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Building your own collection of hacker tools is great, but now it is customary to take one of the specialized distributions as a basis. Usually this is Kali, but we will consider not only it, but also other distributions for penetration testing, sometimes no less effective, and in some areas even more useful.
There are many distributions for pentesting. Some are popular, others are not very popular, but they all pursue the goal of giving the hacker a convenient and reliable tool for all occasions. The average hacker will never use most of the programs included in such customized assemblies, but for
show-off they add status ("Look, you have 150 utilities, and I have 12,000!"). Today we will try to review most of the interesting distributions, both popular and undeservedly forgotten. If we missed something – do not hesitate to use comments. Go!
Although these distributions are designed to be attacked, you are solely responsible for using them! Do not forget that the use of this knowledge to the detriment is punishable by law.
- First release: 2003 year
- Based on: Fedora
- Platforms: x64
- Graphical shell: MATE
Let's start with a little-known, but no less interesting distribution kit. NST (Network Security Toolkit) is based on Fedora and is designed for network attacks. The interface is based on MATE, which evokes the feeling of the beginning of the zero. The set includes several dozen of the most important tools, mainly network scanners, clients for all kinds of services and all sorts of traffic interceptors. But there are not enough useful things like, for example, masscan, and even banal aircrack, though airsnort available.
Most of the goodies can be found in the Applications → Internet folder. Here we have Angry IP Scannerwritten in Java by the way, and Ettercap, and even OWASP ZAP, which we already wrote about in "Hacker". There is a good collection of modules for all kinds of spoofing and scanning of the package netwag… In practice, he showed himself well, it's a pity, not very convenient and terribly outdated.
All the software I've tested works great. In general, everyone who misses the ancient interface and familiar tools is recommended.
- First release: year 2013
- Based on: Debian
- Platforms: x86, x64, ARM, VirtualBox
- Graphical shell: Xfce
As you know, of course, Kali is one of the most popular distributions for hackers, and it would be strange if we didn't write about it. Even schoolchildren know about it, and more recently it is available as an application directly from the Microsoft Store! Of course, accessibility is a definite plus, but the system is slightly overloaded with a set of tools (although not as much as BlackArch), besides, some of them out of the box work crookedly or do not work at all.
Kali also has no foolproof protection. As practice shows, not all users understand that it is not worth making this system the main one. From the core to the shell, it was created and optimized for performing combat missions on the fronts of information security and is poorly suited for quiet daily work. Many of the mechanisms needed in everyday life are simply not there, and an attempt to install them is likely to cause malfunctions in the normal operation of the OS, if it does not completely disable it.
In short, Kali is like a match – a powerful thing in skilled hands, it is easy to get it, but it is better not to give it to children. It is not possible to cover all possible official and unofficial utilities at once (and there are more than 600 of them for a minute) of this system, if only because new and new modules, frameworks, utilities and other bells and whistles are constantly appearing.
Kali is designed for a wide range of tasks, but the main one is attacks in a network environment, for example, finding vulnerabilities in web applications and gaining access to wireless networks. As the successor to BackTrack, Kali is generally quite well suited to work with wireless communication channels, especially Wi-Fi. Strength testing of remote hosts is also possible using, for example, Metasploit (read more about it in our recent review), but the core and a significant part of the tools are focused on working with Wi-Fi.
Another plus point is the presence in the standard delivery of a large number of dictionaries for various attacks, not only on Wi-Fi, but also on Internet accounts and network services.
For even greater ease of use, the official website offers a version of the distribution kit for virtual machines, because when hacking it is much wiser to use the system without installation – you never know who will dig into your computer later!
The verdict is this: if you know how to use it, it's a cool thing, but don't try to show it to your child. One of the authors saw what would happen if this instruction was violated.
- First release: 2005 year
- Based on: Ubuntu
- Platforms: x86
- Graphical shell: LXDE
Home to sunny Italy, DEFT is lavishly cheese-like pizza, sprinkled with a variety of exploration and hacking tools. At the same time, they are not tied to the distribution kit with blue electrical tape, but are quite harmoniously built into it. All together it resembles an interesting and useful Swiss knife in life.
Developed by DEFT on the platform Lubuntu and provided with a user-friendly graphical interface. The product includes a set of profile utilities, starting with antiviruses, search engines for information in the browser cache, network scanners and other useful tools, and ending with tools that are necessary when searching for hidden information on disk.
Using this OS, it will not be difficult to access erased, encrypted or corrupted data on various types of physical media.
The main toolkit is hiding in the DEFT section, which, in turn, is located in a kind of Start menu.
Initially, this distribution was intended for the needs of network police and incident response specialists in the field of information security, so another strength of DEFT is competitive intelligence, including the analysis of the relationships between social media accounts.
There is even an interesting utility for detecting the geolocation of a given LinkedIn or Twitter account. I could not check how efficiently it works at the moment, but she copes with determining the belonging of the account to the country and city.
Unlike Kali Linux or Tsurugi, DEFT has foolproof protection built in. Without proper preparation, almost no tool can simply be launched, and without a deep understanding of the work of protective mechanisms, there is absolutely nothing to do here.
Virtually every application or option requires root privileges, so don't be in a rush to start everything right away or create an unprivileged user.
I also found a "present": several repositories, from where DEFT gets updates, are closed with keys. For a couple of days I rummaged through the forums until I found where to request data from, and the keys themselves were also found.
As a result, this system is good for forensics and incident investigation, especially if there is physical access to information carriers – be it a disk, a flash drive or a smartphone (a hacker, boss, employee, competitor, wife, mistress, her father – emphasize the necessary).
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