simplicity comes through, as you can launch any software with a single keystroke.
Demon Linux also includes a basic dock design that works flawlessly. The fast access menu bar allows users to easily record their desktop and snap screenshots.
Download: Demon Linux
Pentoo is a Linux-based operating system that is designed for penetration testing and security assessment. It is based on Gentoo Linux, a distribution that emphasizes flexibility, customization, and performance. Pentoo provides a comprehensive set of penetration testing tools, including network analysis, vulnerability assessment, exploitation, and password cracking.
One of the unique features of Pentoo is that it is optimized for speed and performance, making it ideal for running on older or lower-end hardware. Pentoo is also designed to be highly customizable, with a minimal installation footprint that allows users to install only the tools they need.
Pentoo is available as a live CD or USB image that can be used to boot a system into a fully functional Pentoo environment without the need to install the operating system. It can also be installed on a hard drive for more permanent use.