Searching for best operating systems for ethical hacking and pen testing — then stop! Here is the list of most widely using infamous ethical hacking operating systems.
If you are really interested in ethical hacking or like to learn how certain cyber security tools are working then hands on one of these below mentioned advanced operating systems for hacking, some of these operating systems are used by hackers and security experts to find bugs and weaknesses in computer systems and networks.
Almost all the best ethical hacking operating systems are based on Linux kernel, so favorite operating systems of hackers are always Linux — though security-focused operating system is a hacker’s best friend.
A hacker is someone who seeks and exploits weaknesses in a computer system or computer network. Hackers may be motivated by a multitude of reasons, such as profit, protest, challenge, enjoyment or to evaluate those weaknesses to assist in removing them. Hacking is a type of art, And now you can also start your journey to hacking world with the help of these hacking OS.
Best Ethical Hacking Operating Systems :
So check out 22 best Linux distro for ethical hacking os using for pen testing and other security measures.
1. Kali Linux
Also Read : A-Z Kali Linux Commands
Kali Linux maintained and funded by Offensive Security Ltd. is first in our list. Kali Linux is one of the well-known ethical hacking operating systems used by hackers and security professionals. Kali is a Debian-derived Linux distribution designed for digital forensics and penetration testing. It was developed by Mati Aharoni and Devon Kearns of Offensive Security through the rewrite of BackTrack, their previous forensics Linux distribution based on Ubuntu.
Apart from desktop support, Kali Linux also has a dedicated project set-aside for compatibility and porting to specific Android devices, called Kali Linux NetHunter. 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.
When comes to security tools, this top hacking operating system is equipped with 600+ preinstalled pen testing tools like Aircrack-ng, Metasploit, THC Hydra etc. BackTrack (Kali’s predecessor) contained a mode known as forensic mode. This capability was carried over to Kali via live boot. This mode makes it easy to apply Kali to a forensic job.
Also Read : How To Dual Boot Kali Linux v2.0 With Windows 10
BackBox is an Ubuntu-based ethical hacking Linux distribution. It provides penetration test and security assessment oriented providing a network and informatic systems analysis toolkit along with a complete set of other tools required for ethical hacking and security testing.
It includes some of the most used security and analysis Linux tools to help out security experts from stress tests to sniffing including vulnerability assessment, computer forensic analysis and exploitation. Part of the power of this distribution comes from its Launchpad repository core, constantly updated to the latest stable version of the most known and used ethical hacking tools makes Backbox one of the hacker’s favorite Linux distro for hacking .
3. Parrot Security OS
Parrot Security OS (or ParrotSec) is a GNU/LINUX distribution based on Debian. This ethical hacking distro is built in order to perform penetration testing, vulnerability assessment and mitigation, computer forensics and anonymous surfing. It has been developed by Frozenbox’s Team.
Also Read : A-Z Bash Command Line for Linux
Parrot is cloud-friendly Linux distribution for ethical hacking. Unlike other ethical hacking operating systems, Parrot OS is a lightweight Linux distro — runs over machines which have minimum 265Mb of RAM and it is suitable for both 32bit (i386) and 64bit (amd64), with a special edition it works on old 32bit machines (486).
4. Live Hacking OS
Live Hacking OS is a Linux distribution packed with tools and utilities for ethical hacking, penetration testing and countermeasure verification. It includes the graphical user interface GNOME inbuilt. There is a second variation available which has command line only, and it requires very less hardware requirements.
5. DEFT Linux
DEFT stands for Digital Evidence and Forensic Toolkit and it’s an open source distribution of Linux built around the DART (Digital Advanced Response Toolkit) software and based on the Ubuntu operating system. It has been designed from the ground up to offer some of the best open source computer forensics and incident response tools that can be used by individuals, IT auditors, investigators, military, and police.
6. Samurai Web Testing Framework
The Samurai Web Testing Framework is a live linux environment that has been pre-configured to function as a web pen-testing environment. The CD contains the best of the open source and free tools that focus on testing and attacking websites. In developing this environment, we have based our tool selection on the tools we use in our security practice. We have included the tools used in all four steps of a web pen-test.
7. Network Security Toolkit
The Network Security Toolkit (NST) is a Linux-based Live CD that provides a set of open source computer security and networking tools to perform routine security and networking diagnostic and monitoring tasks. The distribution can be used as a network security analysis, validation and monitoring tool on servers hosting virtual machines. The majority of tools published in the article “Top 125 security tools” by Insecure.org are available in the toolkit. NST has package management capabilities similar to Fedora and maintains its own repository of additional packages.
Bugtraq-II is a GNU/Linux distribution focused on digital forensics, penetration testing, malware laboratories, and GSM forensics. Bugtraq-II is available in 11 languages with more than 500 ethical security hacking tools installed and configured. Depending on your desktop environment, the features vary. The minimum requirements are based on XFCE and KDE, this ethical hacking os need 1GHz x86 processor & 512 MB of system memory 15 GB of disk space for installation.
