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14 Live CDs for Penetration Testing (Pen Test) and Forensic


Yesterday I was researching for some of the other lesser known live CDs for penetration testing.  While I’m an avid user and a fan of backtrack, someone mentioned that there are other live CDs as well which are good for specific functionality. I did take a look from the post at darknet but I feel the list is somewhat outdated (written way back in 2006).  For the benefit of the readers here is a list of the most recent pen testing live CDs that I’ve compiled. (so that you don’t have to google around for profit!)

  1. Arudius : A Linux live CD. The CD consists of a Zenwalk Linux base on top of which a large collection of network security testing software has been installed.
  2. BackTrack: Ah the favorite one for most of the pen testers!  Do I need to mention more?
  3. Damn Vulnerable Linux (DVL): A Linux-based tool for both novice and professional security personnel. It was initiated for training tasks and learning IT security knowledge domains such as web vulnerability, network security, or binary vulnerability such as exploitation or shellcodes.
  4. DEFT (Digital Evidence & Forensic Toolkit): A Xubuntu Linux-based Computer Forensics live CD. It is a very easy to use system that includes an excellent hardware detection and the best free and open source applications dedicated to incident response and computer forensics.
  5. FCCU:  A GNU/Linux Forensic Boot CD is based on Debian-live that contains a lot of tools suitable for computer forensic investigations, including bash scripts. The main purpose of the CD is to help the forensic analyze of computers.
  6. Frenzy: A portable system administrator toolkit based on FreeBSD. It generally contains software for hardware tests, file system check, security check and network setup and analysis.
  7. grml:  grml is a bootable CD (Live-CD) originally based on Knoppix and nowadays based on Debian. grml includes a collection of GNU/Linux software especially for system administrator and users of texttools. grml provides automatic hardware detection.
  8. Helix:  A customized distribution of the Knoppix Live Linux CD. Helix is more than just a bootable live CD. You can still boot into a customized Linux environment that includes customized linux kernels, excellent hardware detection and many applications dedicated to Incident Response and Forensics.
  9. Knoppix-NSM:  This is to learn about Network Security Monitoring or to deploy a NSM capability in your network based on KNOPPIX Technology.
  10. Network Security Toolkit (NST):  A bootable ISO live CD based on Fedora. The toolkit was designed to provide easy access to best-of-breed Open Source Network Security Applications and should run on most x86 platforms.
  11. OSWA Assistant:  A self-contained, freely downloadable, wireless auditing toolkit for both IT-security professionals and End-users alike.
  12. OWASP Labrat:  The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) is a worldwide free and open community focused on improving the security of application software. The OWASP Live CD (LabRat) is a bootable CD akin to knoppix but dedicated to Application Security.
  13. Protech:  A specially designed Linux distribution for security technicians and programmers, although it can be used normally as your default desktop system. Protech ONE comes with a great variety of the best security tools for your use.
  14. Samurai:  The Samurai Web Testing Framework is a live linux environment that has been pre-configured to function as a web pen-testing environment. The CD contains the best of the open source and free tools that focus on testing and attacking websites.

(Read More:  3 Reasons why Automated Vulnerability Scanning does not work)

I think I’ve listed most of the recent ones. Incase you feel that some distros are worth mentioning and is missing in the list, then please leave the name of the CD (and the link offcourse) in the comments section below. Happy Pentesting!

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