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Kali Linux Tutorial – A Complete Beginners Guide

Kali Linux is an open-source operating system that is available almost everywhere around us. It’s one of the top 5 most popular OS that can be installed on laptops, computers, servers, micro-computers like Raspberry Pi, Android devices, and more.

Linux is used by many companies like IBM, Oracle, Redhat, Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Samsung as it’s the most secure and highly customizable. This means you can easily deploy it on various platforms and manage them efficiently.

This Kali Linux tutorial for beginners covers the basic concepts of Linux operating systems, how to use Kali linux, and the best Kali Linux tools list is used to perform penetration testing, system scanning, and other operations related to cybersecurity. We will also discuss some basic Kali Linux commands that you should be aware of.

A Brief History of Kali Linux

Invented by Mati Aharoni and Devon Kearns, Kali Linux was released in March 2013 with the base OS Debian Wheezy. However, the story dates back to 2004 when a project named Whoppix, a live penetration testing CD stood upon Knoppix.

Followed by that, different versions of the OS were released while changing its name from Whoppix to WHAX v3, Backtrack v1, BackTrack Pwnsauce, and BackTrack Revolution with the base OS changed to Ubuntu.

Finally, with enough experience and knowledge gained in the journey, Debian stable was used as the engine and Kali Linux was released in the year 2013.

New versions of Linux with additional features were released until Kali Linux became a rolling OS and moved to Debian testing in January 2016.

Since then, developers and Cyber Security professionals are continuously adding new features to the OS, making it more advanced.

Check out the video on Kali Linux for beginners:

What is Kali Linux?

Also known as BackTrack Linux, it’s a Debian-based security distribution in Linux especially designed to perform ethical hacking operations such as penetration testing, computer forensics, advanced scanning, reverse engineering, and security auditing. It features hundreds of pre-installed tools that make it the best choice for ethical hackers and tech enthusiasts who want to perform security testing.

Linux is a multi-platform solution for both cybersecurity professionals and tech enthusiasts that provide all the necessary tools required to automate the tasks that would otherwise be very difficult to perform manually.

For example, while performing penetration testing or hacking, you might have to apply different combinations with thousands of values to penetrate the system. These tasks cannot be performed manually, instead, you require some tools to automate the tasks. Such tools not only save your time and effort but also produce the desired results by collecting accurate results.

There are two major components of Kali Linux:

Check out the Linux interview questions if you’re preparing for a job interview or just want to learn more about it.

Who Uses Kali Linux?

Following are the professionals who utilize Kali Linux to perform various operations and describe the best use of Kali Linux:

Now that you’ve understood what Kali Linux is, and for what it’s used by people from different professions, let’s install the operating system and learn the Kali Linux basic commands.


Anyone with the knowledge of computer fundamentals can start learning Kali Linux. For installation, your system must fulfill the following requirements:

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Methods of Installing Kali Linux

There are mainly four methods to install or how to use the Kali Linux operating system on your device:

Now, Linux provides pre-configured OS images that support most known virtual machines like Hyper-V, Oracle, Citrix, VMware, VirtualBox, etc. Running Linux on a virtual machine is the best way of using it if you want to clear Kali Linux basics or just want to explore the Kali Linux commands.

Now, let’s move on to the next part and install Kali Linux using VirtualBox. The process of how to install Kali Linux on VMware is almost the same as VirtualBox. So, we’ll not be showing the process for both.

Take our Ethical Hacking Course to learn how to protect your networks, test different systems, and start a career as a White hat hacker.

How to Install Kali Linux in VirtualBox

Below is the guide to install and learn Kali Linux step-by-step using a VirtualBox:

Basic Commands in Kali Linux

Before you start working on advanced tools and frameworks, we recommend you first get familiar with some Linux basic commands. Following are the basic commands in Kali Linux that makes your work much easier:

The date command is used to display and often set the date and time of your system. However, you should have the administrator right to change the date and time.


$ date


Wed Jul  7 15:15:30 UTC 2021

The Cal command in Linux is used to display the calendar. For an advanced version of the calendar, you need to add the ‘ncal’ package using the following command:

sudo apt install ncal




July 2021     
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
             1  2  3 
 4  5  6  7  8  9 10 
11 12 13 14 15 16 17 
18 19 20 21 22 23 24 
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

 The print Working Directory or pwd command prints the name of the working directory.





