Kali Linux arrives as enterprise-ready version of BackTrack
Offensive Security has announced the launch of Kali Linux, a new distribution for penetration testing and security auditing. The company is billing Kali as a professional version of its well-known BackTrack Linux tool, aimed at enterprise users. The company is teaming up with Rapid7, makers of the Metasploit toolkit, to provide official Metasploit support for Kali. The new distribution, according to both companies, is easier to use and more accessible to IT staff who are not purely focused on security work. Kali can also be customised to fit the needs of different companies more easily.
Kali's suite of tools includes Metasploit, Wireshark, John the Ripper, Nmap and Aircrack-ng. The applications have been evaluated and selected specifically for suitability and usefulness and do away with the historically accumulated selection that is available in BackTrack. The new desktop interface also includes a category labelled "Top 10 Security Tools", which collects the applications user are most likely to use on a regular basis. All in all, Kali includes approximately 300 different tools.
As Kali is built on a Debian base, Rapid7 re-engineered its Metasploit framework to be compatible with Debian's packaging requirements. As a result of this, Metasploit is now more deeply integrated into the system, making it more stable and robust. Users of Metasploit Pro on Kali can get technical support from Rapid7 as well.
With the new distribution, Offensive Security is expanding the hardware support: aside from the usual 32- and 64-bit images, ARM-based versions of the distribution are also available. This allows users to run Kali on the Raspberry Pi mini-computer and on Samsung's ARM Chromebook. According to the developers, they are trying to support as many wireless interfaces as possible and, to that end, are using a kernel based on the upstream version 3.7 that includes patches needed for the support of packet injection on many wireless interfaces.
Kali can be downloaded from the distribution's new web site, which also includes a wiki with information for users wishing to get started with it. The wiki also has information on how to change the default GNOME desktop environment and build custom images of the distribution.