Parrot OS vs Kali Linux

Nobody is surprised by the widespread usage of Linux as an operating system in different parts of the world. Precisely 32 million! This shows how effective this OS is for users all across the world. Linux has a reputation for having a wide range of distributions that may meet different purposes. The most well-known distribution is Kali Linux, an operating system designed for vulnerability testing. Since its debut, Kali has seen numerous changes in the form of upgrades, all the while other worldwide distributions focused on penetration testing and cybersecurity were also being created. In this essay, we'll contrast Kali with one such widely-discussed distribution, ParrotOS.

What Is Parrot OS?

For cybersecurity professionals and penetration testers, Parrot Security OS is a Linux-based operating system that was initially introduced in 2013. Parrot OS can be viewed as a mobile lab for a variety of cybersecurity risk management tasks, including digital forensics, decryption, and pen-testing. It also comes with whatever you require to build your applications and safeguard your data.

Users have access to a variety of toughened and sandboxing capabilities with Parrot OS, which is frequently updated. Most systems that employ containerization technologies such as Docker or Podman should be compatible with the tools in the package. Parrot OS is a fantastic replacement for systems with outdated gear or low resources because it is incredibly light and works shockingly quickly on all PCs.

It features a separate "Forensics Mode" that is far more discreet than its regular mode since it doesn't deploy the platform's storage devices or volumes and has no impact on the host system. This method is employed on the hosting system to carry out forensic operations.

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Features of Parrot OS

The following are some of the key features of Parrot OS:

  • Free: Since Parrot OS is produced by an open-source community and is freely available, users can alter its source code to suit their requirements.
  • Lightweight: Parrot OS's compact size is among its main advantages over Kali Linux. This implies that it works properly with as low as 320MB of RAM and much lower disc space and processing power.
  • Secure: Parrot OS is totally sandboxed while also receiving regular, latest updates to stay ahead of competing tools.
  • Variety of Apps: All of the features of Kali Linux, a popular OS for penetration testing, are included in Parrot Security, along with a few extras for added effect. This was done while keeping the size of the 2 systems essentially the same.
  • Custom Kernel: In addition to a vast library of programs, Parrot Security includes its own customized Linux kernel that was created with the goal of providing the primary line of defense with the greatest defense and resistance against invaders.

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What Is Kali Linux?

An advanced Linux-based OS for penetration testing as well as safety audits, Kali Linux previously BackTrack Linux is free and open. For diverse data security activities like digital forensics, penetration testing, reverse engineering, & security research, Kali Linux comes with a number of tools.

For data security experts and amateurs, it is a tool that works on server computing platforms, is easy to use, and is freely available. For several years, Debian has been a really reliable and durable distribution, giving a strong bedrock for the Kali Linux system.

Now let us explore some of the most notable features that Kali Linux provides to its users.

Features of Kali Linux

The following are some of the key features of Kali Linux that users can utilize:

  • Customizable: Kali was created to perform at a high level, not to look attractive. Therefore, users must engage with personalization to improve its appearance and feel while utilizing its functionality.
  • Secure Development: Only a small portion of the Kali Linux group is authorized to upload packages and communicate with the repositories while utilizing various security measures. The possibility of source contamination is drastically decreased by limiting external assets' accessibility to crucial codebases.
  • Several Penetration tools: Approximately 600 penetration tools are present in the most recent Kali Linux release. After carefully examining all the tools available in BackTrack, scripts that did not operate or copied other services that provided the same or equivalent functionality, were eliminated.
  • Multi-language assistance: The developers of Kali made sure that it has strong linguistic support despite the fact that penetration tools are typically created in English. This allows more individuals to operate in their local language and discover the tools required for the penetration testing path.
  • Supported by ARM devices: On a broad range of ARM devices, Kali Linux is fully accessible. The tools mentioned earlier are updated concurrently with the remainder of the installation because ARM libraries are linked with the main version.

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Comparison of Variations of Parrot OS vs Kali Linux

Now, let us look at some of the factors that differentiate the two Operating Systems:

Look and Feel

The Ubuntu-Mate-Desktop-Environment is used to create the ParrotOS user interface. Two distinct portions are present. The Applications, Places, and System window, which resembles Kali itself, is located at the top of the screen. Along with a graph of consumption, ParrotOS also provides some interesting details regarding CPU temperature. The menus manager and the workstations manager are located in the bottom pane.

On the other hand, Kali Linux uses the Gnome desktop environment. Although it retains ParrotOS's functionality but lacks the same sleek, upscale appearance. It is simple to get stuck in the Kali interface if users do not really understand their way around.

Hacking tools

The majority of the tools found in Parrot OS also are found on Kali, but there are 2 crucial utilities missing from the Kali ecosystem.

AnonSurf

Confidentiality is among the most important requirements for breaking into anyone's architecture. When operating on this, there is no ideal textbook technique employed to entirely maintain anonymity.

Although there are several solutions available, AnonSurf stands out due to its strong ability to leverage Tor IPtables to completely anonymize a system. Tor is a program that is pre-installed with Parrot OS, giving the benefit of starting penetration testing right away without the necessity to install additional tools, as seen in the instance of Kali.

