How to Install and Get Started with Kali Linux

Featured Image Kali Linux

First released in 2013, Kali Linux is a Debian-based security program by Offensive Security. If you are an ethical hacker, you may have come across this Linux distribution, as it is considered one of the most advanced tools for penetration testing.

While there are many hacking tutorials online, the information security legacy of this Linux distribution is proving to be real handy in IoT security.

To start using Kali Linux, you have to learn to install it in your system or removable media. We will discuss both methods here.

Mac users can install the program on their hard disks. Note that for pre-2012 hardware, you have to burn it on a DVD, and USB booting may not work without rEFInd installed.

Installation Method 1: Run on a Windows Machine without Dual Boot

It is very easy to run Kali Linux on a Windows 10 machine, and you don’t need to use the ISO file or deal with dual-boot issues. Microsoft Store supports the installation through a subsystem for Linux which has to be first installed as shown here.

Kali Linux Installation Microsoft Store

Initially, you may encounter an error if the Windows subsystem for Linux is not installed. It is no trouble to get it, as you only have to visit the link shown in the error screen for further guidance.

Kali Linux Installing

To install Kali Linux, run your Windows PowerShell as an administrator and insert the following command:

Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName Microsoft-Windows-Subsystem-Linux
Powershell Command For Linux

After it prompts you, click “Y” to restart your computer. This will install the Windows subsystem for Linux.

Restart Windows Powershell

In the meantime, you will also have installed Kali Linux from Microsoft Store. The application is run from the command terminal.

Installing Kali Linux Pc

In the next step you will be asked to create a UNIX username and password. Once you do this, you will see an “installation successful” message.

Kali Linux Starting Screen

Installation Method 2: Make a Kali Bootable USB Drive

You might want to make a Kali bootable USB drive, as it’s non-destructive  and portable. Before you do it, download and install BalenaEtcher on your computer. It’s an excellent program to flash images on SD cards and USB drives.

Etcher Imaging Tool

Next, you will need a verified copy of the appropriate ISO image of the latest Kali build image. This will be installed for the system you’ll be running it on, as well as a USB drive to boot it from. The downloads are supported for Windows, Linux, and macOS on the official website.

Flashing Kali Linux Iso On Usb Device

The ISO is nearly a 2.8 GB download. Flash it on your storage device.

Writing To Flash Drive Kali Linux

Very soon the flash program will start burning the image on your bootable disk.

Flashing Kali Linux On Usb Drive Using Balena Etcher

The flashing will take a while. Do not eject the removable media.

Etcher Validating Kali Linux

It will be soon followed by a validation of the Kali Linux program on your storage media.

Success Status Flashing Kali Linux On Usb Drive Using Etcher

If there are no errors in your bootable drive, you should see a success notification. Your new USB media device can now be used to boot Kali Linux remotely.

Use A Device For Boot Win 10

Use “Advanced startup” on a Windows 10 PC to boot Kali Linux from a USB drive in the future.

How to Start Using Kali Linux

Once installed on a Windows PC, you can directly run the Kali Linux app from the search menu. It can’t be easier than this.

Kali Linux Admin Installation

To test the interface, you can run simple commands such as for date and calendar.

Date Calendar Commands Kali Linux

If you boot from a removable media, you get a choice to launch the GUI. However, it can also be launched from the command terminal using #startx and sudo apt-get install wget.

Connecting To Kali Gui

Kali Linux GUI is simple barebones, and you can do regular browsing, etc. However the main uses of Kali Linux are more than just for regular work. It is used in advanced penetration testing which will be a focus of another article.

Kali Gui

IoT Applications with Kali Linux

There are many IoT applications. For example, you can use Kali Linux Docker images for containers which are available at this link. You can add VMware tools as a Kali guest.

From virtual machines to containers and ARM devices, and integrating with AWS, Azure, & Linode, Kali Linux finds applications in many IoT designs. So whether you want to detect malicious malware in smart homes, or do some network analysis, Kali Linux offers extensive support with over 600 penetration tools.


Kali Linux is a dependable distribution to run penetration testing for IoT devices. If you are considering buying a smart home and want to do your own DIY testing for foolproof security, you may find it very useful. There is a large resourceful online community to help you deal with the security challenges you consider important.

Have you used Kali Linux recently? Do let us know in the comments.

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Sayak Boral

IoT-addicted since early 2016. Love to explore the challenges, opportunities and trend insights into what is becoming the third wave of Internet.