Kali Linux is a Debian-based Linux distribution aimed at advanced Penetration Testing and Security Auditing. Backtrack was released to provide an exclusive variety of penetration testing and defensive tools that were perfect for auditors and network administrators interested in assessing and securing their networks. The same tools were used by both authorised and unauthorised penetration testers.
The final version of Backtrack, BT5 R3, was released in August 2012. It was based on the Ubuntu Platform. It was widely adopted and supported by the security community. Unfortunately its file architecture made it difficult to manage the array of tools and their accompanying dependencies.
In Backtrack, All the tools used for penetration testing were placed in the /pentest directory. Subfolders such as /web or /database helped to further define the location of tools. Finding and executing tools within this hierarchy could be counterintuitive. For example, sqlninja, which identifies an SQL injection, a web vulnerability assessment tool, a web exploit tool or a database exploit tool?
In March 2013, Backtrack was superseded by Kali Linux, which uses a new platform architecture based on the Debian GNU.
Features of Kali Linux include the following:
- Support for multiple desktop environments such as GNOME, LXDE and provide multilingual support.
- Debian compliant tools are synchronised with the Debian repositories at least four times a day, making it easier to update packages and apply security fixes.
- Support for ISO customisation, allowing users to build their own versions of Kali. The Bootstrap function also performs enterprise wide network installs that can be automated using pre-seed files.
- ARMEL and ARMHF support allows Kali Linux to be installed on devices such as Raspberry Pi etc
- Over 300 penetration testing data forensics and defensive tools are included. They provide extensive wireless support with kernel patches to permit the packet injection required by some wireless attacks.
- Kali Linux remains an open source project that is free. Most importantly, it is well supported by an active community.