Kali Linux is an open source OS which is maintained by Offensive Security. In addition to Kali Linux, Offensive Security also maintains the Exploit Database and the free online course, Metasploit Unleashed. Kali Linux is preinstalled with over 600 penetration-testing programs, including nmap (a port scanner), Wireshark (a packet analyzer), John the Ripper (a password cracker), etc.

Mati Aharoni (muts) is the lead Kali developer, trainer and founder of Offensive Security. With over 10 years of experience as a professional penetration tester, Mati has uncovered several major security flaws and is actively involved in the offensive security arena.

Kali Linux is distributed in 32-bit and 64-bit images for use on hosts based on the x86 instruction set and as an image for the ARM architecture for use on the Beagle Board computer and on Samsung’s ARM Chromebook. The development tree is available for those who wish to tweak and rebuild packages. The official core of the Kali Linux is developed only by a small number of trusted people that are allowed to commit packages, with each package being signed by the developer. Kali Linux is available immediately for download from http://www.kali.org/downloads/.

Kali Linux 2019.1

Offensive Security has released Kali Linux 2019.1, the first 2019 version of its OS for cyber security experts. The latest version includes kernel up to version 4.19.13 and patches for bugs, along with many software updates. You can download the latest version straight away from here. Or if you are already using older version of the OS, you could simply run this command:

apt update && apt -y full-upgrade

Ensuring your OS is Updated:

cat /etc/apt/sources.list
deb http://http.kali.org/kali kali-rolling main non-free contrib

After running ‘apt -y full-upgrade’, you may require a ‘reboot’ before checking:

grep VERSION /etc/os-release
VERSION="2019.1"
VERSION_ID="2019.1"

uname -a
Linux kali 4.19.0-kali1-amd64 #1 SMP Debian 4.19.13-1kali1 (2019-01-03) x86_64 GNU/Linux

The biggest update of this release is the update of Metasploit to version 5.0, which is their first major release since version 4.0 that came out in 2011. Kali Linux has also added support for Banana Pi and Banana Pro again in it’s latest version that are on kernel 4.19.

“Veyron has been moved to a 4.19 kernel, and the Raspberry Pi images have been simplified, so it is easier to figure out which one to use,” Kali Linux project maintainers says in their official release announcement.

Features of Kali Linux

Below are some features which you’ll experience after Kali Linux free download.

  • Open source operating system.
  • Comprehensive platform for penetration test.
  • Includes more than 300 penetration testing tools.
  • Available in 32 bit and 64 bit.
  • Highly customizable program.
  • Multilingual application.
  • Includes default applications like VLC Player, Iceweasel Web browser, Empathy IM client etc.
  • Great emphasis on security.

Requirements

  • Kali Linux requires a minimum of 1GB hard disk space for installation.
  • A minimum of 512MB RAM for i386 and AMD64 architectures.
  • A bootable CD-DVD drive or a USB stick.

Tools

Kali Linux includes security tools, such as:

  • Aircrack-ng – Aircrack-ng is a complete suite of tools to assess WiFi network security.
  • Armitage – Armitage makes penetration testing easy by adding a GUI to the Metasploit framework.
  • Burp suite – PortSwigger offers Burp Suite for security testing & scanning.
  • Cisco Global Exploiter – Cisco Global Exploiter (CGE), is an advanced, simple and fast security testing tool.
  • Ettercap – Ettercap is a comprehensive suite for man in the middle attacks.
  • John the Ripper – John the Ripper is free and Open Source software, distributed primarily in source code form.
  • Kismet – Kismet is a wireless network and device detector, sniffer, wardriving tool, and WIDS (wireless intrusion detection) framework.
  • Maltego – Maltego is an interactive data mining tool that renders directed graphs for link analysis.
  • Metasploit framework – Metasploit Framework, the Metasploit Project’s best-known creation, is a software platform for developing, testing, and executing exploits.
  • Nmap – Nmap Free Security Scanner, Port Scanner, & Network Exploration Tool.
  • OWASP ZAP – OWASP ZAP is an open-source web application security scanner. It is intended to be used by both those new to application security as well as professionals.
  • Social engineering tools – A social engineering toolkit helps address the human element aspect of penetration testing.
  • Wireshark – Wireshark is the world’s foremost and widely-used network protocol analyzer.
  • Hydra – HYDRA by MPDV is an on-premise and cloud-based Manufacturing Execution System (MES) suitable for small, midsize and large businesses.
  • …and many more!

Download Kali Linux

Kali Linux image files are generated every few months so it is better if you download it from their official website. This article provides links to Kali Linux in its latest release which at the time of writing this is “2019.1”. For a release history, check out Kali Linux Releases page.

Image NameDownloadSizeVersion
Kali Linux Light 64 BitHTTP | Torrent931M2019.1
Kali Linux Light ArmhfHTTP | Torrent682M2019.1
Kali Linux Light 32 BitHTTP | Torrent929M2019.1
Kali Linux 64 BitHTTP | Torrent3.2G2019.1
Kali Linux 32 BitHTTP | Torrent3.3G2019.1
Kali Linux Mate 64 BitHTTP | Torrent3.1G2019.1
Kali Linux Kde 64 BitHTTP | Torrent3.5G2019.1
Kali Linux Xfce 64 BitHTTP | Torrent3.0G2019.1
Kali Linux E17 64 BitHTTP | Torrent3.0G2019.1
Kali Linux Lxde 64 BitHTTP | Torrent3.0G2019.1

Download ARM images

Offensive Security have generated alternate flavors of Kali using the same build infrastructure as the official Kali releases. Download links for the ARM architecture Kali images can be found on the Official Offensive Security Kali Linux ARM Images page.