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How To Install Kali Linux On Android Smartphone

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Install Kali Linux on your Android device and develop a portable penetration testing environment

Kali Linux, a secure distribution of Linux, is one of the most widely used OS among ethical hackers  (and unethical hackers). The reason is that Kali Linux has almost every tool required for pentesting pre-installed. And a great back end support from Offensive Security make it a great platform for beginners as well as professionals. Kali Linux is a successor of BackTrack OS which was also developed by Offensive Security.

The developers at Offensive Security have been working extensively for developing a dedicated operating system for cyber-security researchers. Along with ARM devices, Kali Linux is available for Android too.

The installation process is very simple and straightforward. If you have a rooted Android phone having at least 5GB of free storage and a fast internet connection (to download repository files), then everything else is just a matter of few taps on your smartphone.

First of all install Linux Deploy app from Play Store.

Now make sure that your phone is in the required state for installation. That is, make sure that your phone is rooted, having 5GB of free space, an internet connection with decent speed (and you are patient enough to wait for Kali to bootstrap from the network).

Root privilege is required because Kali will install itself in chroot mode. Which means that allowed access will be restricted to specified directory (acting as root directory) and their children.

Step 2 is running the app, and selecting Kali Linux in the distribution tab. Optionally, you can choose your architecture, verify that the Kali mirror is correct, set your installation type and location on your Android device, etc. Generally speaking, the defaults provided by Linux Deploy are good to begin with.

Once all the settings are at place, hit the “install” button and app will start a Kali Linux bootstrap directly from repositories of Offensive Security. Depending on your Internet connection speed, this process could take a while. You’ll be downloading a base install of Kali Linux (with no tools) at minimum.

When the installation is complete, you can have Linux Deploy automatically mount and load up your Kali Linux chroot image. This also includes the starting of services such as SSH and VNC for easier remote access. All of this is automatically done by hitting the “start” button. You should see Linux Deploy setting up your image with output similar to the following:
Kali Linux

At this stage, Linux Deploy has started a VNC and SSH server inside your chrooted Kali image. You can connect to the Kali session remotely using the IP address assigned to your Android device (in my case, 10.0.0.10).

Logging In:

You can now access your Kali Linux instance with either VNC or Secure Shell(SSH). The required credentials are-
For VNC password is “changeme”
For SSH username is “android” and password is again “changeme”

This is what it all looks like on your device:

Linux localhost 3.4.5-447845 #1 SMP PREEMPT Fri Apr 12 17:22:34 KST 2013 armv7l
Kali GNU/Linux 1.0 [running on Android via Linux Deploy] [email protected]:~$ sudo su
[email protected]:/home/android# df
Filesystem 1K-blocks Used Available Use% Mounted on
/dev/loop3 4180944 667268 3304012 17% /
tmpfs 952708 80 952628 1% /dev
tmpfs 952708 0 952708 0% /dev/shm
[email protected]:/home/android#
[email protected]:/home/android# apt-get update
Hit http://http.kali.org kali Release.gpg
Hit http://http.kali.org kali Release
Hit http://http.kali.org kali/main Sources
Hit http://http.kali.org kali/contrib Sources
Hit http://http.kali.org kali/non-free Sources
Hit http://http.kali.org kali/main armel Packages
Hit http://http.kali.org kali/contrib armel Packages
Hit http://http.kali.org kali/non-free armel Packages
Ign http://http.kali.org kali/contrib Translation-en_US
Ign http://http.kali.org kali/contrib Translation-en
Ign http://http.kali.org kali/main Translation-en_US
Ign http://http.kali.org kali/main Translation-en
Ign http://http.kali.org kali/non-free Translation-en_US
Ign http://http.kali.org kali/non-free Translation-en
Reading package lists… Done
[email protected]:/home/android#

Memory Considerations:
If left unchanged, Linux Deploy will automatically set an image size of around 4 GB, for a “naked” installation of Kali. If you would like to install additional Kali tools down the road, you might want to consider using a larger image size, which is configurable via the settings in Linux Deploy.

