Linux is an open-source operating system (OS) that shares many similarities with UNIX. It is the most popular OS used in mainframe, servers and super computers, thanks to its multiple-user functionality and multitasking capabilities. Linux, while not as common as Windows, can be found on many personal computers and mobile devices today. Android, the world's most popular mobile operating system, is Linux-based. Originally Linux was not able to run many applications that were designed specifically for Windows environments. But in recent years, developers have worked to ensure that most Windows applications and games can also be run in Linux environments. Linux is a popular target OS for hackers and malicious attackers. This is because Linux is open-source software and the code, which can be easily revised and customized, is available to all developers. Linux hacking can be categorized into two groups – friendly and hostile. The friendly type involves users who want to customize Linux code in order to make it better by improving its functionality. The second type of Linux hacking is malicious hacking. This involves malicious attackers who use hacking tools to tweak Linux code with the purpose of gaining unauthorized access to steal data and perform other types of harmful manipulations. Tools for Linux hacking There are numerous Linux hacking tools available for download on the internet. For malicious attackers, the most common toolsets include:
- Password crackers: Password cracking software, as the name implies, is used to crack passwords. These tools can take encrypted hashes and perform a brute-force attack on them to decode the encryption. These password crackers may also come packaged with additional functionality like network packet detection and sniffing. These tools are typically used by "script kiddies," users that are not knowledgeable enough about coding to create their own tools to gain unauthorized access to systems and networks.
- Network scanners: Malicious attackers can use network scanners to gather information and map out a network in order to determine the best method of attack against it. Network scanners can often determine additional details such as firewall information, OS information and software programs being used.
- Vulnerability scanners: Vulnerability scanners are typically used by network administrators to ensure that their networks are secure from vulnerabilities. However, malicious attackers use the same tools to find vulnerabilities in networks and systems that have not been properly patched or updated. These scanners can also be used to discover configuration flaws, detect passwords and perform Denial of Service (DoS) attacks.