I recently wrote about Kali Linux as being an ideal distribution of Linux for “hacking”, or security-related things like penetration testing or computer forensics. Well, another popular distribution is BackBox, which is also well-worth looking at!
There are some pros and cons to this. The con is that this seems to be maintained by one guy, basically. The pros though, are significant!
Wait, what is this?
BackBox Linux is a distribution of Linux based off of the very-refined Ubuntu distribution. It comes pre-packaged with “cybersecurity” tools pre-installed, just like Kali Linux – but also has some other cool features like the ability to “anonymize” your workstation before an “attack”, and other UI goodies.
If you do penetration testing or computer forensics, this is another very good option for the operating system to use. At the very least, it’s a nicer UI from which to work – as the underlying tooling and OS are pretty much the same.
Look and Feel:
One thing that is obvious right off the bat, is the look and feel of everything – the website, the logo, the UI, is all very refined. I mean, you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover – but they did put some thought and effort into that cover!
The install is very Ubuntu-like, as you might expect:
Once installed, all of the built-in tools are under the “Auditing” menu in the main menu:
and under that “Services” menu, it has nice shortcuts for start/stop/restart/status for common services – which pop open a terminal window, thusly:
another cool feature is this shortcut to turn anonymization on and off:
When you turn it on, it turns off network services, changes the MAC address of your network card, and changes your hostname, and then starts routing traffic through Tor. When you turn this off, it reverses all of that!
What can you run it on?
Since this is basically Ubuntu+security tools, it runs on what Ubuntu 14 runs on – which is basically 32 and 64 bit computers. So, no ARM support for this at the moment. So, if you want to do that botnet idea with a bunch of Raspberry Pi’s – those Pi’s would still need to run Kali Linux.
Even that isn’t horrible, because honestly the biggest way that these diverge is in the UI. At it’s core both Kali and BackBox are Debian-based. That means that any scripts you write, where config files are, etc – are all the same.
What about that Dell laptop?
As you might recall, I could install Kali on my cheapy laptop, but when I went to log into X11, the computer hangs. With BackBox, it installed fine with no issues. It recognizes the onboard WiFi, Bluetooth, and the USB 3.0 dongle with an Ethernet port AND if I plug one of those Wi-Fi dongles in.
Everything just works without issue!
Well, to me, this decision really comes down to the UI. For your “workstation”, BackBox seems significantly more refined and much more modern. Just having simple “control panel” type functionality that is found in modern-era Ubuntu is great. However, the guts; the tooling is pretty much the same as Kali. I don’t have a finite list but it looks like pretty much everything that comes bundled with Kali is bundled with BackBox.
So, if you like the security tools but don’t really like the look/feel of Kali, BackBox seems to be a pretty great alternative.