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Best Operating System (OS) for Ethical Hacking

05th Sep, 2023
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    Best Operating System (OS) for Ethical Hacking

    To exploit the vulnerabilities so they can then be repaired, ethical hacking identifies weaknesses in computer systems or networks. Hackers exploit a range of methodologies to identify dangers and eventually enhance safety. They can break into networks or computers using Linux-based operating systems. To stop cybersecurity threats, there are various applications. The field of hacking, which was present in computing for more than 50 years, is highly broad and includes a wide range of activities.

    In the modern cyber world, several diverse attacks take place per hour and therefore are carried out by expert hackers, and attackers. A hacking operating system is the most fundamental tool needed by any hacker. The Linux kernel typically serves as the foundation for operating systems that specialize in hacking. These operating systems are cutting-edge functioning systems because they come with several ethical hacking and penetration testing capabilities.

    What is Ethical Hacking? 

    In revealing potential data breaches and network risks, ethical hacking is a legitimate method that involves finding flaws in an application, system, or organization's infrastructure and getting beyond system security. In order to find vulnerabilities that harmful hackers can exploit or eliminate, ethical hackers search the system or network. It may secure the data to wedge attacks or neutralize them.

    In addition to assessing the system's defences, the enterprise that controls the system or network permits Cyber Security professionals to carry out such actions. Therefore, this process is planned, approved, and—more importantly—legal, in contrast to malicious hacking.

    Of course, there are many different factors to consider in this precise and frequently lengthy system. An ethical hacker also referred to as a white-hat hacker will search for vulnerabilities using a variety of techniques. Additionally, they will carry out several other activities related to general cyber security. This may consist of: 

    • identifying weaknesses 
    • Testing for penetration 
    • collecting information regarding entry points 
    • infrastructures being scanned for weaknesses 
    • exploiting flaws to gain access to systems and networks 
    • concealing their presence and avoiding detection 
    • putting together analyses and reports for the attempts 

    Seems interesting? Get to know more about the Ethical Hacking course.  

    What are the Key Concepts of Ethical Hacking?

    Four fundamental protocol principles followed by hackers are: 

    Be lawful:  Before entering and conducting a security evaluation, get the necessary approval.

    Establish the scope:  Establish the assessment's parameters to ensure that the ethical hacker's work is legal and within the organization's permitted restrictions. 

    Inform about vulnerabilities:  All vulnerabilities found even during evaluation should be reported to the organization. Give suggestions for repairing these vulnerabilities. 

    Be sensitive to data:  Cybersecurity professionals may need to accept a non-disclosure agreement in addition to other terms and conditions requested by the evaluated firm, depending on how sensitive the data is. 

    Top 12+ Operating Systems (OS) for Ethical Hackers

    1. Kali Linux

    It is the most widely used ethical hacking OS. It is a Debian-based Linux - based operating system developed for penetration testing and digital forensics. It is financed and maintained by Offensive Security Ltd. The greatest and most widely used operating system for hackers is Kali Linux. It includes the first Nexus device open-source Android penetration test. The forensic mode is another excellent feature of the Kali Linux operating system. 


    • Testing for penetration is possible. 
    • Both a 32-bit and 64-bit version of this platform is available. 
    • Kali Linux can be updated. 
    • This OS supports complete disc encryption. 
    • The network-based Kali Linux installation can be easily automated and customized. 
    • Support for live USB installations. 
    • Forensic work can be done using its forensics mode. 

    System Requirements: 

    • 2 GB of RAM 
    • 20 GB of disk space 
    • 32- or 64-bit CPU (single-core) with 2 GHz speed or better 
    • High-definition graphics card and monitor 
    • Broadband internet connection 

    2. Parrot Security OS

    To give ethical hackers the best-in-class experience of penetration and security testing in real-world systems, Parrot Security OS is built on Debian GNU/Linux and integrated with the Frozen box OS and Kali Linux. Additionally, the Frozen box team intends to use it to offer vulnerability evaluation and mitigation, computer forensics, and anonymous Web browsing. 

