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Kali Linux: Courses, Trainings, and Other Resources

Kumar Harsh - February 22, 2021


Have you wondered how a computer system is protected against cyber-attacks? Or how do popular systems prevent their data from unauthorized hands? The answer to these lies in the world of cybersecurity.

Security researchers and ethical hackers help computer systems stay aloof from these mishaps. Kali Linux is a specialized version of the Linux operating system used by security researchers in the world. Kali is the ultimate collection of top tools that help test and secure systems of all kinds.

In this article, we will take a look at what Kali Linux is, what are its important features, what it is used for, and the resources available to learn it.

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How to Learn Kali Linux

Kali Linux is a complex and powerful operating system and security tool, it is important to understand its purpose and features before we dive into learning its dynamics.

What is Kali Linux?

Kali Linux is a Debian-based Linux distribution. It is custom-tailored for operations like network security analysis and penetration testing. It contains a large number of tools to help support these operations. It is equivalent to a swiss knife for web security professionals.

You can still carry out standard operating system activities in Kali, so you can use it as a regular computer, although this is not recommended as Kali is specialized for professional cybersecurity. The bundled pen-testing tools and the ability to easily modify system behavior is what makes Kali the best platform for hackers of all kinds.

Features of Kali Linux

Kali Linux offers multiple features as a web pen-testing host. Here are some of them:

  • Free to use. Kali Linux is a freely available operating system. It was created by Offensive Security and will continue to remain free to use.
  • Comes bundled with a great collection of tools. Kali Linux is pre-bundled with over 600 tools for all of your security assessment needs. It covers all possible domains of security, including but not limited to network penetration, reverse engineering, and penetration testing. These tools include the likes of NMap, Lynis, and WPScan.
  • Completely open-sourced. As Kali Linux is a flavor of the open-sourced Linux operating system, its source code is public as well. Kali can be viewed publicly on Git, and you can even modify its source code to better suit your requirements.
  • Completely customizable. Security is a varied field, and not all professionals will like their tools exactly the same. This is why the creators of Kali have made it extremely customizable. You can replace everything in Kali, from the installed tools all the way down to the kernel itself.

What is Kali Linux Used for?

Kali Linux is a popular choice for carrying out web security analysis activities. Before we set down to learn the library, it is important to understand its use-case. The official documentation says Kali is made with pen-testing in mind. This path makes Kali the perfect tool for those who are looking to make a career in information security and penetration testing.

Even though Kali is a flavor of Linux, and carries every feature and functionality of Linux, it is not advisable to use Kali for day-to-day activities. This is because Kali’s toolkit and interface are tailored specifically for web security and other related activities only. These can cause hindrances in carrying out usual tasks like media editing or gaming.

Learning Kali Linux

Kali Linux is a premier platform for vulnerability assessment and penetration testing, learning how to use it to the fullest is important if you are planning to work in information security in the future. The following is a list of resources to help you get started.

The Best Kali Linux Courses

As Kali Linux is an open-source operating system, people have created content to help you easily get started. Let’s first take a look at the free and paid video courses that are available for Kali Linux:

Linux for Ethical Hackers by freeCodeCamp

  • Platform: YouTube
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Price: Free
  • Prerequisites: None
  • Start Date: On-Demand

Linux for Ethical Hackers covers Kali Linux completely and leaves no topic unturned in explaining the smallest of quirks present in the platform. Beginning from a guided installation and additional setup process, this course will make you proficient in using the Linux bash efficiently and writing scripts that help you do your job faster.

This course is the best place to begin for those who are just trying out Kali and those who are looking to pursue a career in cybersecurity or penetration testing.

Kali Linux Tutorial For Beginners by Hackers Academy

  • Platform: Udemy
  • Duration: 8 hours
  • Price: Around $120
  • Prerequisites: None
  • Start Date: On-Demand

With a 4.5-star rating from over 3,500 learners, this course focuses solely on explaining how to use Kali. Instead of deviating away to more specific topics like other courses do, this course limits itself only to Kali and provides quality content on how the operating system works.

This course also helps understand what target machines are, and how you can build one for yourself using Kali. From a bird’s-eye view, target machines are dummy systems that are used by hackers to test various types of security attacks. All-in-all, this course is a great fit if you are looking for something that covers Kali in great detail, and is beginner-friendly as well.

The Complete Ethical Hacking Course: Beginner to Advanced! by Ermin Kreponic

  • Platform: Udemy
  • Duration: 24.5 hours
  • Price: Around $120
  • Prerequisites: None
  • Start Date: On-Demand

With a 4.3-star rating from over 27,000 students, this course is among the best ones available for getting started with ethical hacking using Kali. It teaches the basics of Kali and then uses Kali to teach various concepts of ethical hacking in detail.

This course not only introduces you to Kali but also explains some real-life uses of Kali, to help solidify your understanding of the tool. The course helps you get started on the road to becoming a professional security researcher and offers perfect value for money.

