What are the best Linux distros for cybersecurity students? (2023)

What are the best Linux distros for cybersecurity students? (1)

If you know anything about computers, you know that everyone needs an operating system. A computer without an operating system is little more than an expensive paperweight. The number of operating systems in the world is high, with Microsoft Corporation's Windows operating system and Apple's iOS being the most used. A lesser known but equally effective operating system is the open source Linux operating system.

While not as widely used as others, Linux still has a place in modern technology. For example, it is a powerful digital security platform. The real question is which version of Linux is best for you if you want to become a cybersecurity professional.


What is cybersecurity?

What is Linux?

Distribution #1: Kali Linux

(Video) The best Linux distro to learn to become a hacker

Entertainment #2: NodeZero

Distribution No. 3: Parrot Security Operating System

Distribution #4: BlackArch

Distribution #5: CAINE Linux

the final choice

What is cybersecurity?

If you want to become a cybersecurity professional, understanding exactly what is expected of you could be beneficial for you. Cybersecurity is the protection of devices and their data from unauthorized access. Almost everything we do is now online for convenience and efficiency. We shop online, communicate online, and store personal information and pictures online. This means that strangers can access our credit card, location and personal information if it is not properly secured.

What are the best Linux distros for cybersecurity students? (2)

To resist these attempts to steal our personal information, security software is installed on virtually every personal device on the planet. Preferred antivirus software such as Kaspersky or Norton is used to protect against hostile programs or Trojan intrusion attempts that exploit legitimate downloads. This software has become such a critical component of how we use computers that those looking to exploit system weaknesses for their own benefit must constantly update and improve their methods to stay ahead of what is protecting us.

Cybersecurity professionals are the ones who not only create the software we use to protect our information, but maintain it. When hackers develop new tactics to bypass antiviral software or cybersecurity programs, experts analyze the tactics and update the programs to defend against the new tactic. They even try to fight back if the stolen information is sensitive enough to warrant further investigation. Every major law enforcement agency in the world now has a cybercrime department that employs cybersecurity professionals to conduct these investigations and digitally track these enemy hackers.

(Video) Best OS For Pentesting & Security Research?

What is Linux?

What are the best Linux distros for cybersecurity students? (3)

Linux is a collection of open source modular operating systems with a wide range of versions and distributions. The Linux operating system family is UNIX-like, meaning that it works similarly to the UNIX operating system that was capable of advanced multitasking.

The original Linux software distribution was released on September 27, 1991. Its goal was to be software that could power personal devices with the added benefit of serving as an open source option, making it free for everyone, among other options. prominent and expensive. such as early versions of Windows and Apple's operating system. Linux was built on the Intel x86 software architecture concept and remains the leading example of general purpose software. Currently, Linux can be found on computers, mobile devices and smart devices like TVs.

Although Linux is only used by around 2.3% of all desktop users, it is still a viable option for certain tasks, including cybersecurity. In fact, there are even certain Linux distributions designed as cybersecurity platforms. Some of them are listed below.

Distribution #1: Kali Linux

Released on March 13, 2013, the Kali Linux distribution, formerly known as BackTrack, of the Linux operating system was developed by Offensive Security and is derived from the Debian Linux distribution. Unlike other Linux operating system variants, the developer behind Kali Linux is a top-notch provider of information security and penetration training. Offensive Security not only provides an ideal operating system for use by cybersecurity personnel, it also helps empower professionals.

What are the best Linux distros for cybersecurity students? (4)

When BackTrack was originally released, it was based on the Knoppix Linux distribution and focused on security. When Kali Linux was released, it had a bunch of new tools and code. That onemain toolsfound with Kali Linux are:

  • Burp-Suite: A tool for penetration testing of web applications.
  • the thread is: a tool for analyzing network logs.
  • Aircrack-ng: A cordless cracking tool.
  • Hydra: An online brute force password hacking tool.
  • Maltese: A tool to collect information.
  • John- An offline equivalent of Hydra password cracking.
  • Marco Metasplit: A tool used to exploit security vulnerabilities.
  • Owasp-zap: A tool to find vulnerabilities in applications.
  • Nmap: A network scanner.
  • map SQL: A tool to exploit vulnerabilities in SQL injections.

With the tools available for the Kali Linux suite and the unique role of developers, Kali Linux is a strong contender for cybersecurity professionals. However, it is just one of the many Linux distributions available to the industry. Kali Linux is not only one of the top-rated Linux distributions, but also one of the most recommended for students.

“This is a great operating system. I love that it comes pre-installed with many of the necessary tools and can boot from a flash drive. It's so easy and such a great benefit. I used it extensively at school in labs for a "CTF" contest and various other projects. I've also used it professionally to test some of our security measures.

What are the benefits?


+ Bootable from a flash drive (no installation)

+All tools and utilities loaded with it

What are the downsides?

(Video) Best Linux Distros For Ethical Hacking

"I can't think of anything"Stay_Dandy, Spice Works.

Entertainment #2: NodeZero

Although information about who created the NodeZero Linux distribution is not available, what is known is that the operating system was originally released on October 6, 2010. Penetration testing or ethical hacking is a key responsibility for anyone in the cybersecurity industry.

