Whether you’re interested in a career in cybersecurity or just want to learn more about Linux and computers, Kali is a good Linux distro to use. It’s free, comes from a reputable cybersecurity company, Offensive Security, and comes preloaded with most of the security investigation tools a person needs. Let’s learn how to install and use Kali Linux.
Kali Linux installs on ARM devices like the Raspberry pi, virtual machine hosts like VMWare and VirtualBox, or directly on hardware like a laptop or PC. Installation is pretty much the same for Kali Linux on VMWare, VirtualBox, Raspberry Pi, or as the main OS on your laptop or desktop.
Installing Kali Linux on a Laptop or Desktop
An ISO is a file that is a copy of the data you find on an installation DVD, including the file system. So if you had a disk to install Kali Linux on and made a copy of it that you could use to install it, that copy would be an ISO file.
There are several ways to install Kali from an ISO. You can create a bootable USB or DVD and then install it on hardware like laptop or PC. Use our article How to create, mount and burn ISO image files for free to help you. Or you can use it to create a virtual machine (VM).
- Go to the Offensive Security Kali Linux downloads page and select the download that suits you. We will be using the 64-bit Kali Linux installer. You can do a direct download or use their torrent links.
Use the ISO to create a bootable USB or DVD, or use it as an installation disc for a virtual machine.
- Boot the device on which you are installing Kali Linux. If you created a bootable USB or DVD, make sure it’s inserted first. In a few moments, the Kali Linux installer appears. For beginners, select graphical installation.
What looks like a failure error message may appear. Let him continue.
- Select a language, then Continue.
- Select your location. If the time zone you want to use is not there, do not select it. It is common for Canadians to only use the United States. If they do, some time zones will be lost, such as Atlantic (UTC -4). To select Continue.
- Select a keyboard layout to use with the keyboard, there are plenty to choose from.
To select Continue and it will detect and mount the ISO. Once it finds it, it will do automatic paperwork.
- To put the Kali Linux machine on the network, configure a hostname.
- Now configure users and passwords. These are not for administrative users, but for normal users.
- Create a strong password.
- Choose your time zone.
- Now Linux Kali installation will walk you through the disk partition. If you are using the device only for Kali, choose Guided: uses the entire drive.
- The drive can be partitioned, but a basic installation does not require it.
- Choose the partition type. For new users, choose All files in a partition.
- Since it is not partitioned, choose finish partitioning and write the changes to disk.
- It will ask you if you are sure. To select Yes and Continue.
Linux Kali will now install.
- You can now choose the tools to install. If you are unsure, follow the defaults. This will give you an excellent selection of tools to learn from.
The tools will be installed.
- Now Kali Linux will ask whether to install the GRUB bootloader or not. Yes is the default.
It will ask you which device to install GRUB on. There is only one, so select it.
- Once the installation is complete, be sure to eject the USB drive or DVD. To select Continue to finish it.
The installation will begin to complete. Yes, the wording is weird on the install.
White text on a black background may scroll. Expect.
Kali Linux will boot and give the option to boot into Kali GNU/Linux Where Advanced options for Kali GNU/Linux. The first is the default and will be selected automatically if you don’t choose it.
- Log into Kali Linux and enjoy.
Install Kali Linux as a virtual machine
A custom VM image is the fastest way to create a Kali Linux virtual machine. Offensive Security provides images for use in VirtualBox or VMWare. We will be using VirtualBox for this installation and assume that you have already installed VirtualBox.
Prepared by downloading the Kali Linux image from the Offensive Security site. Please note that all images have the username Kali and the password Kali already established. Change this the first time you log in.
- In Oracle VM VirtualBox Manager, select import.
- Source default to local file system. leave it like this Select the yellow folder icon to access the downloaded image. Then select following.
- The default Device Setup it’s going to work. Increase RAM and CPU if you can. To select import.
- After reading the Software License AgreementSelect To agree Continue.
The import will start. It could be finished in less than 10 minutes.
- Once the import is complete, you will see Kali Linux installed in VirtualBox. Select it, then select To start up.
- It will briefly give you the option to boot into Kali Gnu/Linux Where Advanced options for Kali Gnu/Linux. By default, this will be the first option.
Login to your new Kali Linux virtual machine with username Kali and password Kali. Consider changing them immediately.
What can be done with Kali Linux?
Kali is basically plain Linux with a bunch of security tools already installed and ready to go. You too can easily add more tools to Kali. Some are free and full-featured, while others require a paid upgrade to get full functionality. They all have their place in security research. In the Applications menu, notice how the tools are grouped by function.
Also note that there is a link to the Offensive Security training. They are tools, not toys, and will require serious study. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular Kali Linux tools.
If you want to work in IT, learn to use Wireshark. It is the most famous network analyzer. Use Wireshark to see what’s happening on a network and know that Wireshark looks great on a resume.
You can capture packets to analyze the content and find out how the network is working and what data is flowing through it, such as usernames and passwords. Wireshark has excellent built-in documentation and the Wireshark community is large and helpful.
As its name suggests, Aircrack-ng can collect Wi-Fi data that is in the air and help crack the security keys that are transmitted. It helps you get into a network without being in the building.
It is not a one-size-fits-all tool, but rather a framework or platform to help you find and validate vulnerabilities. You can discover devices, collect evidence, access and take control of systems. The free version is great for most pencil test beginners, but you’ll want to upgrade when you turn pro. Pencil testers rely heavily on Metasploit.
This tool has been around for a long time and for good reason. It is the reference tool for testing the security of web applications. If you develop web applications, learn the Burp suite and use it to ensure your final project is airtight.
john the ripper
Cracking passwords is what gets most of us into things like Kali Linux. You can use John the Ripper to test the passwords people have and let them know so they can create better passwords.
It can also be used to recover forgotten passwords for things like Excel. It does this by decrypting hashed passwords stored by your system. You can see how valuable this is for security and computer forensics professionals.
What will you do with Kali Linux?
Whether protecting your network, performing penetration testing, hacking, computer forensics, or becoming a security professional, Kali Linux is the ultimate multi-tool. The price is right and you can be up and running in minutes. What are you going to do with Kali Linux?
I am Bhumi Shah, a highly skilled digital marketer with over 11 years of experience in digital marketing and content writing in the tech industry.