Kali Linux Comes to Windows

Mar 06, 2018

The Kali Linux developers even managed to run full blown XFCE desktop via WSL.

Kali Linux, a penetration testing distro that you may have seen in Mr. Robot, is now available in Windows Store. The Kali Linux team has been working with the Microsoft WSL team to bring the distro to the platform that still dominates the PC landscape. By doing so, Kali has brought some of the best penetration testing tools to the biggest PC user-base.

“This is especially exciting news for penetration testers and security professionals who have limited toolsets due to enterprise compliance standards,” wrote Mati Aharoni, lead Kali developer, in a blog post.

At the end of last year, Microsoft took WSL out of beta, making it available for every Windows 10 user for the latest Fall Creators Update. Users can simply go to Windows Store and install their preferred Linux distro just like any other app. Initially only Ubuntu, openSUSE Leap and SUSE Linux Enterprise were available, but the WSL team is working with different distros to bring them to the store.

Officially on command line Linux utilities are available through WSL, as the target audience is developers and sysadmins who want to write or deploy applications for Linux machines running on Cloud. That didn’t stop the Linux community from running GUI applications through WSL. In fact, even the Kali Linux team managed to run full blown XFCE desktop.

Running Linux distros under WSL has its own shortcomings. Your system is as secure as is Windows 10. However, the Kali Linux team sees some great possibilities too, “While running Kali on Windows has a few drawbacks to running it natively (such as the lack of raw socket support), it does bring in some very interesting possibilities, such as extending your security toolkit to include a whole bunch of command line tools that are present in Kali.”

Being able to run Linux inside of Windows 10 gives developers native access to tools from both worlds.

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