What are the best Linux distros for cybersecurity students? (5)

NodeZero comes with over three hundred security and penetration testing tools. It also comes with the THC IPV6 Attack Toolkit, which includes tools like live6, dnsdict6, and toobig6 for security and penetration testing. Unlike Kali Linux, NodeZero is more of a source code style, which makes things difficult if you are not an established user of Linux software.

Distribution No. 3: Parrot Security Operating System

Another Debian-based Linux distribution, Parrot Security (ParrotSec) is a Linux distribution released on April 10, 2013. Parrot Security was developed by Lorenzo "Palinuro" Faletra and the team at Frozenbox with the aim of developing an operating system for testing of penetration. , vulnerability assessment and mitigation, computer forensics, and anonymous browsing.

Unlike other Linux operating systems, ParrotSec combines features from Frozenbox (another Linux distribution) and Kali Linux to create a new operating system. One advantage that Parrot Security OS has over Kali Linux is the anonymization tools. ParrotSec allows the user to completely hide their identity while browsing the web and therefore remain relatively undetectable when carrying out cybersecurity counterattacks against hacking attempts. Like Kali Linux, Parrot Security is one of the recommended Linux distributions for students.

“I like that all security software is pre-installed and configured for secure boot. You hardly need to configure anything.

It's definitely not easy to use for someone who doesn't know how to use Linux yet. Also, it is extremely secure, which makes some convenience features not work.

Familiarize yourself with your Linux skills first

A secure system with good performance. I've used Zorin before, which is very convenient, but a little less secure." -Anonymous, G2.

“Parrot is the latest version of Linux, it has built-in security assessment tools for security professionals, Metasploit, Burpsuite, SQLmap and many penetration testing tools built into the operating system. All tools are built into an operating system and do not need to be installed individually.

Most Parrot OS security tools are command line based when they can introduce built-in GUI based security tools which will be great.

We use Parrot Security OS, it has more features than Kali Linux, there are more exploit libraries built in.

We use ParrotOS to perform penetration tests for our customers.” – Anonymous, G2.

(Video) 5 Best Linux Distros For HACKING in 2022

Distribution #4: BlackArch

BlackArch, another penetration testing oriented Linux operating system software distribution, is functionally similar to the Parrot Security and Kali Linux distributions mentioned above. However, unlike the others, BlackArch does not offer desktop functionality. Instead, the operating system opts for preconfigured windows to process commands. BlackArch software was developed by a small group of cybersecurity experts and offersmore than two thousand toolsdedicated to penetration testing.

What are the best Linux distros for cybersecurity students? (6)

BlackArch is one of the best device interfaces that works for cybersecurity tools only. While BlackArch is recommended for students, some reviews have noted that it's more complicated than you might think.

“Net Installer allows you to create your installation from scratch. This allows you to limit the additional software required and run an efficient and efficient pentesting machine. I appreciate the responsiveness and lack of use of general features. The ability to bypass the GUI and run 100% CLI is great.

Currently there is nothing in the distribution that I don't like. It's comprehensive and straightforward, though not for the uninitiated.

Make sure you are familiar with Linux and its various nuances. While a GUI is available, knowledge of the CLI is essential to get the most out of this distro.

Internal and external penetration and security testing for our corporate and field offices.” 🇧🇷Anonymous, G2.

Distribution #5: CAINE Linux

The Computer Aided Investigative Environment (CAINE), an Ubuntu-based variation of the Linux software, began development in 2008 led by Giovanni Bassetti. CAINE was developed as part of a digital forensic software project that organizes cyber forensic tools in an easy-to-use spreadsheet. Interface. CAINE provides several tools to support the forensics required by cybersecurity professionals:

  • detective kit- An open source command line input tool to run commands to analyze file systems and disk volumes.
  • Autopsy: The Autopsy tool serves as the graphical user interface to the Sleuth Kit and is designed to perform forensic analysis of files, looking for specific keywords and weaving artifacts.
  • RegRipper: A tool that extracts and analyzes information from files stored on a device.
  • Zinn: A tool for analyzing Twitter publications and accounts.
  • the thread is– This tool captures network traffic and analyzes captured data packets.
  • FotoRec: A particularly useful tool that facilitates the recovery of deleted files and documents directly from the hard drive.
  • fsstat: This tool displays the statistical data of images and storage devices.

What are the best Linux distros for cybersecurity students? (7)

As a forensic tool, CAINE is probably the type of operating system most commonly used by cybersecurity professionals employed by law enforcement agencies. Its toolset is designed to extract incriminating information stored on a suspect's personal device. However, the tool can also be useful for anyone who wants to understand how information is gathered in order to develop privacy countermeasures. While CAINE is more likely to be used by professionals, its user-friendly GUI makes it worth considering even for students to explore this cybersecurity niche.

the final choice

Cybersecurity is an emerging field with almost unlimited potential for growth and expansion, but it requires the right tools to really get involved. If you're interested in joining a professional cybersecurity company and you're into Linux operating systems, any of these distros should be more than helpful in keeping you up to date.

Every Linux operating system software distribution has been developed by people who want to adapt it to what they consider the best version for cybersecurity purposes. Each will have different pros and cons. If you're not sure which Linux distro is best for you, the best thing you can do is try them out for free, as they're all open source and don't cost a dime. However, if the reviews are any indication, Kali Linux appears to be the main competitor.

Which distro appeals to you in the end is your decision. If one of these distros, or one not listed here, interests you, dive in and see how it fits with your current aptitude for cybersecurity work.


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