Updated April 12, 2023
Definition of Kali Linux Packages
Kali Linux packages is defined as a utility that enables flexibility to the users to install specific tools or its subsets depending on the basis of the requirement. In Kali, the term packages are grouped under a big package and known as meta packages. This utility of metapackages is used for installing a lot of packages that are somehow dependent on a utility to function properly and without any trouble. The list of other installs that are required for the functioning is well documented in the list of dependencies and hence automatically taken care of. In fact, one can also allow the users to decide on how many packages out of the list one would like to install.
Explain Kali Linux packages
In order to understand packages in Kali Linux, we would need to understand the utility of various Kali Linux packages available to us. The packages are broadly classified into 5 categories on the basis of utility each of the packages possesses. In this section, we will learn about all the meta-packages available under each of the umbrellas and also understand each of the package’s utility. The 5 broad categories and packages under each of the categories are:
- System: The packages which fall under this category are used mostly for the creation of the Kali Linux images on which the entire OS relies on.
- Menu: The packages in these categories are based on the manipulation of the menu in the Kali Linux distribution image of the OS.
- Tools or utilities: In Kali Linux distribution a lot of processes are followed during penetration testing or network analysis which requires a bunch of tools for smooth execution of the process. On the type and category of the tools, metapackages are built having required packages in them to efficiently fulfill the duties of the utility.
- Desktop managers: The packages in this category refers to the packages which will enable desktop environments and the windows manager to function properly as expected.
- Miscellaneous: The packages here are some of the “one-off” categories’ groupings that might not relate to a specific utility like others.
Now under each of the categories, we will go through a list of metapackages which will contain packages and each of their utilities. One word of disclaimer is that the list below is not exhaustive and might change as time changes, but nonetheless, the hot utilities are listed here for all our reader’s reference.
- kali-Linux-core: This meta package has eventually everything or every package that a Kali Linux needs for functioning. Packages like sudo, openssh-server, open-vpn, snmp, tftp, ftp, gdisk, etc. are bundled in this metadata.
- kali-Linux-default: This meta-package involves all packages which is required to set up a “default” desktop in AMD64 or i386 using the Linux image. One more thing to note is that this meta-package also involves the kali-Linux-core meta-package.
- kali-Linux-light: This meta package is required for creating a lighter version of the Kali Linux image. Again, as a rule of thumb, kali-Linux-core metapackage is present here as well.
- kali-Linux-arm: This metapackage includes all the packages needed or suitable for ARM devices.
- Kali-Linux-nethunter: The packages in this meta-package includes all tools required for Kali nethunter. Nethunter is an open-source mobile penetration testing platform
- kali-tools-information-gathering: The packages mentioned in this list are often needed for information gathering and Open Source Intelligence (OSINT)
- kali-tools-vulnerability: For assessing the vulnerability, the tools or packages in this meta package are required by the user.
- kali-tools-web: For assessing web application attacks, the packages here are designed for.
- kali-tools-database: In order to take care of assessing any database attacks, the packages in this list are used!
- kali-tools-passwords: Sometimes it becomes a task for WhiteHat hackers for understanding attacks from password cracking, and that is where the packages in this list come in handy.
- kali-tools-wireless: The packages in this list take care of anything related to wireless protocols, be it Wi-Fi (802.11), Bluetooth, FID & SDR
- kali-tools-reverse-engineering: The packages here are used by network forensics to perform binaries for reverse engineering.
- kali-tools-exploitation: Tools mentioned here are used generally for performing exploitation
- kali-tools-social-engineering: Packages here are aimed for performing social engineering techniques.
- kali-tools-sniffing-spoofing: Similar to kali-tools-social-engineering tools here also intended for performing similar social engineering techniques.
- kali-tools-post-exploitation: Like kali-tools-exploitation is used for exploitation, tools here are required for post-exploitation stage techniques.
Tools or utilities
- kali-tools-gpu: Packages in this contain tools that work the best when there is GPU hardware can be accessed.
- kali-tools-hardware: Packages in this contain tools that helps in hacking hardware.
- kali-tools-crypto-stego: Packages in this contain tools that are based around Cryptography & Steganography.
- kali-tools-fuzzing: Packages in this contain tools that help in creating of a perfect fuzzer!
- kali-tools-802-11: Packages in this contain tools which relates to helping the Wi-Fi utility.
- kali-tools-Bluetooth: Packages in this contain tools which relates to helping Bluetooth utility.
- kali-tools-rfid: Packages in this contain tools that help in radio frequency identification.
- kali-tools-sdr: Packages in this contain tools which relates to helping Software-Defined Radio tools
- kali-tools-voip: Packages in this, contain tools which relates to helping voice over IP utility.
- kali-desktop-core: This contains all the tools for forming a GUI image.
- kali-desktop-e17: This meta package contains packages required to set up an Enlightenment (WM) environment.
- kali-desktop-gnome: This meta package contains packages required to set up a GNOME (DE) environment.
- kali-desktop-i3: This meta-package contains packages required to set up an i3 (WM) environment.
- kali-desktop-kde: This meta-package contains packages required to set up a KDE (DE) environment.
- kali-desktop-lxde: This meta-package contains packages required to set up an LXDE (WM) environment.
- kali-desktop-mate: This meta-package contains packages required to set up a MATE (DE) environment.
- kali-desktop-xfce: This meta-package contains packages required to set up an XFCE (WM) environment.
- kali-linux-large: Very similar to the kali-linux-light, this metapackage is aimed at providing an extra enhancement to the light version with inclusion of many additional tools.
- kali-linux-everything: This involves all the metapackages and packages and tools mentioned in this article and anything that is possible in Kali Linux distribution.
- kali-tools-top10: As the name suggests, this contains the top 10 tools or packages in Kali Linux distribution.
- kali-desktop-live: Packages mentioned here are used during a live sessions of Kali Linux when booted from image.
- kali-tools-headless: Packages here don’t require an extra GUI for accessing them!
In this article, we have got a flavor of how packages are built in Kali Linux and the context of why metapackages are present in there. Packages help a lot to the users to set up the environment in the way the user wants it to be. Rest on the readers to try out the list of packages and metapackages mentioned here according to their requirements!
This is a guide to Kali Linux Packages. Here we discuss the Definition, Tools or utilities, Desktop managers, Miscellaneous respectively. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more –