    Kali repositories are used by Parrot Security OS for a variety of package updates and to include new tools. 


    • It is offered as resource-constrained, lightweight software. 
    • The source code is available for reading and modification. 
    • Offers assistance from professionals to aid you with cybersecurity. 
    • The distributed infrastructure of this hacker OS includes dedicated CDNs (Content Distribution Network). 
    • This operating system can be shared with others. 

    System Requirements: 

    • There is no need for graphic acceleration. 
    • RAM must be at least 320MB. 
    • It needs a dual-core CPU running at least at 1GHz. 
    • It can boot in legacy and UEFI modes as well 
    • The operating system installation requires at least 16GB of hard disc space. 

    3. DEFT Linux 

    Digital Evidence and Forensic Toolkit, or DEFT, is an open-source Linux distribution. It is constructed around the DART (Digital Advanced Response Toolkit) software and is based on Ubuntu. It includes numerous well-known forensic tools and files that are useful to ethical hackers, penetration testers, IT security experts, and other people. 


    • It is based on the Lubuntu system and includes free penetration testing and digital forensics software. 
    • Complete support for logical acquisitions in iOS 7.1, Android, and Bitlocker-encrypted drives. 
    • Digital Forensics Framework 1.3 

    System Requirements: 

    • A 200 MHz X86 CPU and 128 MB of RAM are the minimal requirements. 
    • Since DEFT Zero is a Live MODE edition and is based on Lubuntu, it takes a unique approach. 

    4. Samurai Web Testing Framework

    Samurai Web Testing Framework is essentially a live Linux system that is already set up to function as a platform for web pen-testing. The framework includes a variety of open source and free hacking tools for finding weaknesses in websites. For web penetration testing, it is frequently referred to be the ideal operating system. 


    • Samurai Web Testing Framework is an open-source project that focuses on exploiting websites. 
    • It has already been set up for web pen-testing. 
    • Features that can be used to target the website for the attack. 
    • It includes tools like WebScarab (a tool for evaluating web security applications) and ratproxy (a program for running a web proxy server). 

    System Requirements: 

    • 2 GB of RAM 
    • 20 GB of disk space 
    • 32 or 64-bit CPU (single core) with 2 GHz speed or better 

    5. NodeZero Linux

    NodeZero is a free and open-source Linux distribution for penetration testing that uses the Ubuntu repositories for updates. It includes a collection of fundamental services that are necessary for performing a variety of tasks, together with more than 300 penetration testing tools. The dual-arch live DVD ISO image of the Linux distribution, which supports both 32-bit and 64-bit computing architectures, is available for download. 


    • System memory diagnostic tests 
    • Hard disk booting 
    • Install direct 
    • Safe mode booting 
    • Text-mode or debug mode 

    System Requirements: 

    • 2 CPU (physical or virtual) 
    • 8GB RAM 
    • 20 GB free HDD space 

    6. Linux Kodachi 

    Based on Ubuntu 18.04.6, the Linux Kodachi operating system will give you a private, non-forensic, and anonymous operating system that includes all the characteristics that someone who cares about privacy would need to be secure. 

    Kodachi is incredibly simple to use; all you need to do is boot it up on your computer using a USB drive, at which point you should have a fully functional operating system with established VPN and Tor connections as well as an active DNScrypt service.  


    • Automatic connection to a VPN (all network traffic) 
    • Automatic connection to the Tor network (browser traffic) 
    • Automatic DNS encryption 

    System Requirements: 

    • 2 CPU (physical or virtual) 
    • 8GB RAM 
    • 20 GB free HDD space 

    7. Blackarch Linux

    It is an Arch Linux-based best distro for hacking and for penetration testers and security researchers. It is regarded as the best OS for hacking distribution for security researchers to use to undertake application-based and web security testing because it comes with over 1,600 tools. It is a serious rival to Kali Linux and Backbox in terms of tool diversity and usability. 


