Comparing Operating Systems for Pen Testing

Hello everyone, today we will overview some pen testing operating systems and try to find which one is best.

#1 Kali Linux
It is one of the top hacking operating systems and comes with more than 600 preconfigured penetration-testing programs. Both Windows and Mac OS support this OS. It is available in both x64 and x32 bits and supports USB booting as well as Virtualbox.

#2 Parrot OS
Parrot OS is a hacking platform. A user-friendly editor is available for program development. You can browse the web safely and discreetly with this platform. Parrot OS can be used by hackers for a variety of tasks, including vulnerability analysis, penetration testing, computer forensics, and more. It also uses tor nodes for added security as well as being extremely lightweight.

#3 Black Arch
BlackArch is a free Linux-based platform that includes a large selection of tools for networking, automation, and other areas. It is an operating system that is open-source and was made specifically for security analysts and penetration testers. I use this distro because of its large selection of tools that rival that of Kali Linux.

#4 CAINE Linux
A distro called CAINE, which runs out of Ubuntu, offers a full forensic environment with a graphical user interface. This operating system can be added as a module to already installed software applications. One of the better-operating systems for digital forensics is this one since it automatically pulls a timeline out of RAM. Another cool thing is that it has a variety of advanced tools, but also has a friendly UI.

This is my list of the best security distros. If you are in the process of choosing a pen testing os or looking to get a new one I hope this helps.



I liked Kali 'till 2019.3. After that it had many issues.
Parrot I like because it’s very stable.
I love Arch!!! But the big selection of tools can be confusing. So I build my own just with the tools I like. :wink:
But you can also check out Cyborg Linux CYBORG HAWK LINUX - Based on Ubuntu.
or CSI Linux CSI Linux: Linux-Based Operating System - HackerSploit Forum - A Community Of Hackers & Security Professionals


black arch is best. i hate kali linux


Genuine question: Do you all actually enjoy getting pre setup OSs for hacking?
Asking because I used to go for Kali (out of lazyness, not necessarily because I could pinpoint any benefits) but sort of drop it eventually as I gained more knowledge in favour of setting up things the day I wanted. Also realised most of the time I pretty much just needed a proxy / curl lol

happy to hear your thoughts


Personally, I do enjoy it a lot. I cannot say the same for other people though.


windows forever!!!

I use Ubuntu and install whatever I need. 600 tools means nothing for a new user if they don’t know what tool to use.

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First I used kali linux, then parrot and then when I understood the basic working of linux i switched to Arch Linux. I enjoyed a lot the instalation and configuration process, I use Qtile and it’s pretty efficient in terms of workflow. Takes so time to adapt, but personally i find it very cool! Also pacman feels pretty easy to use, u can update all in one command.

Anyone used Demon Distribution before?

I cannot say I have. What is it used for?

Thank you pal. Saved me a lot of time.

BLACKARCH! Well, I’m not talking about the official ISO, the desktop environment doesn’t satisfy everyone and the tool set is so large. Under Arch Linux, you can easily add the blackarch repo info pacman config file, than install whatever you NEED without any dependency issues. It is flexible and fast.

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Just build your own!

BSD = the grandaddy :older_man: nothing else… If I need Linux only tool I just do a jail/bhyve/vmmd, check the ports or use the linux compatibility build in most of them. :shushing_face: best of both worlds.

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Do you guys have heard of PopOS ?
JK I use Arch btw and made the pentesting lab that really suits me.
(Yes I daily use the word ‘bloat’, how did you guess ?)

I use kali and parrot for class and hack the box. Kali seems better for most things and overall pretty good, but every now and then there are some tasks i find parrot is just better for.

Often times tho if i find i do a specific thing frequently, or am working on something relatively long term ill just make a dedicated ubuntu vm for it.

I can recommend SecBSD, which is a community driven and security focused os based on OpenBSD.

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When it comes to performing penetration testing (pen testing), the choice of operating system can have a significant impact on the effectiveness and efficiency of the test. Here’s a comparison of some of the most popular operating systems used for pen testing:

  1. Kali Linux: Kali Linux is a popular operating system specifically designed for pen testing. It comes pre-installed with a wide range of tools, making it a convenient option for penetration testers. Kali Linux also has excellent documentation and a large community of users, which can be helpful for troubleshooting and support.
  2. Parrot Security OS: Parrot Security OS is another popular operating system for pen testing. Like Kali Linux, it comes pre-installed with a range of tools for pen testing, but also includes additional features like anonymous browsing, cryptography tools, and digital forensics tools.
  3. BlackArch Linux: BlackArch Linux is a lightweight operating system based on Arch Linux that is optimized for pen testing. It has a relatively small number of pre-installed tools compared to Kali Linux and Parrot Security OS, but the tools it does include are carefully selected and well-maintained.
  4. BackBox Linux: BackBox Linux is an Ubuntu-based operating system that includes a range of pen testing tools. It has a user-friendly interface and is relatively easy to install and use.
  5. Pentoo: Pentoo is a Gentoo-based operating system that is optimized for pen testing. It includes a range of security and forensics tools, as well as a customizable kernel and support for multiple processors.

I can’t Ever get kali to run right on my burner mac system

I like to daul boot Qubes and BackBox as my mobile pen-testing setup. I have a seething hate for Kali, seeing as it once bricked one of my thinkpads :frowning: .