Kali Linux is the best penetration testing distribution with hundreds of tools for testing different devices and services. In Kali Linux 2020.3 update, the team has made several important changes to Kali that make it much better.
Kali Linux is a free and open-source penetration testing Linux distribution built by Offensive Security. The distribution can be installed on various devices including smartphones and Raspberry PI.
What’s New In Kali Linux 2020.3?
Recently, Kali Linux team switched from GNOME as a default desktop environment to Xfce, a much smooth, lightweight, and less resource consuming desktop environment. In this release, the team has implemented several important updates and that include the new shell ‘ZSH’, automating HiDPI that helps a lot, Win-Kex, new tool icons, Bluetooth arsenal for some very interesting use cases that I will discuss later in this article, and Nokia support for Kali NetHunter.
That ws the summary, let’s discuss the changes in a little bit detail.
New ZSH Shell
To be honest, ZSH shell is the most useful change in recent Kali updates. Though the team has not made ZSH shell as a default shell in this release but it’s there and can be easily used. The team has decided to made ZSH as a default shell for the next release 2020.4.
If you do not know ZSH, I am pretty sure you’ll love it after you see it working. ZSH or also known as Z shell is an extended version of bash but with plugin and theme support. Plugins can be installed to enhance the way users interact with the shell.
Some of the coolest features of ZSH are –
- Auto-correct – Yeah that’s right. Unlike Bash, if you make minor spelling mistakes in writing options and arguments of commands, ZSH will fix them automatically.
- No need to type cd to enter a directory – Just type the directory path and hit enter. It’ll move the user into the directory.
- Named directories that allow making a shortcut of any directory
- Themes & hundreds of plugins support
How to use ZSH in Kali Linux 2020.3?
Kali Linux 2020.3 is still using bash as the default shell but the team has started the process of switching to ZSH by including ZSH in the image. If you are doing a fresh install of Kali 2020.3, then the ZSH is already installed.
If you are upgrading to Kali 2020.3 from any earliar version, then you will have to run the following commands to make it fully work for you.
Make sure ZSH and plugins are installed –
sudo apt install -y zsh zsh-syntax-highlighting zsh-autosuggestions
Copy default ZSH configuration built by Kali team –
cp /etc/skel/.zshrc ~/
Finally, type zsh in the command line to make the switch to zsh –
That is it. The next time you start Kali, ZSH will be the default shell.
Automating HiDPI support
Something that every other distro is implementing these days is the HiDPI support. But almost all of the distros (specially Kubuntu) makes the experience even terrible in HiDPI by making fonts much much smaller. Though it can be fixed after some tweaks here and there.
To save time, Kali Linux has implemented automating HiDPI support that will enable HiDPI and take care of the issue itself. Just type the following command in the shell to toggle on/off HiDPI in Kali Linux –
We are aware of Windows sub-systems for Linux aka. WSL. It is a feature that we can take benefit by installing several popular Linux distributions on Windows operating system. I already talked about it in this article.
Win-Kex that stands for Windows + Kali Experience, lets the user run Kali persistent-session GUI just by one command –
Win-Kex only works with WSL v2. So you’ll have to upgrade to WSL v2 or follow the complete guide by Kali Linux in this article.
There is a huge list of tools for Kali Linux. Kali Linux ships tools in three packages,
kali-linux-default downloads and installs important tools that the team thinks will be required by the majority of its users.
kali-linux-large installs extra tools and,
kali-linux-everything installs every tool.
In Kali Linux 2020.3, all the default set of tools have their own icons instead of a dummy icon. As they continue their work, soon the team will design icons for
Kali NetHunter Bluetooth Arsenal
Kali Linux NetHunter is an Android penetration testing platform for Nexus devices. The team has introduced Bluetooth arsenal in the NetHunter tool that includes some pre-configured workflows for some interesting use cases such as reconnaissance, spoofing, listening or injecting audio into various devices such as headsets! speakers! watches! and even cars!.. what a..! amazing!
Kali NetHunter supports Nokia Phones
Kali NetHunter support has been extended to Nokia 3.1 and Nokia 6.1 phones. All the images are available to download at Kali NetHunter Download page.
Improved Kali Linux installation process
Another small but very important change in the installation process is that
dist-upgrade won’t run by default. Really really appreciate it. The bad experience in setting up new Kali is that it starts to download updates when you forget to disconnect the network. It takes a huge amount of time, most of the time, because of some slow repository set to download the updates from. Check out this article of mine where I discussed the problem.
One more issue that they fixed is the inclusion of network repository in
/etc/apt/sources.list. If a user had no internet connection set up, the installation used to leave /etc/apt/sources.list empty which means all
apt install command will return ‘package not found error’. Now in 2020.3, the installation will pre-configure network repositories in