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What is the best disto of Linux for hacking?

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Kev

Post Fri Jun 01, 2007 9:20 am

What is the best disto of Linux for hacking?

The best version of linux for hacking? Man I get this question all the time!  The official response from most high level hackers is “ it doesn’t matter, I can work with them all”.
Well that’s nice and shows a degree of skill, but it really is not helpful for someone new to the subject. 

The question remains, is there a better distro? Well, yes and no. Sorry about that,lol!  But as you spend more time in Linux you will see what I mean. 
 
Ok, perhaps there is no Distro that is better than an other, but is there one that is easier?
YES! While its true I can tweak any version of Linux to do what I want, some are more difficult than others. Installing Kismet is a good rule of thumb. That can be so easy on some versions and others it can require some experimentation.  Why is that? It has to do with how the kernel is written and a few other things added on. Fedora and Red Hat often are in there own world searching for the mainstream balance of security and stability. Red Hat used to be the choice of the hacker but not so much any more. 
 
As far as the hacker goes, anything that is easily customized and not restricted is the choice.  Distros like Gentoo for instance. Anything that is too popular is “out”.  If you go to a Hacker convention and are you asked what Distro of linux you use, don’t say Red Hat or even BackTrack, LOL!  That’s for the masses and remember hackers want to feel l33t or elite and special.
 
That being said, I would say there is one version of Linux that I would recommend for the beginner.  Its Ubuntu.  Its easy to install and most hacker programs work out of the box and there is so much community support.  So far, I found no problems. 

Why learn Linux? There are many servers out there that are linux. Most hackers use it. Many free tools are available. Its so easy to write programs for if you are into that. I still go by the idea if you want to protect your network, you must think like a Hacker.
 
Don’t make Backtrack your only installation of Linux!  I have been told that way too much by windows people. They will say " yes I know linux, I have the Backtrack live CD".  To really know linux, you must know how to install and deal with driver issues, etc..  If you do, it will repay you big time! Once you feel comfortable with it all, then go to Backtrack.  If you can use Bactrack only from the command line, that’s a good test of your basic skill.
 
As a recap, go for Ubuntu and get a good feel for it. After that, play with a few other versions just to get a feel for them. Remember that you cant consider yourself a complete hacker without knowing Linux.
Last edited by Kev on Fri Jun 01, 2007 9:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Negrita

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Post Fri Jun 01, 2007 2:51 pm

Re: What is the best disto of Linux for hacking?

Hear hear, well spoken Kev!!

BTW, I think that Knoppix is a good choice too. Most things work straight off, and there's also a huge support base out there.
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vp75

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Post Fri Jun 01, 2007 5:11 pm

Re: What is the best disto of Linux for hacking?

Hi Kev, Negrita,

Thanks a lot guys, i was wondering which one to use out of two option Knoppix & Suse linux, iam not going for knoppix version as i have ECcouncil manual with me which would help a lot i going a head.

Cheers
Vp
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jimbob

Post Fri Jun 01, 2007 5:58 pm

Re: What is the best disto of Linux for hacking?

Hi, here's my tuppence worth...

I like the reasoning that there's no 'best' Linux distro for hacking. That said I can well understand the suggestion that Ubuntu should be a serious contender for this post since it makes things easy for 95% of the Linux using population.

I used to be a big fan of Mandrake (now Mandriva) Linux for various reasons, the main one being that  OOTB most things worked. There were sufficient challenges even then to getting the most out of my system, resolving driver issues etc. to further my understanding. In my day (I'm sounding old now) Mandrake was the Ubuntu of the day.

If you like the run a tool and see what it does approach to learning then install something like Backtrack. Otherwise install a regular, stable distro and install the tools you want to try out. When you run into trouble take it as a learning experience and benefit from it. Failing at the first hurdle on;y teaches you to jump higher!

Jimbob
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oleDB

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Post Mon Jun 04, 2007 8:18 am

Re: What is the best disto of Linux for hacking?

I love how you can't say Redhat without drawing criticism. Like Redhat is Linux for Windows users. The funny thing, is the people doing the laughing really don't know anything about the Linux OS. Alas, I will never convince the masses, because its all about trendiness with Linux distro's and nothing to do with ease of use and functionality. The bottom line is that the best distro is the one your best at using.

