Operating Systems for Ethical Hacking

Ethical Hacking is intentionally breaching an information system’s security to detect vulnerabilities in it and then fix them. Ethical Hackers conduct tests with the consent of the organization whose server is compromised. The most common organizations that hire Ethical Hackers are Banks, Financial Institutions, and any corporation with information systems. Ethical hackers work as penetration testers.

When we hear about penetration testing and hacking, we usually talk about Linux operating system. The best-operating system for hacking, Kali Linux is always the first choice for pentesters and “ethical hackers.”

Kali Linux

Kali Linux is the leading choice in penetration testing OS. It is essential software for testing during the development of deliberately vulnerable software.

Kali is a Debian-based Linux distribution designed for digital forensics and penetration testing. Developed by Offensive Security and is the successor to BackTrack of the same company. It contains many tools pre-installed analysis, detection, and exploitation of vulnerabilities.

Operating Systems
Kali Linux

Kali Linux Operations

  • More than 600 penetration testing tools included: After reviewing every tool included in BackTrack, we eliminated many tools that either did not work or duplicated other tools that provided the same or similar functionality.
  • ARMEL and ARMHF support: Since ARM-based single-board systems like the Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone Black, among others, are becoming more and more prevalent and inexpensive, we knew that Kali’s ARM support would need to be as robust as we could manage, with fully working installations for both ARMEL and ARMHF systems.
  • Kali Linux can be updated without the need to download a new version.
  • This OS can encrypt the entire disk.
  • You can easily automate and customize the Kali Linux installation on the network.
  • Support for USB live installs.

Parrot Security OS

ParrotSec is a specialized Linux distribution for professional pen testers. Hackers can use Parrot OS to perform vulnerability assessment, penetration testing, and computer forensics. So, in 2013, ParrotSec appeared, which makes the difference by adding tools to enhance anonymity so that one can use it as a daily Desktop with improved security in terms of privacy.

Parrot Linux

Parrot OS Operations

  • Provides support of experts to help you in cybersecurity.
  • This hacking OS has distributed infrastructure with dedicated CDNs (Content Distribution Network).
  • Includes the penetration tools such as Kali Linux, as mentioned.
  • You can share this operating system with others.

Fedora Security Lab

The Fedora Security Lab provides a safe test environment to work on security auditing, forensics, system rescue, and teaching security testing methodologies in universities and other organizations.

This special edition of Fedora is packed with useful utilities, applications, and programs that professionals and hobbyists find helpful in penetration testing situations and network or system security analysis. It is a similar operating system to the two mentioned above as it provides applications depending on the purpose and category we want to use.

Fedora Security Lab Operations

The operations where provided applications are divided into categories such as:

  • Network statistics
  • Password tools
  • Reconnaissance
  • VoIP (Voice over IP)
  • Web Applications Testing
  • Code analysis
  • Forensics

Fabian Affolter and Joerg Simon created Fedora Security Lab. They included many tools same the previous Operating Systems such as Nmap, John the Ripper, Wireshark, etc.

Backbox Linux

BackBox Linux is a distribution based on the well-known Ubuntu operating system. It is a distribution explicitly developed for penetration testing and security assessment purposes. It is used for security assessments and penetration tests. Its software repository even provides the latest stable versions of various systems, network analysis tools, and hacking tools.

BackBox Linux Operations

This hacking operating system provides easy to use the desktop environment. It is a Linux version that helps you to do vulnerability assessment and forensic analysis and offers the following:

  • Design with accuracy to avoid redundancies.
  • It consumes the minimum resource of your system.

Although these distributions may be preset to have a range of tools that cover the entire scope of a penetration tester’s work, installing them as an operating system is not necessary to do our job. In the case of Backbox Linux, we have a Ubuntu distribution. In contrast, in the case of Kali Linux, we have a Debian operating system. Their tools are almost the same and differ in some additions or changes, which do not interest the average network administrator or pentester since they have the know-how to configure them as they wish.