    • Several window managers in a live ISO. Blackarch gets out of the way so users can complete their tasks without interruptions 
    • Different architectures are supported 
    • An installer that supports source-based construction 
    • More than 1800 tools 
    • Install the packages one at a time or in groups 

    System Requirements: 

    • 2Ghz Quad-Core Processor. 
    • 6 GB Random Access Memory (RAM) 
    • 50 GB Disk Space. 
    • High-definition graphics card. 

    8. Network Security Toolkit (NST) 

    On both 32-bit and 64-bit platforms, the Network Security Toolkit Linux distribution is based on Fedora. The goal of this bootable live CD was to give you access to the top open-source network security tools for penetration testing. This user-friendly hacking distribution turns x86 PCs through an ethical hacking tool that may be used for network traffic sniffing, intrusion detection, network packet creation, network/host scanning, etc. 


    • Multi-Tap Network Packet Capture 
    • Web-Based Network Security Tools Management 
    • Host/IPv4 Address Geolocation 
    • Network/System Monitoring 
    • Network Intrusion Detection 
    • Network Interface Bandwidth Monitor 
    • Web-based Snort IDS Integration 
    • Active Connections Monitor 

    System Requirements: 

    • A i686 or x86_64 compatible CPU (Core 2 series or later) 
    • At least 512MB of RAM (we recommend at least 1024MB if you want to use a graphical desktop) 
    • A DVD drive and BIOS capable of booting from a DVD  
    • A supported Ethernet (NIC) Adapter or WIFI card 

    9. BugTraq

    For in-depth analysis and notification of software security vulnerabilities, BugTraq is a clarification mailing list. The foundation of the global security community on the Internet is BugTraq. It is the best OS for penetration testing. 


    • A wide range of pentesting tools are available on Bugtraq, including mobile forensic tools, virus testing labs, tools created by the Bugtraq-Community 
    • audit tools for GSM,WIFI, Bluetooth, and RFID 
    • integrated Windows tools 
    • ipv6-focused tools, and standard forensics and pentesting tools.4 

    System Requirements: 

    • 1GHz x86 processor. 
    • 512 MB of system memory (RAM) 
    • 15 GB of disk space for installation. 
    • Graphics card capable of 800x600 resolution. 
    • DVD-ROM drive or USB port. 

    10. Cyborg Hawk Linux

    The most sophisticated, potent, and still stunning penetration testing distribution ever made. lined up with the best tools for professional ethical hackers and cyber security specialists

    Utilize Cyborg to streamline security throughout your IT infrastructure. It is true power stems from the knowledge that a tester needs a powerful and effective system, one that gains from a robust variety of tools and is combined with a stable Linux environment. 


    • Includes over 750 penetration testing tools 
    • Cyborg Hawk is and always will be completely free 
    • Has the capacity to be utilised as a live operating system 
    • Mobile Security, Wireless Security, Forensics, Stress Testing, Reverse Engineering, and Exploitation Toolkit 
    • Full support for virtual machines. Version 1.1 
    • It now has a repository of its own 
    • Stable and dependable 
    • Support for a range of wireless devices 
    • Everything is in its proper position and the menu is well organised 
    • An injected kernel that was patched 

    System Requirements: 

    • Memory: 4 GB. 
    • Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce 510. 
    • CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400. 

    11. Live hacking OS

    Several tools and programmes enabling ethical hacking, penetration testing, and mitigation verification are included in the Linux distribution Live Hacking. 

    This "Live DVD" for Ubuntu runs directly off the DVD without requiring it to be installed on the hard drive. Again, when the system has booted, you may use the included tools to test, verify, ethically hack, and carry out penetration testing under your own system to make sure it is protected from external intrusions. 


    • There are two variations of it.  
    • The first is a command-line operating system with quick setup and minimal hardware needs. 
    • The GNOME desktop environment is included in the second edition to provide a more graphical user interface. 

