The proliferation of cyber-attacks and increasing security breaches is a major concern in the open source community. However, there is still hope of overcoming these breaches, given the ongoing stress on privacy-focused Linux distributions.
These open-source Linux operating systems combine the best tools, encryption and virtualization tactics to counter threats. If privacy is high on your agenda and you need to switch to a high-end, security-focused Linux operating system, then you should check out the nine Linux distributions below.
Kodachi is a Debian-based Linux distro with an XFCE environment that works seamlessly from a DVD, portable USB stick, and even an SD card. It comes with pre-installed VPN services and browsing solutions with Tor functionality to enhance online privacy and provide a secure browsing experience for the end users.
The distro packs DNSCrypt to mask the TCP/IP protocol configurations so that all online activity is filtered by privacy filters. In addition, users can encrypt their file folders, emails and IMs with high-quality cryptographic tools available in the distro.
Kodachi’s live sessions are impossible to detect because the operating system wipes its traces from the host system. Your desktop activities remain private and the distro’s access to your system data is never unauthorized.
To download: Linux Kodachi
Qubes OS is a Fedora-based Linux distro, running a Xen-based virtualized environment, allowing you to run your apps and connected devices as isolated components.
The compartmentalization features are useful for server-side network stack and firewall management, along with security-focused desktop computers. In addition, Whonix integration with Qubes enables system-wide Tor availability to users.
Qubes OS enables the use of split GPGs to enhance security so that users can store their private keys securely. As an extra step, the distro bolsters its encryption capabilities by using device isolation and U2F proxy configuration, making it an instant hit with privacy-conscious users.
To download: Qubes operating system
Tails is another highly sought after live Linux distribution that can be run from various storage media including HDD, USB and SD cards.
As a Linux distro, Tails relies heavily on its ability to preserve and extend the privacy aspects of its users. Imagine having an operating system that deletes all your saved data and files every time you shut down your system. To avoid losing your personal information, save your files in an encrypted folder.
Tails is a privacy-focused Linux distro that has adapted well to the nuances of Tor. It then offers the added benefit of wiping your data to allow for trouble-free, privacy-focused computing after every use.
Tails can be used as an immutable operating system with added layers of encryption to protect your data. Its highly active community support and extensive user documentation make it a widely recognized privacy-influenced Linux operating system.
To download: tails
Kali Linux is one of the most popular distributions for advanced security engineering. This Debian-based distro comes with a comprehensive suite of penetration testing tools and applications.
Kali’s out-of-the-box controls make it a user-friendly distro for newbies. The operating system enjoys a fair amount of development and community support, paving the way for extensive documentation. This also includes all the guidance you need for customizations (including ISO tweaks) and meta packs.
Kali attracts users with its undercover mode and Kali NetHunter suite for mobile security testing.
To download: Kali Linux
BlackArch is a cunning challenger to Kali’s dedicated Linux-based testing capabilities. It is based on Arch Linux and features a test suite with nearly 3000 tools.
Modular packaging options allow you to package test solutions for portable execution on any target system.
BlackArch offers extensive documentation and the XFCE desktop environment makes navigating even easier for beginners. What stands out is that the desktop environment only uses pre-configured window managers, making it an absolute pleasure to work with.
BlackArch is available in: Full and Thin versions, depending on how you want to use the distro. It also has a support community that makes troubleshooting easy.
To download: BlackArch
Parrot OS is an unavoidable inclusion in any security-focused Linux distro list. Parrot OS, based on Debian, is suitable for various cybersecurity computer applications just like some of its counterparts.
Parrot OS’s system-bundled software framework assists its users with reverse engineering and digital forensic tasks. This distro takes security more seriously than its contemporaries with its encryption-focused app repository. It restricts all your Linux activities through its virtual, sandbox environment.
These features make Parrot OS one of the most trusted open source platforms for defense management of any single data host. Parrot uses, among others, a combination of Anonsurf, I2P and Tor to offer the end users the best secure environment.
To download: Parrot OS
Septor takes its roots from Debian and incorporates the KDE desktop environment. Equipped with a successful software ecosystem, this distro provides a secure and discrete open-source desktop solution.
Users will find bundled applications targeting Tor-based encrypted web services. Some typical Tor applications include the Tor Browser, OnionShare, QuiteRSS, HexChat, and Thunderbird.
Septor, as a privacy-based distro, is a lot like Tails, but it has its differentiators in terms of its desktop interface and installation media.
To download: Septor
Whonix is a Debian-based distro that uses Kicksecure Security to run your system in multiple virtual machines so that you always work within a secure perimeter.
Whonix’s attributes enhance its “Torified” computing environment that helps users hide their identities and credentials from cyber-attacks.
The distro’s live boot configuration is easy for both beginners and advanced users, especially in terms of installation and operation. Whonix’s convenient boot clock randomization and keystroke anonymization protect users unfamiliar with cybersecurity practices.
To download: Whonix
Alpine Linux is a general purpose live distro designed for anonymous web browsing and high performance protection against advanced malware.
Alpine Linux is based on the musc libc library and BusyBox; it’s a resource-efficient, open-source operating system with a staggeringly small footprint.
Rather, don’t let such attributes fool you by overlooking its excellent package management, APK, and shell scripting capabilities.
Users can use GNOME or XFCE as their preferred desktop environment. Alpine further addresses secure OS virtualization by working in synergy with Docker.
To download: Alpine Linux
Using Linux Distros to Boost Privacy and Security
In today’s world, there are many security breaches and cyber attacks circulating in the market. As more and more individuals and companies fall prey to these attacks, it becomes all the more important to stay vigilant and use secure distributions to execute your bids.
The above list is just the tip of the iceberg; there are many other safe distributions available for penetration testers, each promising to be better than the rest. Which one would you choose for yourself?