In this article, I am going to answer the most common question in the hacking field, which is the best operating system for hacking? Is it Kali Linux? or Is it a Parrot Security operating system? What about Windows and Mac?
A hacker is a person having high-level skills in computer operations and who uses exploits, bugs, and loopholes to gain access to networks and computer systems, which he is not allowed to access.
On the other hand, an ethical hacker identifies the vulnerabilities in the networks and computer systems, and fix these bugs and issues.
Introduction to Hacking
Here’s an Introduction to Hacking and best-operating systems for ethical hackers and penetration testers. Hacking has been part of computer science for five decades and the area is very broad, covering a range of tasks.
The term “Hacker” was originated at MIT in 1960. Hacking is known as a process of discovering all the possible back doors that exist in a network or computer system and, finally, intruding into it.
In simple words, it is known as unauthorized activities used for gaining access to a network or computer system, in most cases to harm it or in some cases to prevent its normal functions and to steal or damage sensitive information that is available on computer systems.
Hacking, on the other hand, can also be a legal activity only when it is used to discover back doors and weaknesses in a network or a computer system.
In the modern cyber world, a variety of attacks are occurring every hour or less and are performed by professional hackers, writers of viruses, programmers, and crackers.
The most basic tool for hacking that is required by every hacker is a hacking operating system. Most of the operating systems made for hacking are based on the Linux kernel.
These operating systems are also regarded as advanced working systems, which come pre-equipped with a lot of penetration testing and ethical hacking tools.
OS for Hacking
First of all, let me simplify the situation. Just forget about Windows and Mac. No doubt these are good operating systems for daily use and also for some other uses, but when we talk about hacking, they are not that much good.
The reason behind this is, a lot of hacking tools are not designed for these operating systems.
Although you can get them to work on these operating systems by spending a lot of time and effort, there will a lot of bugs and issues with them. And they’re a lot of tools, you will not able to get them to work on Windows or Mac.
So, now it is clear that you need a separate operating system if you want to do hacking.
And that operating system is Linux. You can install that, on a separate computer, if you have, you can make your system dual boot, or you can install that as a virtual machine on the operating system you use for daily purposes.
Now the question is which Linux distro is best for hacking. If you know anything about Linux then you know that there are so many flavors or distros of the Linux operating system, made to serve different purposes.
Most Popular Operating System for Hacking
There are two most popular Linux distros that are designed for hacking, and one is Kali Linux and another one is Parrot Security OS. Now again, the question is which one is the best.
To get this answer, you have to understand that, how these Linux distros are built.
We have a number of general use Linux distros some of the examples are, Debian, Red Hat, and Arch. Most of the popular hacking Linux distros like Kali Linux, Parrot Security OS, and BackBox are built on Debian.
Some of the hacking distros like Arch Strike and Black Arch are built on Arch. These hacking operating systems are just normal Linux Distros, which can also be used for any general purpose. But these operating systems come with a large number of pre-installed hacking tools.
Now if we go back in time when these Kali Linux and Parrot OS had no existence, then hackers use to pick one of the Linux Distro and install these hacking tools manually and after that, they have to configure those tools also.
That was very hectic and time-consuming. Now as we have these operating systems, thus hacking becomes more convenient. Because these operating systems come with all the tools required for hacking, pre-installed, and pre-configured.
That is the reason hackers use Kali Linux or other similar operating systems, in order to save time.
Key features of Kali Linux:
- Kali Linux is equipped with more than 600 tools for penetration testing, which is far more than Backtrack OS.
- Kali Linux is totally free of cost and open source. It is also committed to GitHub. The source code of each package is also available.
- Kali Linux is based on FHS which stands for File System Hierarchy Standard. Which makes it compliant to find binaries, and support libraries and files.
- In Kali Linux, there is an option for using a custom kernel officially offered by Kali Linux, which can be very beneficial for patching up the latest updates and customized coding.
- Each and every package in Kali Linux is signed by GPG and, hence, those are also committed to high-quality standards by developers.
- Kali Linux got Support from ARMEL and ARMHF. Which makes it possible to install Kali Linux on a number of other devices like Raspberry Pi, O-droid, Google Chromebook, etc.
Categories of tools in Kali Linux:
- Information gathering tools: These are tools that can be used for gathering information regarding DNS, IDS/IPS, network scanning, operating system, routing, SSL, SMB, VPN, VOPI, SNMP, email, and VPN.
- Vulnerability assessment tools: These tools can access the CISCO network and find out various vulnerabilities or loopholes in several servers of the database.
- Web application tools: These are the tools that are related to web-based applications like CMS (Content Management Systems), exploitation of databases, proxies for applications, Web vulnerability scanners, etc.
- Password attacks: These tools can be used for performing various password attacks like brute force attacks, dictionary attacks, etc.
- Exploitation tools: These tools can be used to exploit vulnerabilities in targeted systems for networks, the databases, and Web, also to perform social engineering attacks.
- Sniffing and spoofing tools: These tools can be used for sniffing the Web and network traffic.
- Tools for Maintaining access: These tools can be used for maintaining access to the targeted machine, to access operating system back doors, and for tunneling.
- Reporting tools: These tools are used in the document/report making and penetration testing process.
- System services: These are tools that contain various pen-testing services like MySQL, SSH, Metasploit, and Apache services.
Kali Linux is equipped with a large number of tools that perform reverse engineering, wireless attacks, hardware hacking, stress testing, and forensics.
So nowadays Kali Linux and Parrot Security OS got the spotlight. Because these operating systems come with thousands of hacking tools. Both of the tools are equally powerful. You can choose any of them according to your liking.
Or if you are so sure that hacking is your thing, then you can go back and choose any Linux distro and make your own hacking operating systems with the tools you want to have in your hacking operating system.
I hope you like this article. If I miss something or you have some queries, do let me know in comments.