On a side note, if I had to choose the best for hacking. It would absolutely be a personally customized LIVE CD based on knoppix. Reason being, running a live cd versus an installed image leaves less of a forensic record on the machine your using. Making it personally customized allows for you to only add the tools your gonna use, vs backtrack where you get a whole suite of tools that you might not use at all. This makes it more nimble, which is my primary reasoning for going with knoppix. Its not bloated, but its still full featured when you need it to be.
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eRiCtHyReD

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Post Thu Jun 28, 2007 11:07 am

Re: What is the best disto of Linux for hacking?

I built a Triple-Boot USB Key with Backtrack, Knoppix and MiniPE.

It's REALLY helpful to have several live distros in hand with different OS flavors.

:)
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vp75

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Post Fri Jun 29, 2007 10:23 am

Re: What is the best disto of Linux for hacking?

Hi Guys,

Just a quick question in Live CD versionof Unix flavours, when you boot thru livecd we couldnt write any shell scripts and change anything in it....(Am i right)....Then how can it be so helpful for person who learns Linux & security internals where you might need to change the configs often........Is that right! or am i missing something where you can save changes like shell scripts to it...?

Cheers
Vp75
eCPPT
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Kev

Post Fri Jun 29, 2007 7:15 pm

Re: What is the best disto of Linux for hacking?

You can write shell scripts but any changes you make are only good for that current session. Once you reboot, you have start all over again. If you want a permanent you will either have to do a hard drive install or download the ISO file to your desktop and then edit it and then burn a fresh copy.
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vp75

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Post Sat Jun 30, 2007 6:34 pm

Re: What is the best disto of Linux for hacking?

Kev wrote:You can write shell scripts but any changes you make are only good for that current session. Once you reboot, you have start all over again. If you want a permanent you will either have to do a hard drive install or download the ISO file to your desktop and then edit it and then burn a fresh copy.


Hi Kev

I didnt get  you, what do you mean by edit the ISO downloaded file....pls could you elaborate it....

Vp75
eCPPT
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Kev

Post Sat Jun 30, 2007 8:30 pm

Re: What is the best disto of Linux for hacking?

  You can download the copy of the ISO file and then open it up with your program of choice and remove or add some files. Not every kind of file allows editing like this, but its easy to insert startup scripts. Then burn the new image and hopefully you now have a custom live CD. Ultimate ISO works well for this and I think Magic ISO will also.
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cector

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Post Mon Jul 02, 2007 2:45 am

Re: What is the best disto of Linux for hacking?

can anybody upload iso image of Blacktrack Live Linux CD?
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don

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Post Mon Jul 02, 2007 11:13 am

Re: What is the best disto of Linux for hacking?

Get it here:

http://www.remote-exploit.org/backtrack_download.html

I don't know about you, but I would always prefer downloading from the source as opposed to grabbing someone else's copy on a different site.

Don
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Otter

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Post Tue Jul 03, 2007 1:20 pm

Re: What is the best disto of Linux for hacking?

Whatever works, I agree. 

I'd agree Gentoo is a safe bet to recommend with some caveats-- but don't recommend it to anyone  and give them your email address.  The learning curve is a harsh one and they'll grind your productivity to a halt with questions because it's anything but easy!  :-)  It's also a recommendation I won't give folks on anything but fast fast machines if they intend on using it as a vmware guest--all the emerge compilation can be painfully slow in a VM.  I'd also recommend a low drama window manager if they want to use one--something like fluxbox can keep painful window manager updates from heating up the house when those come out.

But as for figuring out how Linux actually works,  there's really nothing else like it, you can emerge practically any package out there, but gentoo does require care and feeding on a weekly basis, and a real commitment to learning it!
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oyle

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Post Tue Jul 03, 2007 6:47 pm

Re: What is the best disto of Linux for hacking?

Without a doubt, BackTrack. Also, DSL (Damn Small Linux) would be nice.

:D
MCP, MCP+I, MCSA, MCSE(NT4/W2K), CCNA, CCA, NWCCC, VH-PIRTS, CEH
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"hackers are like jedi, crackers are like the sith: do not fall prey to the dark side".

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JeffCT

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Post Mon Oct 15, 2007 8:51 pm

Re: What is the best disto of Linux for hacking?

The best distro is whichever you are most familiar with. I still boot up backtrack to play with tools, but since I'm most familiar with Debian I usually end up putting most the tools on there. It's not worth learning Slackware/slax just because they compiled a ton of tools. 90% of those you won't end up using regularly, but Backtrack is perfect for finding that 10% that will become your hacking toolkit.
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