The ls command is one of the most useful commands in Linux that displays all the content of the directories and files. It will also show you the content that would otherwise be hidden. Remember, the command has ‘L’ not ‘I’. Also, the output will be different for different systems.


ls -al


drwx------ 1 root root  14 Jul  7 15:15 .                                                                                                              
drwxr-xr-x 1 root root 172 Jul  7 15:15 ..                                                                                                             
drwxr-x--- 1 root root   6 Jul  7 15:15 .config

The command allows you to change the directory or go back from the current directory.


cd root/Desktop

The above command will not have any output, rather your terminal will simply jump on or come out of a particular directory.

This command is used to create a new directory from the command line in a specific location.


mkdir /root/Desktop/yeahhub

Again, there is no such output on the terminal, however, you can check the result by opening the directory.

Although these commands are very useful while using and working on different files through the terminal, there are many more Kali Linux basic commands like cat, cp, mv, rm, uname, uptime, users, less, more, sort, vi, free, etc. You can check what operations these commands are for by simply typing in the terminal.

Have a look at our blog on Ethical Hacking tutorial to learn more about this domain!

Now moving ahead in this Kali Linux tutorial, let’s go through some of the important tools that Linux features for penetration testing and other purposes.

Important Tools Available in Kali Linux

Following are some of the important tools that Kali Linux provides to perform penetration testing, access points, and hacking:


The first step in penetration testing or hacking is gathering as much information as possible about your target. This includes information about routers, connected devices, null access points, networks, and firewalls. Also known as digital reconnaissance, it helps you find the vulnerabilities in the system while keeping your identity hidden.

The best tool for digital reconnaissance in Kali Linux is Nmap. It’s an open-source network scanner that can perform all types of scans to help the user find ports, fingerprint the network, and discover hosts on the network. Nmap gives you the result by sending the packets to the host and analyzing them. Follow the steps below to perform the reconnaissance and scan open ports:

Sud apt-get install nmap

Nmap [hostname or IP address] This command will display all the details captured by the host discovery.


Metasploit is a penetration testing framework that comes pre-installed with Kali Linux and is an open-source tool. It’s mainly used for port forwarding and exploiting any vulnerabilities in a local network.

It also comes with a GUI package named ‘armitage’ which makes it more feasible and convenient to use. To use Metasploit, you just have to type ‘msfconsole’ in the command prompt and the Metasploit framework will be activated.

Check out our Cyber security courses and start your career in this domain!


Netcat is yet another open-source tool that comes pre-installed in Kali Linux. This networking tool is used for network debugging, port scanning, port, listening, port redirection, and network daemon testing. It is sometimes also called the master of all networking tools as it can do operations related to UNIX domain sockets, TCP, UP, remote connections, and much more.

You can install/update Netcat through the command prompt in case your version is an older one:

sudo apt install netcat

To use Netcat, type in ‘netcat’ or ‘nc’ in the command line and hit enter. You can type these two different commands to do port listening:

nc -1 -p 1234

Terminal 1 for listening

nc 1234

Terminal 2 for requesting. The host is by default the localhost and 1234 is the port number. Terminal 2 will start listening to terminal 1 and whatever is written in terminal 1, will reflect terminal 2. You can also run Netcat online by adding the extension to the Chrome browser.

John the Ripper

John the Ripper is yet another tool that is famous for cracking passwords using brute force, custom wordlist, dictionary, and other attacks. It can even crack the passwords and hashes for the compressed, zipped, and licked files on a computer.

Just like the above tools, John the Ripper comes pre-installed with Kali Linux and is super easy to use. To get started, type in ‘john’ in the terminal and John will show you the magic.

This isn’t it, there are hundreds of tools in Kali Linux that can be used to perform advanced scanning, penetration testing, spoofing, password cracking, and even hacking a device.

Some of the famous tools readily used by hackers and cybersecurity experts include Burp suite, aircrack-ng, SQLmap, Autopsy, Wireshark,  Sseveralocial Engineering Toolkit(SET), Lynis, WPScan, Hydra, maltego, Nessus, Snort, Nikto, King Phisher, Yersinia, and more.

Become a Cyber Security Expert


Kali Linux is one of the best and most popular operating systems used for software testing, penetration, and hacking. It’s the number one choice of various IT professionals, cybersecurity experts, and white hat hackers when it comes to testing, evaluating, and auditing software or networks.

The interface and utilities Kali Linux provides are very helpful for the newbies to easily understand the concepts like port detection, networking, spoofing, malware detection, and learn how to secure a technological infrastructure or a network.

Hope this Kali Linux tutorial helped you in clearing your basics, if you have any doubts, ask them out in our Cyber Security community!

The post Kali Linux Tutorial – A Complete Beginners Guide appeared first on Intellipaat Blog.

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