Kali Linux Books

Apart from video courses, many books are available to help you get started with Kali Linux. Some top ones include –

‘Kali Linux Revealed: Mastering the Penetration Testing Distribution’ by Raphael Hertzog, Jim O’Gorman

Kali Linux Revealed: Mastering the Penetration Testing Distribution book cover

Currently, priced at about $27 on Amazon, Kali Linux Revealed is one of the best books for understanding and beginning with Kali. Co-author Raphael Hertzog (Debian team veteran) offers a complete resource for learning Kali Linux from the ground up. The Debian team says this book is detailed enough to serve as a substitute for an official Kali Linux manual. Additionally, this book also has a section to help you get started with packages in Kali, to help you make your tools easily.

‘Basic Security Testing with Kali Linux 2’ by Daniele W Dieterle

Basic Security Testing with Kali Linux 2 book cover

Priced at about $15 at the moment ( check the latest price here ), Basic Security Testing takes the standard Kali learning up a notch. It begins with a primer on Kali, with a detailed installation guide, and then moves on to information gathering and reconnaissance. While this book provides a good foundation of Kali, it is more focused on security testing. It is a great resource to try out if you have tried Kali out, and are looking for things you can do with your Kali skills.

‘Mastering Kali Linux for Advanced Penetration Testing: Secure your network with Kali Linux – The Ultimate White Hat Hackers’ Toolkit, 2nd Edition’ by Vijay Kumar Velu

Mastering Kali Linux for Advanced Penetration Testing: Secure your network with Kali Linux - the ultimate white hat hackers' toolkit, 2nd Edition book cover

Priced at about $47 at the moment, Mastering Kali Linux is a great asset for those with experience with the operating system and are looking for some advanced learning.

This book explains various methods of breaking and building secure systems. This is a one-stop guide if you are a security researcher or consultant and are looking to take your skills to the next level.

Kali Linux Resources

Apart from the video courses and books, there are also a great number of tutorials available around the internet. Here are some great pieces to begin with:

Kali Linux Revealed Online Course by Offensive Security

Offered by the creators of Kali, Offensive Security, this course offers a balanced series of beginner-friendly tutorials to help you get started with the tool. This tutorial is made with total beginners in mind and offers ample pretext to clearly understand every topic.

This course covers all the dynamics of the operating system in detail and has a great section on the connection between Debian and Kali. This is a great option to start with if you want to understand the “why” behind everything in Kali. Couple this with another course that explains the tools in detail for the perfect resource for any aspiring security researcher.

Everything You Need To Know About Kali Linux by Edureka

This blog piece provides a great analysis of some of the top tools in Kali. With adequate content on the basics of Kali, it quickly shifts to some of the prominent tools like Aircrack-ng and Nmap. This makes this course a perfect sequel to the previous course by Offensive Security. Coupled together, these two make the best starter for beginners in this technology.

Talking about the content, there is ample explanation as well as code samples to help you get started with the five tools, and try them out by yourself. The piece is also followed by recommendations of some good articles on pen-testing and ethical hacking — two great fields to explore after understanding the basics of Kali.

Kali Linux Tutorial for Beginners: What is, How to Install & Use by Guru99.com

With ample content on introduction, installation, and advanced operation, this course offers the perfect roadmap to mastering Kali Linux. This course is a great place to start at, as it offers helpful subtext throughout the tutorial.

It covers the basics of Kali, some of the prominent tools available, as well as Metasploit, a project often coupled with Kali to test vulnerabilities and develop fixes. However, you will need to take one of the more advanced courses from the list if you are looking to put your learnings to practical use.

Kali Linux Tutorial by TutorialsPoint.com

This resource feels more like a glossary of subtopics of Kali Linux and less of a guided tutorial for learning. However, the depth of content on each subtopic is great, and this can be an important asset to you once you are done with the basics of the library and are looking for a resource that you can refer to whenever you need help. It has enough code examples on each tool to help you get started without any issues.

How Long Does it Take to Learn Kali Linux?

Kali Linux is a powerful and detailed cybersecurity tool. Learning the tool takes less than two months to get a good grip on its fundamentals. Rigorous practice, aided with example projects for a duration of another two to three weeks is required to make the cybersecurity basics pretty clear in your mind, thereby allowing you to unleash the full potential of this tool.

If you are aiming to become an expert in Kali Linux, be prepared to devote at least two to three months of your time to the operating system, to get the best results.

Should you Learn Kali Linux?

After compiling a great list of courses and content on Kali Linux, we are now faced with the most important question of all: should you learn Kali Linux?

The answer to this is simple: if you are willing to dive into the world of cybersecurity, or if your day-to-day job involves analyzing the security of systems using various independent tools, Kali Linux is the best skill to invest your time and resources into. The operating system offers a great variety of pre-built tools, making it the perfect alternative for quick assessment as well as improvement of a cyber system.

If you are looking to make a career as a security researcher or consultant, Kali Linux is one of the basic elements to be able to meet your job requirements. There are additional concepts and tools that you may need to know, like Metasploit and computer networks, but a solid foundation in Kali Linux is essential before beginning with them.

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Kumar Harsh

About the author: Kumar is a young technical writer, covering topics like JavaScript, Python, Ruby and Web Performance. He is currently working towards a bachelors degree in Computer Science and Engineering at National Institute of Technology Patna. Along with writing, he has also worked in software development roles with several start-ups and corporations alike. He joined the Career Karma team in January 2021.

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