Wifiphisher

One tool required for vulnerability scanning via Wi-Fi is the wifiphisher. Threats and targeted clientele can easily introduce malware and other harmful software entities into the victim's system.

It is a tool that may be adjusted to swiftly gather all the credentials required to organize the network's penetration. This is crucial in setting up security procedures and standards for a variety of networks.

Variety

Both, Kali Linux as well as Parrot OS provide numerous options that give users access to a wide range of features and editions, as noted below.

Within Kali Linux:

  • Kali ARM (IoT),
  • Kali Full,
  • Kali Lite, and
  • Kali Desktop

When it comes to Parrot OS, the offerings include:

  • Parrot Security OS Full
  • Parrot Security OS Studio
  • Parrot Security OS Lite
  • Parrot Security OS Air

It must be noted that Parrot OS has the advantage because it was designed with cordless penetration testing in mind and is incredibly effective at it. On the other side, Kali Linux provides interfaces for many other gadgets, especially IoT-based applications. It follows that when making a decision, your needs must be taken into account.

Hardware

Here are some reasons why Kali Linux has some hefty hardware requirements:

  • Parrot OS can function with as little as 15 GB of storage, whereas Kali Linux needs around 20 GB.
  • Parrot OS may function with as little as 300 MB RAM, but Kali requires a minimum of 1 GB RAM.
  • Parrot OS doesn't really demand hardware acceleration via the GPU, unlike Kali Linux does.

Parrot OS quickly defeats Kali Linux in respect of hardware capability and storage needs. Another advantage is the size of the deployment after installation; Parrot OS wins out when space is at a premium and/or earlier hardware configurations are in play.

Ease of Learning

In general, if Linux is what you're searching for, we advise you to start your search by examining packages like Ubuntu. It is advised to choose the path of learning Parrot OS or Kali Linux provided ethical hacking is something you're after.

Parrot OS is superior in that it provides tools and an interface that are simple enough for beginners to utilize. However, both Parrot OS and Kali Linux offer a variety of tools that students can employ.

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 Conclusion:

In this post, we first talked about Kali Linux as well as its unique features before looking at its main rival, Parrot Security OS. Emerging ethical hackers and security testers have a plethora of options for their learning route with Parrot Security OS & Kali Linux at the forefront. As we learned, choosing the right OS for your penetration testing needs is entirely dependent on personal preference, level of customization, and the specifications of the systems it runs on.

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Saritha Reddy
Saritha Reddy
Research Analyst
A technical lead content writer in HKR Trainings with an expertise in delivering content on the market demanding technologies like Networking, Storage & Virtualization,Cyber Security & SIEM Tools, Server Administration, Operating System & Administration, IAM Tools, Cloud Computing, etc. She does a great job in creating wonderful content for the users and always keeps updated with the latest trends in the market. To know more information connect her on Linkedin, Twitter, and Facebook.

Parrot OS is superior in that it provides tools and user experience that are simple enough for beginners to utilize. However, both Parrot OS and Kali Linux offer a variety of tools that students can employ.

Hackers can use Parrot OS as a platform. For software development, it offers a user-friendly editor. You can browse the web safely and discreetly with this platform. Parrot OS can be used by hackers to carry out computer forensics, penetration testing, and other tasks.

The most in-use OS by hackers are:

Kali Linux: First on our roster is Kali Linux, which is supported and supported by Offensive Security Ltd. A Linux distribution with Debian roots called Kali Linux is made for security testing and digital forensics. Among the finest and most successful operating systems for hackers is Kali.

Parrot-sec OS: Computer Forensics, Anonymous Surfing, and Vulnerability Assessment and Mitigation.

Cyborg Hawk Linux: The researchers at Ztrela Knowledge Solutions Pvt. Ltd. developed the penetration testing distribution known as Cyborg Hawk Linux, which is based on Ubuntu (Linux). Penetration testers often termed ethical hackers & cyber safety professionals were the target audience.

Backbox: BackBox is a network and information system analysis toolkit focused on security evaluation.

1) OpenBSD

This is the industry's most safe general-purpose OS by default. The evidence is in the eating? Its rigorous safety and stringent auditing policies are clearly demonstrated by the fact that it only had two distant assault vulnerabilities in the past ten years. Additionally, OpenBSD doesn't have a sizable enough attack surface (due to its inability to run several web apps).

2) Linux

The Linux OS is the best. It can be configured to be reasonably secure when customized. The vulnerability fixing process in Linux is excellent.

The vulnerability fixing process in Linux is excellent. 

3) Mac OS X.

Although this OS from Apple manages user permissions more effectively than, say, Windows XP, it still has an unacceptable amount of security holes and remote exploits.

Because of its cutting-edge GUI and features, which render it among the greatest Linux-based operating systems, Parrot OS is today's go-to operating system (OS). It includes more than 200 utilities and scripts that are helpful to cyber security professionals in their daily job. Nmap, Nessus, and the Burp suite are highly useful work tools since they operate flawlessly, quickly, and efficiently under memory strain.

If you engage in computer security, you could start utilizing this operating system because it will lighten your workload and is quicker than other similar-based operating systems.