BackTrack is a security-focused Ubuntu Linux based distribution that is loaded with all the best Free Software penetration testing applications available.  The latest edition is code-named Revolution, and the newest update release BackTrack 5 R3.

The distro designed for penetration testers and other security professionals.  Allows users to have security tools preloaded without having to worry about installing and configuring ALL the tools needed.  The distro is great for anyone who wants to mess with all the best security and penetration testing applications the free software community has to offer.

It is made available for public download as DVD ISO installation image and supports both 32 and 64-bit architectures. And there are installation images for KDE and the GNOME desktop environments.  The distro is not really designed for your average user the system will not boot into a graphical desktop environment, but rather, into a console. You will then have to start the graphical interface.

The install is exactly like the Ubuntu Desktop edition installer and I mean close in sense 99% of people would not know the difference.   You can download an ISO and burn to CD or create a bootable usb jump drive either way the install itself is easy.  The only issue I have read about is putting the boot partition on a separate partition.

The only thing bad about the desktop is Firefox.  Firefox comes pre-loaded with addons that offer additional security when you are busy surfing.  So I installed chrome just to make like easy.

The security tools themselves are broken into 12 categories

  • Information gathering
  • Vulnerability assessment
  • Exploitation tools
  • Privilege escalation
  • Maintaining access
  • Reverse engineering
  • RFID tools
  • Stress testing
  • Forensics
  • Reporting tools
  • Services
  • Miscellaneous

Though intended for users with more knowledge of managing and navigating a Linux system the graphical management applications that you will find in backtrack is nice and looks a lot like Ubuntu software center.  I have found that certain packages I have to add to the sources.list in order to install but that is not a big deal considering using nano is very simple. (I prefer nano over VI anyday.)

If you own a company that has to store important data then it is vital for you to have a tool like this. That way your security people can be sure that they are testing your network with the same tools that the bad guys are using.

You will find that if you are a computer security consultant that there is no better tool to use than Backtrack. It has all of your favorite tools in one place ready for you to use.  One of the big pushes for this distro is a lot of security literature designed for security certifications have adopted this distro into their training material and books.  Making this distribution a corner stone in the security business.