    System Requirements: 

    • A fast Pentium 3 or any Pentium 4 class processor. 
    • For the desktop version 512MB of memory is required with 1GB recommended.  
    • For the command line version just 128MB of memory is needed. 

    12. BackBox Linux 

    BackBox is a Free Open-Source Community Project that aims to improve and secure the IT environment by fostering a culture of security. It is more than just an operating system for ethical hacking. All of this while utilizing only Free Open-Source Software, showcasing the Community's strength and promise. 


    • It aids in tasks like vulnerability analysis and computer forensics. 
    • Design carefully to eliminate duplication. 
    • It uses the fewest resources possible from your machine. 
    • This hacker operating system offers a user-friendly desktop setting. 
    • allows you to practise attacking a network or application. 
    • It provides both speed and stability. 

    System Requirements: 

    • A 32-bit or 64-bit processor. 
    • 512 MB of system memory RAM (256 MB in case there will be no desktop manager usage and only the console) 
    • 4.4 GB of disk space for installation. 

    13. Pentoo

    Pentoo is a Live CD and Live USB created for security analysis and penetration testing. Pentoo Linux, which is based on Gentoo Linux, is offered as a 32- and 64-bit installable liveCD. 


    • Both 32-bit and 64-bit versions are accessible 
    • Wi-Fi drivers with packet injection patches 
    • Support for secure boot is included in full UEFI 
    • CUDA/OpenCL program for enhanced cracking 
    • Kernel 4.17.4 with all necessary injection patches 
    • several tools for hacking and pentesting 

    System Requirements 

    • 1GHz x86 processor. 
    • 512 MB of system memory (RAM) 
    • 15 GB of disk space for installation 
    • Graphics card capable of 800x600 resolution 
    • DVD-ROM drive or USB port 

    14. Blackbuntu

    Specifically created for information security professionals and students, the penetration testing distribution is based on Ubuntu. 


    • It is built using Gnome 2.32.0, Linux 2.6.39, and Ubuntu 10.10. 
    • Only systems with the 64-bit (x86 64) instruction set architecture can run BlackBuntu. 

    System Requirements: 

    • 1GHz x86 processor 
    • 768 MB of system memory (RAM) 
    • 10 GB of disk space for installation 
    • Graphics card capable of 800×600 resolution 
    • DVD-ROM drive or USB port 

    The Preferred Operating Systems of Professional Hackers?

    According to claims of high-risk hacking, some hackers use Microsoft Windows to remain undetected. Since Windows is a popular target for hackers, they must employ Windows-only environments in order to use Windows-based malware, the.NET framework, Trojans, or viruses. Hackers create a lightweight bootable ghost image that cannot be traced back to them using inexpensive disposable laptops that buy off Craigslist. These computers include unique SD card and USB ports that, if necessary, are simple to trash, bury, or even ingest. 

    Several attackers go above and above by adding additional readable storage for operating system read-only divisions and restricted persistent local storage. Some, the worried kind, go even further and include a hotkey panic button for instant RAM cleaning. 

    A compact, encoded SD card is produced with the bootable OS ghost image. The laptop burner is then methodically separated and discarded. The physical destruction of the RAM, hard drive, and network card is given particular care by the hackers. Such computers are occasionally destroyed with a blowtorch or a sledgehammer. 

    Ethical Hacker Skills and Certifications

    Broad computer expertise is necessary for an ethical hacker. They frequently specialize in one aspect of the ethical hacking field, becoming subject matter experts (SME) 

    All ethical hackers need to possess: 

    • proficiency with scripting languages. 
    • expertise with operating systems. 
    • profound understanding of networking 
    • strong basis in information security principles. 

    The cyber security certification   has focused on the latest security threats and advanced attack vectors with a practical real-time demonstration of the new hacking techniques. This will boost your career and help you change the meaning of hacking for the world!  

    The following are some of the most well-known and obtained certifications: 

    1. EC-Council CEH

    The EC-Certified Council's Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification is the first suggestion and possibly the well choice in today's market. 

