Linux Distribution Reviews Security

5 Best Linux Offensive Security Distributions

This is not a tutorial but a brief review on the most popular Linux distributions oriented to (offensive) IT security. These systems are linux distributions in their own right, but they are not targeted at general purpose users, they are targeted at security professionals doing security jobs.

Kali Linux

Kali Linux is the most popular Linux distribution for pen testing or hacking. Based on Debian it comes as continuation of BackTrack Linux, the revolutionary hacking distribution which allows non expert users to carry out complex security tasks. It’s biggest advantage is being the most propagated hacking distribution which means the most supported one.

Kali includes hundreds of tools becoming a perfect distribution to test security tools in contrast with distributions with limited tools for the same task, Kali Linux offers multiple alternatives to carry out the same task just as multiple vulnerability scanners, a variety of brute force tools, social engineering tools and more. Kali can be used as live cd/usb or installed.

Official website:

BackBox Linux

An Ubuntu based distribution gaining more users within the IT Security field. It is small compared to Kali’s tools suite, with about 70 tools BackBox does not repeat tools for the same function. It only accepts Open Source tools. For a tool to be included in BackBox it’s developers must assure it’s continuity and guarantee updates.

BackBox users enjoy great communication with developers and can get support through Telegram. Among it’s over 70 tools BackBox includes Metasploit, Nmap, OpenVAS, Ettercap, Scapy, Aircrack, Sqlmap, John The Ripper and more.

Official website:

BlackArch Linux

For ArchLinux users BlackArch comes with over 2100 security tools, probably the security distribution with more software, it gets updated several times per year. BlackArch is a more friendly hacking distribution to ArchLinux than Kali. Maybe the best feature to ArchLinux users is you can add BlackArch to an existing ArchLinux Installation by running:

curl -O
chmod +x
sudo ./
sudo pacman -Sgg | grep blackarch | cut -d' ' -f2 | sort -u
sudo pacman -S blackarch
sudo pacman -S blackarch-
sudo pacman -Sg | grep blackarch

You can also install BlackArch on a virtual device following the steps in this tutorial.

Official website:

Parrot Security OS

Another Security oriented distribution based on Debian. Parrot Security OS, previously analyzed on LinuxHint  contains a considerable arsenal of hacking tools. Parrot OS offers secure versions both for pen testers and regular users looking for strong privacy.

Parrot Security OS was launched in 2013 and is still well updated and preferred over Kali by many due it’s low hardware requirements. Parrot Security OS performance is better than Kali’s (Subject to opinion). For daily use Parrot offers more security than Kali, making easy encrypting files and browsing safely while Kali is mainly offensive.

Official website:

Samurai Web Testing Framework

A pre built virtual machine compatible with VirtualBox and VMware. It’s distribution is Ubuntu based and focused on web application vulnerabilities. It’s hacking suite includes Fierce Domain Scanner and Maltego, WebScarab, ratproxy, W3af, Burp, BeEF, AJAXShell and more including a lot of firefox addons. Despite the good reviews by it’s users it occupies the last place in this list because doesn’t get updated since 2016.Official website:

I hope you found this article informative and useful to get a brief description on each of these security distributions. Keep following LinuxHint for more tips and updates on Linux.

About the author

Ivan Vanney

Ivan Vanney

Ivan Vanney has over 2 years as writer for LinuxHint, he is co-founder of the freelance services marketplace where he works as a sysadmin.