BlackArch Linux is an open source distribution of Linux derived from the lightweight and powerful Arch Linux operating system and designed from the ground up to be used by security professionals for penetration testing tasks.

Distributed as Live DVDs for mainstream architectures

While the distribution can be installed on top of an existing Arch Linux installation (see below for details), the main attraction are the Live DVDs, which support both 32-bit (i386) and 64-bit (x86_64) hardware platforms.

Standard boot loader à la Arch Linux

Except for the fact that it uses a custom background image with the BlackArch Linux logo, the boot loader includes the same boot entries as in the standard Arch Linux ISO images, allowing the user to boot the operating system, boot an existing OS, run a memory test, view detailed hardware information, as well as to reboot or shutdown the PC.

Includes a wide range of graphical sessions

While the default graphical session is powered by Fluxbox, the distro also includes the i3, WMii, Spectrwm, awesome, dwm and Openbox window managers. Keep in mind though, that you must first log in using the root/blackarch username/password combination.

Pentesting tools, lots of pentesting tools

There are a plethora of pentesting tools included in this distribution, gathered under the BlackArch menu entry and organized in numerous categories, including anti-forensic, debuggers, crackers, decompilers, backdoors, fuzzers, keyloggers, proxy, spoofing, sniffers, malware, wireless and disassemblers.

Easily transform a standard Arch Linux installation into BlackArch Linux

In order to transform your standard Arch Linux distribution into BlackArch Linux, you will need to modify your /etc/pacman.conf file and add the following repository at the end:


Server = /$repo/os/$arch

Replacing with the closest Arch Linux mirror to your location. Please visit the official website of the BlackArch Linux project for the PGP keys, which are needed if you want to install any of the BlackArch Linux packages.

Bottom line

All in all, BlackArch Linux is a very powerful penetration testing operating system that is always in sync with the latest packages from the official Arch Linux software repository. Besides BlackTrack and Kali Linux, which are based on Debian, you won’t find a better Arch Linux OS for pentesting.

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