Updated April 20, 2023
Definition of Kali Linux Uses
Kali Linux is defined as a Debian based distribution from Linux which is specifically designed to perform penetration testing and security auditing purpose as this distribution is accompanied with some hundred tools for the purpose. Debian based distribution is an open source software distribution from Linux and is supported by a community from the Debian project, which was started first by Ian Murdock in 1993. Although Kali distribution in Linux was first released in 2013. Though prior to be called as Kali, it was known to the Linux world as Backtrack. In this article we will be talking about the different use cases of Kali and the utilities this distribution brings in as it gets used in those areas of utility!
Uses of Kali Linux in Various Areas
Before we learn about the various use cases or areas of usage of Kali Linux distribution in today’s world let us understand a brief about the history of Kali Linux distribution so that the use cases will be far more promising in what task they perform.
Before the development of Kali Linux, the first project which was undertaken was Whoppix, which stands for WhiteHat Knoppix. Here obviously, Knoppix is the Operating system underlying this Linux distribution, and WhiteHat in the internet is used as slang for people who hack computers, but ethically. This is from where it all started about using this distribution for something related to ethical hacking. Now ethical hacking in itself includes more layer of division like penetration testing, researching on the security of information system of an organization etc. Post Whoppix, it made way for transforming itself to WHAX, where the underlying OS changed from Knoppix to Slax. At the same time, another operating system was getting produced known as Auditor Security Collection, and then the efforts from WHAX and Auditor were combined to form BackTrack. With the experience gained from various versions of BackTrack, it was decided to provide a new face for this distribution under Debian based license terms and conditions, and hence Kali started off since then and has been under the hood of Debian based distributions and finally became a rolling operating system.
With the history in place, this distribution has hundreds of tools specifically designed for information security tasks, like that of penetration testing, security research, forensics in computer, and also reverse engineering. In the next few paragraphs, we will look at each of the usage area in greater detail and understand from the core of how Kali Linux distribution contributes to usability.
1. Uses in Areas of Penetration Testing
In the field of penetration testing, Kali Linux is a unanimous choice for all those testers out there. The tools available in Kali Linux are from the various niche of the security and forensics field. The tools present in Kali Linux distribution are classified into various buckets, though not exhaustive but the most frequently used ones and they are:
- Metasploit Framework
Not only tools, Kali Linux provides users with meta packages, which enables flexibility to the users to install some subsets of tools specific to the need of the user. Last but not the least, Kali Linux is one of the rolling Operating system distribution and hence there is a standard version control followed and the version tracking page enables users for comparing the current upstream version with the one in Kali presently.
2. Uses in Areas of Security Research
Using the tools present for penetration testing, one can easily take the security a notch higher by involving themselves in researching on the IT security genre and keep evolving the tools on the same. This area of use case for Kali Linux ties closely with penetration testing.
3. Uses in Areas of Computer Forensics
In today’s world any organization or even an individual are surrounded with external attacks and security breaches. These actions are often carried out by cyber attacker. Now, once an attack is performed understanding the root cause on how the attack was carried out and the due course of action to respond to the attack is done using computer forensics. This is where Kali Linux distribution comes to play and using the tools for penetration testing and some 14 exclusive tools for computer forensics present in Kali Linux distribution makes it evenly the widely used operating system when it comes to computer forensics. Some of the tools which play a crucial role in this are:
- Binwalk tool
- Bulk extractor tool
- HashDeep tool
- Magic rescue tool
- Scalpel tool
- Scrounge-NTFS tool
- Guymager tool
- Pdfid tool
- Pdf-parser tool
- Peepdf tool
- Autopsy tool
- img_cat tool
- ICAT tool
- Srch_strings tool
You would feel that a lot of the tools mentioned above have some relation to the forensics department in medical science. One more thing which is present in Kali Linux distribution through its unique and special capability of forensic mode when run in the boot menu is that while performing forensics, the tools avoids any activity which can lead to a modification in the data analysis
4. Uses in Areas of Reverse Engineering
In the times when we were young, we often played with puzzles, where one tear apart the puzzle which comes made in packed condition and then put the pieces together to learn and develop the human mind. The same goes with reverse engineering for security professionals using Kali Linux. With forensics, we find the cause of the attack, and using reverse engineering by security professionals will enable us to find out the loopholes by identifying their technique and build a more robust system so as to avoid such attacks in near future! The tools which enables us to perform Reverse Engineering in Kali Linux distribution are:
- Jad debugger
With these tools security professionals look at reverse engineering as an important means for sustaining competition and develop defense system for future attacks!
In this article we have got a flavor of different parcels where Kali Linux distribution is used by security professional although one thing to keep in mind is that all the use cases revolves around one umbrella i.e. “security” for which this distribution was originally intended for! Rest over to readers to try out some tools mentioned here in their actual real-life scenarios.
This is a guide to Kali Linux Uses. Here we also discuss the definition and uses of kali linux in various areas along with an explanation. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more –