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Penetration Testing

Penetration testing (commonly referred to as pen testing or ethical hacking) is the practice of testing a computer system, network, or application to identify security vulnerabilities that could be exploited by malicious actors. As you can imagine, information gathered in pen tests is invaluable in verifying the security of a Linux server, securing data and preventing attacks. There are an array of excellent pen testing tools available to Linux users, and certain Linux distros specialize in this area. In this section, we’ll introduce our top two distros for pen testing: Kali Linux and ParrotOS.

Kali LinuxKali 20204 Release 1 600x400

Kali Linux is one of the most popular Linux distros among pentesters, ethical hackers and security researchers. The flexible, full-featured distro contains hundreds of pentesting tools, protects sensitive pentesting data with LUKS full-disk encryption and offers a high level of customization. Kali Linux also offers training and support through the Kali Linux Dojo training suite.

Key Features & Benefits:

  • Kali Linux uses LUKS full-disk encryption to secure sensitive pentesting data against loss, tampering and theft.
  • “Forensics” mode makes this distro perfect for forensics work.
  • Users can automate and customize their Kali Linux installations over the network.
  • This flexible distro offers full customization with live-build.
  • There’s a Kaili Linux training suite available called Kali Linux Dojo, where users can learn how to customize their own Kali ISO and learn the basics of pentesting. All of these resources are available on Kali’s website, free of charge. Kali Linux also offers a paid-for pentesting course that can be taken online, with a 24-hour certification exam. Once you pass this exam, you’re a qualified pentester!


Parrot OS is a fully-portable laboratory for pentesting, reverse engineering and digital forensics. The fast, lightweight distro is frequently updated and offers a wide array of hardening and sandboxing options. ParrotOS tools and features are designed to be compatible with the majority of devices via containerization technologies such as Docker or Podman

Key Features & Benefits:

  • ParrotOS provides pentesters and digital forensics experts with a state-of-the-art “laboratory” featuring a full suite of tools accompanied by standard privacy and security features. 
  • Applications that run on Parrot OS are fully sandboxed and protected.
  • Parrot OS is fast, lightweight and compatible with most devices.