    Students learn about current hacking methods, exploits, security trends, possible attacks, and how to use professional tools to compromise systems in CEHv11 successfully. 

    2. Offensive Security Pen 200 (OSCP)

    The foundational training for utilizing the Kali best Linux OS for hacking offered by Offensive Security is called Penetration Testing with Kali Linux (PEN-200). 

    The user's emphasis is on practical learning instead of merely lectures and academic study, and its "Try Harder" campaign promotes both critical thinking and problem-solving. 

    You'll need a firm foundation in network theory, and knowledge with Windows, Linux, and Bash/Python will be helpful. 

    3. GIAC Penetration tester

    Another certification offered in the area of ethical hacking is SANS GPEN. The most well-known certification offered by the SysAdmin, Networking, and Security (SANS) institute is the GIAC Penetration Tester (GPEN).  

    It mostly discusses in-depth technical techniques for verifying from reporting and scoping onward. Attacking password hashes, sophisticated password attacks, initial target scanning, exploitation basics, pen-testing fundamentals, vulnerability scanning, moving files with exploits, reconnaissance, and web application attacks are the main GPEN learning objectives. 

    4. SEC542: Web App Penetration Testing and Ethical Hacking

    SEC542, which emphasizes on testing and ethical hacking of enterprise online applications, is an additional choice from the SANS Institute to take into account. 

    The main objectives of SEC542 are to teach participants how to identify web explanation vulnerabilities, how to exploit them, and what tools and strategies attackers can employ to infiltrate this kind of software. 

    5. CREST

    The CREST certification exams and programs are widely recognized in numerous nations. The UK, Europe, Asia, and Australia are some of these nations. This exam aids in recognizing and instructing qualified pen testers. This non-profit organization serves the needs of a technical information security market that calls for the assistance of a controlled and organized services sector.  

    Within the international technical cyber security sector, CREST supports the development of high-quality expertise, competence, and reliability. 

    Looking to boost your ITIL knowledge? Join our unique and engaging ITIL Foundation Classes! Discover the secrets of IT service management in a catchy and concise way. Don't miss out on this opportunity to enhance your skills. Enroll now!


    It's intriguing to explore the area of ethical hacking and penetration testing. There has never been a better time to master ethical hacking for people who are interested in this area of computer security. As the cost of cyberattacks rises, there will undoubtedly be an increase in demand for people with these talents. Jobs in ethical hacking can pay well and provide job security. 

    The shades of ethical hacking range from black to white to grey. Black hackers use their skills for malevolent purposes, while white hackers use it for good. One of the most sought-after skills for any IT security specialist is ethical hacking, which is the primary means of bolstering network security. Additionally, white hackers practise ethical hacking by determining whether a network is weak, exposed, or open to outside assault. 

    The  KnowledgeHut’s Ethical Hacking course  has focused on the latest security threats and advanced attack vectors with a practical real-time demonstration of the new hacking techniques. 

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1Is Parrot OS better than Kali?

    Parrot OS is superior because it provides tools and an interface that are simple enough for beginners to utilise. However, both Parrot OS and Kali Linux offer a variety of tools that students can employ. 

    2What operating system do most hackers use?

    Linux is the best operating system for hackers. This is due to two key factors. As an open-source operating system, Linux's source code is first and foremost freely accessible. 

    3Do hackers use VPN? 

    At least not when it comes to hacking, hackers don't really use VPNs. They should not be utilised for anonymity because it is far too simple to identify them. 

    4What is Kali Linux used for?

    An open-source, Debian-based Linux system called Kali Linux is designed for different information activities like computer forensics, reverse engineering, and penetration testing.  

    5Can I hack without Linux? 

    I frequently observe this widespread misunderstanding. Many people believe Kali Linux is necessary for all hacking activities. Regardless of the OS or distribution a user uses, anyone with solid networking and system security skills can break into a system.


    Ishan Jain

    Blog Author

    I am a Full Stack developer from Jaipur. I also work as a Javascript Tutor in my free time. Along with project development, I also write tech blogs.

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