NodeZero is an open source Linux kernel-based ethical hacking operating system derived from Ubuntu and designed to be used for penetration testing operations. The distro is available for download as a dual-arch Live DVD ISO image, which will run well on computers that support both 32-bit (x86) and 64-bit (x86_64) instruction set architectures. Besides the fact that it allows you to start the live system, the boot menu contains various advanced options, such as the ability to perform a system memory diagnostic test, boot from a local drive, start the installer directly, as well as to boot in safe graphics mode, text mode or debug mode.
With NodeZero you will have instant access to over 300 penetration testing tools, as well as a set of basic services that are needed in penetration testing operations. Default applications include the Mozilla Firefox web browser, F-Spot photo manager, Rhythmbox music player, PiTiVi video editor, Transmission torrent downloader, Empathy multi-protocol instant messenger, and OpenOffice.org office suite.
Pentoo is a Live CD and Live USB designed for penetration testing and security assessment. Based on Gentoo Linux, Pentoo is provided both as 32 and 64 bit installable livecd. Pentoo is also available as an overlay for an existing Gentoo installation. It features packet injection patched wifi drivers, GPGPU cracking software, and lots of tools for penetration testing and security assessment. The Pentoo kernel includes grsecurity and PAX hardening and extra patches – with binaries compiled from a hardened toolchain with the latest nightly versions of some tools available.
BlackBuntu is distribution for penetration testing which was specially designed for security training students and practitioners of information security. BlackBuntu is penetration testing distribution with GNOME Desktop Environment. It’s currently being built using the Ubuntu 10.10 and work on reference BackTrack.
GnackTrack is an open and free project to merge penetration testing tools and the linux Gnome desktop. GnackTrack is a Live and comes with multiple tools that are really helpful to do a effective penetration testing, it has Metasploit, armitage, wa3f and others wonderful tools.
13. Cyborg Hawk Linux
Also Read : The best Linux distro for beginners
CYBORG HAWK LINUX is a Ubuntu based penetration testing distro created by the team of Ztrela Knowledge Solutions Pvt. Ltd. developed and designed for ethical hackers and cyber security experts who are also known as Penetration testers . Cyborg Hawk Penetration Testing Distro can be used for network security and assessment and also for digital forensics. It has various tools also fit for the Mobile Security and Wireless testing. It has 700 + tools while other penetration distro have 300+ and also dedicated tools for and menu for mobile security and malware analysis . Also it is easy to compare it with others as to make a better OS than others ,we have to outperform them.
14. Knoppix STD
STD is a Linux-based Security Tool. Actually, it is a collection of hundreds if not thousands of open source security tools. It’s a Live Linux distro and its sole purpose in life is to put as many security tools at your disposal with as slick an interface as it can. STD is meant to be used by both novice and professional security personnel but is not ideal for the Linux uninitiated.
Weakerthan is a penetration testing distribution which is built from Debian Squeeze. For the desktop environment it uses Fluxbox. This ethical hacking operating system is ideal for WiFi hacking as it contains plenty of Wireless tools. It has a very well maintained website and a devoted community. Tools includes: Wifi attacks, SQL Hacking, Cisco Exploitation, Password Cracking, Web Hacking, Bluetooth, VoIP Hacking, Social Engineering, Information Gathering, Fuzzing Android Hacking, Networking and creating Shells.
16. BlackArch Linux
BlackArch Linux -an Arch Linux-based ethical hacking operting systems for penetration testers and security researchers. The new version also has a total of 1400 penetration testing tools with the old ones updated and the new ones added, making it a must have download for hackers and security researchers.
17. Matriux Linux
Matriux Linux – a Debian-based security distribution designed for penetration testing and forensic investigations. Although suited best for hackers, it can also be used by any Linux user as a desktop system for day-to-day computing. Matriux has more than 300 open source tools for penetration testing and hacking. Since its the new one, many security researchers claims that it is a better alternative to Kali Linux.
18. Dracos Linux
Dracos Linux — ethical hacking os surfaced from Indonesia built based on the Linux from scratch. Dracos is built to be fast, strong, and powerful OS which is used to perform security testing (penetration testing). Powered by hundreds of pentest tools including information gathering, forensics, malware analysis, maintaining access, and reverse engineering, Dracos Linux is one of the best choices of hacker’s operating system.
19. Fedora Security Lab
Fedora Security Lab comes with the clean and fast Xfce Desktop Environment and essential set of tools like — Wireshark, Sqlninja, Yersinia, Medusa etc — to follow a proper test path for security and pen testing. Fedora Security Lab is maintained by a community of security testers and developers.
Caine — Computer Aided Investigation Environment — is an Ubuntu-based GNU/Linux live distribution OS created for ethical hackers and digital forensics experts. It provides a complete forensic environment with a friendly graphical interface.
ArchStrike is the perfect Arch Linux based hacking operating system for security experts. ArchStrike provides a live desktop environment based on the Openbox window manager along with an extra repository of security software of 32-bit and 64-bit builds.
22. URIX OS
URIX OS is a security-focused ethical hacking distribution based on openSUSE. In URIX OS security is strengthened by removing servers and closing incoming ports. The distro also provides several penetration tools for testing purposes.
That’s all!! If you think we forget to add some other favourite operating systems of hackers please comment below. And also soon we will add more ethical hacking operating systems to the list.
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