Background on Linux
Linux is an open source operating system for computers. Linux is a Unix-like operating system, meaning that it supports multitasking and multi-user operation. Linux is widely used for supercomputers, mainframe computers, and servers. Linux can also run on personal computers, mobile devices, tablet computers, routers, and other embedded systems. One of the most prominent examples of this is the Android mobile operating system, which is based on the Linux Kernel. Linux is capable of running many of the same applications and software as Windows and Mac OS X. Linux operating systems, software, and applications are commonly referred to as Linux distributions (distros for short).
Linux is an extremely popular operating system for hackers. There are two main reasons behind this. First off, Linux’s source code is freely available because it is an open source operating system. This means that Linux is very easy to modify or customize. Second, there are countless Linux security distros available that can double as Linux hacking software.
Generally speaking, there are two types of Linux hacking: hacking done by hobbyists and hacking done by malicious actors. Hobbyists are often hackers looking for new solutions to software problems or tinkerers looking for new uses for their software/hardware. Malicious actors use Linux hacking tools to exploit vulnerabilities in Linux applications, software, and networks. This type of Linux hacking is done in order to gain unauthorized access to systems and steal data.
Linux Hacking Tools
Malicious actors typically use tools such as password crackers, network and vulnerability scanners, and intrusion detection software. These Linux hacking tools all serve different purposes and are used for a wide range of attacks.
Password crackers are software developed for decoding passwords in a variety of formats, such as encrypted or hashed passwords. Many cracking distros offer additional functionality such as network detectors and wireless packet sniffing. Malicious actors use these Linux hacking tools because they offer a simple way to gain access to an organization’s network, databases, directories, and more. Password cracking distros are commonly used in Linux wifi hacking (Linux hacking that targets wireless networks).
Linux network scanners are used to detect other devices on a network. In doing so, attackers are able to develop a virtual map of the network. In addition to discovering other devices, many network scanners are capable of gathering details about devices such as which operating systems, software, and firewalls are being used. Network scanners are used to discover network security holes in Linux wifi hacking. They also can be used to gather information useful for Linux distro hacking (Linux hacking that targets software, applications, operating systems, etc).
Linux vulnerability scanning software is used to detect vulnerabilities in systems and applications. Malicious parties often use vulnerability scanners as Linux hacking software in order to detect exploitable vulnerabilities, gather simple passwords, discover configuration issues, and perform denial of service attacks. Vulnerability scanners are frequently used for Linux distro hacking because of these capabilities.
Linux Hacking Prevention and Mitigation
Fortunately, there are measures that organizations and individuals can take to lessen the risk and threat of Linux hacking. Many of these security procedures use the same tools that malicious parties abuse in Linux hacking. Organizations can use the tools discussed above (password crackers, network scanners, vulnerability scanners, wireless sniffers, intrusion detection systems, etc.) to test their software and networks from a hacker’s perspective. Regular testing and monitoring using Linux hacking software gives organizations the opportunity to discover software and network vulnerabilities before attackers.
Written by: Fergal Glynn