Kali is a complete re-build of BackTrack Linux, adhering completely to Debian development standards. All-new infrastructure has been put in place, all tools were reviewed and packaged, and we use Git for our VCS.
- More than 300 penetration testing tools: After reviewing every tool that was included in BackTrack, we eliminated a great number of tools that either did not work or had other tools available that provided similar functionality.
- Free and always will be: Kali Linux, like its predecessor, is completely free and always will be. You will never, ever have to pay for Kali Linux.
- Open source Git tree: We are huge proponents of open source software and our development tree is available for all to see and all sources are available for those who wish to tweak and rebuild packages.
- FHS compliant: Kali has been developed to adhere to the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard, allowing all Linux users to easily locate binaries, support files, libraries, etc.
- Vast wireless device support: We have built Kali Linux to support as many wireless devices as we possibly can, allowing it to run properly on a wide variety of hardware and making it compatible with numerous USB and other wireless devices.
- Custom kernel patched for injection: As penetration testers, the development team often needs to do wireless assessments so our kernel has the latest injection patches included.
- Secure development environment: The Kali Linux team is made up of a small group of trusted individuals who can only commit packages and interact with the repositories while using multiple secure protocols.
- GPG signed packages and repos: All Kali packages are signed by each individual developer when they are built and committed and the repositories subsequently sign the packages as well.
- Multi-language: Although pentesting tools tend to be written in English, we have ensured that Kali has true multilingual support, allowing more users to operate in their native language and locate the tools they need for the job.
- Completely customizable: We completely understand that not everyone will agree with our design decisions so we have made it as easy as possible for our more adventurous users to customize Kali Linux to their liking, all the way down to the kernel.
Kali is specifically tailored to penetration testing and therefore, all documentation on this site assumes prior knowledge of the Linux operating system.
Differences Between Kali Linux and Debian
Kali Linux is geared towards professional penetration testing and security auditing. As such, several core changes have been implemented in Kali Linux which reflect these needs:
- Single user, root access by design: Due to the nature of security audits, Kali linux is designed to be used in a “single, root user” scenario.
- Network services disabled by default: Kali Linux contains sysvinit hooks which disable network services by default. These hooks allow us to install various services on Kali Linux, while ensuring that our distribution remains secure by default, no matter what packages are installed. Additional services such as Bluetooth are also blacklisted by default.
- Custom Linux kernel: Kali Linux uses an upstream kernel, patched for wireless injection.
Is Kali Linux Right For You?
As the distribution developers, one would likely expect us to recommend that everyone use Kali Linux. The fact of the matter is, however, that Kali is a Linux distribution specifically geared towards professional penetration testing and security auditing and as such, it is NOT a recommended distribution for those unfamiliar with Linux.
In addition, misuse of security tools within your network, particularly without permission, may cause irreparable damage and result in significant consequences.