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What is Kali Linux?

If you are looking for a successful career in cybersecurity, one of the first things that you can learn is Kali Linux. It has become a necessity and has been widely used by professionals who are into cybersecurity and who are working as penetration testers. This might sound new to you, but it has been around the market since 2012. It is a very unique version of Linux. With this article, you will get an outlook for Kali Linux. 

Security Tutorials Jul 24, 21 by Nisal N 9 min Read
What is Kali Linux?

Kali is a Debian-based Linux version that is specially designed for penetration testing and carrying out digital forensics. Kali comes with an amazing pre-installed tools suite that helps the investigating team to carry out various cybersecurity processes along with penetration testing and exploitation. You can even get Kali Linux free of cost and can install it on your machines for effective working.

A wide range of tools, functionalities and pre-installed applications make Kali most popular among professionals and the cybersecurity industry. Here, we will highlight why Kali was designed and how it plays an important role in cybersecurity.

What is Kali Linux and its history?

Kali Linux provides a platform for conducting various investigations involved in ethical hacking or cyber crimes related issues. It is one of the Debian-based Linux distributions that were created and maintained by a renowned information security company, “Offensive Security”.

Kali project was started in 2012 which was started by Offensive Security to replace the BackTrack Linux project. BackTrack was internally maintained with all required infrastructure and improved packaging. They used Debian distribution for building Kali due to its stability, quality, and wide range of software. In March 2013, its first version was released and based on Debian 7 “Wheezy” which is considered to be the stable distribution of Debian available at that time. At starting, several pen-testing-related applications were packaged which were curated meticulously. After that, some of the applications were dropped due to the duplicacy and to move forward with better programs.

After its first release, they introduced various updates including a wide range of applications and improved the support for the hardware due to the new kernel. With its integration with the continuous integration, ensured all the packages will be installable.

After that, in 2015, Kali Linux 2.0 was rebased on the Debian 8 “Jessie”. With this release, the GNOME shell was enhanced with some GNOME extensions for including more features.

What are the key features?

Below are the key features that you will get with Kali Linux.

  • Kali Linux is packed with several pre-installed penetration testing tools like Wireshark, Nmap, Aircrack-ng and many more. 
  • It comes with support for several languages enabling the users to operate in their native language accordingly.
  • Kali Linux has been developed in a secured environment, ensuring that only trusted users can interact with Kali code repositories. 
  • Kali Linux follows the standard filesystem hierarchy for locating libraries, support files and many others.
  • Kali Linux is available for free for use for all users, especially experienced.
  • It may be possible that every user will agree with the design of Kali Linux, so they made it open for customizable according to their requirement. 

System Requirements for Kali Linux- 

There is no much effort required for installing Kali Linux. All you need is the hardware that is compatible with Kali Linux. Kali comes with support for i386, amd64, and ARM platforms. It needs the minimum hardware requirement for its working, but it is obvious that having good hardware will improve the performance. You will require the following (minimum requirements).

  • You should have a minimum of 20 GB of disk space for the installation of Kali Linux.
  • RAM requirement for i386 and amd64 architectures, should be a minimum: 1GB, and is recommended: 2GB or more.
  • CD-DVD Drive / USB boot support/ VirtualBox.

List of Tools for Kali Linux

You can use the below-mentioned list of tools that are pre-installed for the purpose of ethical hacking via Kali Linux. We have mentioned a few tools that are commonly used, but the list does not end here. With Kali Linux, you can leverage thousands of tools.


It is a suite of required tools that helps in accessing the Wifi network security. It helps in focusing the main areas of Wifi security. It allows you to monitor captured packets and helps in exporting the data to various text files that will lead you to further processing using third-party tools. It helps in predicting the attacks or any possible vulnerability like replay attacks, de-authentication, fake access points, and others like an injection of packets. It allows you to check Wifi cards and other related drivers capabilities. Each tool is based on the command line that requires proper coding. A lot of GUIs leverage the benefits of this feature. This tool is also available on Windows, OS X, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, and Solaris.


Nmap stands for Network mapper, which is a free and open-source service helping in network discovery and auditing the security of your network. It takes the help of raw IP packets for determining the available hosts on the network, what type of services are being offered, on what operating system they are running on, what firewalls they are using and running, and many other required features. 

It is also recommended by many systems and network administrators, making various tasks simple for easy processing. Some of the tasks are mentioned below.: 

  • network inventory
  • To manage the upgrade of service schedules
  • To monitor the uptime of host or service 

THC Hydra

You can leverage the benefits of Hydra to implement the brute force attack for cracking the remote authentication service. It helps in performing a rapid dictionary attack against more than 50 protocols that includes FTP, HTTP, HTTPS, and several databases. You can use this tool for cracking into web scanners, wireless networks, and others.


You can use this tool for scanning remote systems for checking systems for security vulnerabilities. It may not be able to block any type of attack or system vulnerability but allows you to run various checks for identifying any possible vulnerability within the system. It will then throw alerts upon encountering any possible threat and allow security patches wherever required. 


You can use Wireshark for analyzing the packets without paying for their use. It is available as an open-source tool that is very popular among various types of users. It allows you to track the network activities from a microscopic level along with pcap file access. It provides you with customizable reports, advanced triggers, throws alerts for threats, etc. it is one of the widely used tools for analyzing the network protocol for Linux. 

Best ways to learn Kali

If you want to learn Kali Linux and understand its basic concept like how it can be used for cybersecurity. You can follow the below-mentioned simple steps.

  • Build a Kali Linux Virtual Machine

You can use any of the available freeware for setting up a hypervisor for starting the work with VM providing a Kali Linux deployment. Virtual machines give you a platform for setting up or removing any number of Kali Linux instances and taking snapshots along the way. 

You can start with installing a free Hypervisor like Oracle’s virtual box for running the Kali Linux. After the installation, you can use the Kali Linux ISO for downloading and installing Kali Linux. If you are new to Linux, then you should be starting with installing any Linux free distribution for creating a virtual machine.

  • Exploring cyber tools in Kali Linux

After Kali installation on the VM, you can go through a wide range of pre-installed tools available for the operating system. All the tools are sorted into different categories. You can choose any of the tools and learn them individually. You can even select a category of your choice and select the tool that you want to learn and get started. You can learn tools either online or offline from various sources. 

  • Using tools for legal hacking sites

However, hacking into someone’s website is illegal but many sites offer you to hack into them for testing purposes. In such a way, you will be able to tell how a tool will work and in what aspect. 


Here are some takeaways from Kali Linux, we have summarized a few key points here.

  • If you are a beginner then you should not go for Kali Linux at first. So try to get along with various tools.
  • For easygoing try Ubuntu for the first time and then give a try to Kali Linux, as it is well suited for experienced users for accomplishing complex tasks.
  • You should try to use Kali Linux for the systems that do not provide proper authentication access. Apart from this, you should be a skilled user for using this.

Well, Kali Linux is unique in its way offering you various tools for cybersecurity. You can use it for various purposes. Through this article, you will be able to understand the base of Kali Linux.

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Nisal N

Computers has always fascinated me since I was a kid and here we are. I love travelling for 2 reasons: the first one to see a new part of the world and second (the most important one) to experience the rich culture hidden among the country and people. I'm pretty good at cooking but very poor when it comes to baking.

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