Top 11 Free and Open-Source Linux Distributions for Hacking

Ethical hacking is identifying weaknesses in computer systems or networks to exploit its vulnerabilities so they can be fixed later. Hackers use various techniques to identify threats and thereby increase the security of the device. These people can utilize Linux based operating system to hack PC or network. It contains a wide range of applications to prevent cybersecurity attacks.

For Linux users, some Linux distributions have been rated as the best choice for hacking. These distributions are used by not only the professionals of the field but also are proven and declared best for learning the nitty-gritty details and exploring the depths of the information security field. Linux operating system is one of the leading operating systems in the world and its users are growing everywhere, in every region of the world. The server-side coding and development are majorly based on Linux and so learning and getting exposure to this paradigm are quite necessary. 

Here at LinuxAPT, as part of our Server Management Services, we regularly help our Customers to perform related information about the most secure Linux Distributions.

In this context, we shall look into the best Linux distributions for hacking.

1. BackBox

BackBox is a free and open-source Ubuntu-based operating system. BackBox is a recommended OS for security assessment and penetration testing. The OS comes equipped with a network analysis toolkit that provides an integrated environment catering to one's security and IT requirements. With BackBox, users are able to perform vulnerability assessment, computer forensic analysis, simulate an attack on a network or an application, perform ethical hacking tasks in an accurately designed environment that ensures minimal redundancies, minimum resource consumption, user-friendly, stable, and efficient environment. BackBox features its own repository and is known for providing its users a fast and minimal environment to efficiently perform and learning ethical hacking along with using and utilizing this OS for other ordinary purposes.

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2. Kali Linux

Kali Linux, formerly known as BackTrack, is an open-source Debian-derived Linux distribution. The OS comes under the GPLv3 license. The product was designed for forensic experts and pen-testing purposes. Security tools such as Aircrack-ng, Wireshark, kismet, Ettercap, maltgeo, foremost, and such other tools come equipped in the OS thereby ensuring privacy and anonymity via vast enhancements, features, and capabilities enabled in the OS. Kali Linux also provides an integrated graphical cyber attacking tool called Armitage. Kali Linux can be booted via USB or DVD. Despite all the amazing capabilities and services provided and enabled in the OS, Kali Linux provides the best environment and its services for hackers and the hacking-newbies.

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3. Fedora Security Lab

Designed by the Fedora Project experts, the Fedora Security environment provides all the necessary tools and means to learn and get one's hands on the hacking tasks and expertise. The Fedora Security environment comes equipped with numerous capabilities such as computer forensics, security auditing, and hacking. Fedora is known for providing an efficient, speedy, and easy-to-use environment to its users from around the globe. It comes with a clean and fast desktop environment. These quintessential networking tools come enabled in the fast and efficient OS such as Medusa, Wireshark, Sqlninja, Yersinia, etc. With Fedora Security, security testing and pen-testing are most simple and easy to perform.

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4. Parrot OS

The free and open-source operating system was released in 2013 and comes under the GNU GPL and Creative_Commons license. The advanced Debian-based Linux distribution was designed with security in mind and therefore ensures and provides optimal measures for security, privacy, and development. The OS was designed to detect, identify and refrain from any unauthorized simulated attacks along with any external or internal system vulnerabilities. Parrot OS comes equipped with a portable laboratory that provides system protection from unwanted diseases and is also a forensic expert. With Parrot OS, users can enjoy a seamless browsing experience and an environment for learning and getting hacking expertise.

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5. BlackArch Linux

BlackArch is a penetration testing Linux distribution that is known for its penetration testing capabilities. The tool, despite offering its users the best platform for penetration testing, also provides a list of features that provides and ensures data security and minimizes one's system's vulnerability to threats and malware. The enhanced and advanced penetration testing is a free and open-source operating system that comes with no less than 2600 tools and features to provide utmost security and privacy to one’s network and computer system along with providing an environment to perform seamless hacking. Despite offering all the commendable functionalities, the tool is significantly lightweight and guarantees an enhanced user experience.

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6. Dracos Linux

Dracos Linux is an open-source OS that offers a seamless environment for penetration testing. It is packed with a wide range of tools, for information gathering, computer forensics, malware analysis, etc. With Dracos, users are able to study, modify, and perform redistribution, get hands-on one of the most fast, efficient, and speedy OS for malware analysis, one of the highly integrated and easy-to-use distribution for ethical hacking and security research. Furthermore, Dracos OS does not collect and track any personal or sensitive user information or data. 

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7. Bugtraq    

Bugtraq is an OS that contains a wide range of pen-testing tools, including malware testing tools, mobile forensic tools, etc. It is easy to use services and products. This environment provides friendly service with innovations. Bugtraq helps hackers to monitor the system in real time. You can Install this platform from a USB drive or live DVD and it Supports numerous languages.

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CAINE is an open-source Ubuntu-based app that offers a complete forensic environment that provides a graphical interface. This operating system can be integrated into existing software tools as a module. It is one of the best operating system for hacking that automatically extracts a timeline from RAM. CAINE blocks all the devices in read-only mode and can be integrated into existing software. Also, its environment supports the digital investigator during the digital investigation.

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9. Samurai Web Testing Framework 

Samurai Web Testing Framework is an open-source virtual machine that is supported on VMWare (cloud computing software) VirtualBox (virtualization product). This live Linux environment is configured to perform web pen-testing. It contains various tools for attacking websites. Samurai Web Testing Framework focuses on attacking websites and contains tools like WebScarab (web security application testing tool) and ratproxy (Web proxy server) tool.

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10. Network Security Toolkit (NST)

Network Security Toolkit (NST) is a Linux-based Live USB/DVD flash drive. It offers free and open-source network and computer security tools that can be used for hacking. This distribution is used by hackers to perform routine security and network traffic monitoring task. With NST, You can easily access open-source network security applications as It has easy to use WUI (Web User Interface). Network Security Toolkit can be used as a network security analysis validation. Also, It contains monitoring on a virtual server having virtual machines.

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11. DEFT Linux

DEFT Linux or Digital Evidence & Forensics Toolkit Linux OS designed for hacking and computer forensic which has a hardware detection facility. This platform can be used on a live system without corrupting devices. It is one of the best operating system for hackers that contains tools for incident response and computer forensic. These tools can be used by IT auditors, hackers, investigators, etc.

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This article covers the best free and open-source Linux distributions that provide the most efficient and capable platform to learn and perform ethical hacking tasks such as BackBox, Kali Linux, Fedora Security Lab, Parrot OS, BlackArch Linux, and Dracos Linux. Choosing the best OS for Hacking & penetration testing is a good sign to learn ethical hacking and Penetration testing concepts to enhance your skills and protecting the enterprise assets from cybercriminals.

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