Quick Tip: Prefer SSH over VNC while logging into your OS. This will save you a lot of time.

Post your further queries in the comment box to get them resolved.

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Abhishek Awasthi

Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection -Mark Twain. 

19 Comments

  1. Same problem here, tried many arm distros but vnc and ssh failes every time. I have VNC Viewer and Juice SSH .

  2. Hi after I installed Linux deploy when I start it says required an installed busybox can you help please .

    • Of course it is, but it’s not as amazing as it seems. First of all, you need a device with root access and busybox installed. This means you can do it on phones with locked bootloaders as well, which is great. However if your bootloader is locked then you won’t be able to flash custom kernel with cool drivers, which means that you can’t do things like plug in a wifi adapter via otg cable and use it for wifi stuff, or emulating a keyboard HID device, etc. Still you can use Kali in a limited fashion though, arp spoofing on mobile, spinning up a web server, dns server, or anything you want straight on your phone. If you can flash nethunter on your phone then that kernel comes with all of kinds of cool things which would let you do stuff you can’t with this setup. Still, this is about as close you can get to nethunter on a phone with a locked bootloader, I use this on my ATT Galaxy S7 Edge with Juice SSH and it works perfectly for a lot of things.

  3. ok harry, the first thing you need to learn if you “… want to become a hacker …” is that you have to have enough curiosity that you attempt to find out something regardless of time, effort or even money and other ‘tangible’ resources. Hacking isn’t just something you “do” it’s something you “are” and if you have to ask someone else, then you probably haven’t got what it takes to be a hacker anyway, simply because hacking is not easy.
    Using computer devices these days is so damned easy it’s ridiculous !!! And getting information these days is also damned easy, unfortunately this has bred a generation of the laziest bunch of scrotes this planet has ever seen ! Such qualities are definately not conducive to the hacker mentality. Hackers are highly motivated individuals, dedicated and indeed damned right obsessive when it comes to succeeding. Most people haven’t a clue as to what’s involved in becoming a hacker and if they did then they’d probably consider it to be horrendously boring, mostly due to the fact that becoming a hacker means becoming intimately familiar with whatever base of technology one wants to hack and that means learning that technology at least to technician standard but to be a half-decent hacker, a hacker worth his salt, well then we’re talking understanding a given technology to engineering standard. Most people, if they know someone capable of entering even the slightest level of hackerdom, they’ll ask a really dumb question like “so why don’t you hack into a bank ?”. The simple answer to this is “Well, I’m not a “dick” !” but a more informative answer would be “Well, if you mean to steal their money, it’d be easier to show them (the bank) how you could hack their bank and then get the bank to give you their money freely by implementing preventative measures so that the bank is protected from the likes of hackers, because that way you don’t have to cover your tracks, which is harder than getting in in the first place.”.
    Do you use computers Harry ? If so then get a copy of virtualbox, install it on your machine and use it to create a virtual machine for something like ubuntu or linux mint. Have a mess about on it, learn how to use it, take time to use the C.L.I. (command line interface), the windows equivalent being the Command Prompt. Then install GNS3 and connect the two (gns3 and virtualbox) together. Use GNS3 to muck about with cisco devices. Don’t have any cisco IOS images ? Fine, use a proxy to connect to a torrent site and see what’s available. This way, not only will you learn about operating systems and hardware, but you’ll also learn something about networks and security. If this is too much trouble for you then you haven’t got what it takes to become a hacker, simply because what I’ve just described doesn’t even scratch the surface of what it takes to get into hacking and if you’re not willing to put that much effort in, then there’s no way you’re going to be able to stick it out long enough to be able to hack. Anyone who thinks hacking is a get rich quick scheme is an idiot. I’ll tell you how “quick” getting rich is by hacking, shall I ? By the time you acquire enough knowledge to deserve the moniker “hacker” you’ve already developed enough skills and knowledge to make more than a decent living out of computers. If all you’re after is money, forget it, there’s a lot easier ways to get money than hacking.
    So, have I put you off hacking ? No ? Right, well following the above will put you on track !

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