Top 10 Linux Distro for Ethical Hacking and Penetration Testing

A security-focused operating system is a hacker’s best companion as it helps them to discover the weaknesses in computer systems or computer networks. Whether you are pursuing a career in Information Security or working as a security professional or you are interested in this specific field of knowledge, you must be known of a decent Linux distro that suits your purpose.


Kali Linux:

It is developed by Offensive Security as the rewrite of BackTrack and tops our list as one of the best operating systems for hacking purposes. This Debian-based OS comes with 500+ preinstalled pen testing tools and applications that make your security toolbox richer to start along.

Parrot Security OS:

It is also a Debian-based OS that is developed by Frozenbox’s team. Parrot security is a cloud-friendly operating system designed for ethical hacking, pen testing, computer forensics, cryptography, etc. Compared to others, Parrot Security OS is a lightweight OS that is highly efficient to work with. Parrot Security OS is a mixture of Frozenbox OS and Kali Linux.


BackBox Linux is an Ubuntu-based operating system that is used for security assessment and penetration testing. BackBox Linux has a wide range of security analysis tools that can be used for web application analysis, network analysis, etc.

Samurai Web Testing Framework:

Samurai Web Testing Framework is essentially a live Linux environment that comes pre-configured to work as a web penetration testing platform.

Pentoo Linux:

Pentoo is a pen testing focused operating system based on Gentoo Linux. It can be used on top of an existing Gentoo Linux installation.

DEFT Linux:

The open source Linux distribution “DEFT” stands for Digital Evidence and Forensic Toolkit. DEFT is based on Ubuntu and built around the DART (Digital Advanced Response Toolkit) software.


Security focused distro “Caine” is an Ubuntu-based operating system that is available as a live disk. It stands for Computer Aided Investigation Environment.

Network Security Toolkit (NST):

Fedora-based Linux distro “Network Security Toolkit” runs on 32 and 64-bit platforms. This bootable live CD was created to give you a right to use the best open source network security applications for pen testing purposes.

BlackArch Linux:

BlackArch Linux is an absolute Linux distribution for security researchers and ethical hackers. It is derived from Arch Linux, and one can also install the BlackArch Linux components on top of it. It provides more than 1400 tools that are thoroughly tested before adding to the codebase.


Bugtraq is famous for its electronic mailing list that is purely dedicated to computer security. It is available in Debian, Ubuntu, and OpenSUSE. The Bugtraq developer team consists of experienced hackers and developers that offer a great service for ethical pen testers.