Without a doubt, Kali has established itself as the most popular penetration distribution. However, just because it is the fan favorite of beginners and security researchers, it is not suitable for everyone. Manjaro Linux is a beginner-friendly, arch-based distribution that is easy to arm with the Black Arch extension, and a friendlier arch experience for the first time allows forums and IRC channels for several years. Hackers and Pentesters often discuss which operating system is the most intuitive and easy-to-use, and which has the superior collection of curated hacking tools.
Beginners often wonder what hacking distribution is right for them, and wonder if choosing between ParrotSec and Kali is the best choice to get started. Arch Linux is widely regarded as a powerful distribution, but is not particularly beginner-friendly. Let's explore a simpler way for beginners to hack with Manjaro Linux on an arch-based system.
What is Manjaro?
Manjaro is an easy-to-use, beginner-friendly Linux distribution based on Arch Linux. A state-of-the-art, lightweight distribution with the philosophy of "keep it simple". Setting up Arch can be intimidating, as it requires a deeper understanding of creating Linux systems than other distributions, but Manjaro accepts the expense and complexity of installing arch. Manjaro also has a excellent community of experienced arch users who are eager to answer beginner questions.
BlackArch has more than 2,200 indexed tools on its website. Kali currently has around 365 tools. BlackArch offers a larger collection of software that curious penetration testers can experiment with. You could spend a whole weekend testing hundreds of exciting tools while still not scratching the surface of what BlackArch has to offer.
This article is a quick guide for anyone looking to improve their user-friendly Manjaro distribution by adding weapons to some penetration test applications for their operating system. This is an excellent experience for those who want to get out of their comfort zone and experiment with BlackArch tools.
XFCE is a compact desktop environment. The goal is to be fast and resource-saving, while still being visually appealing and user-friendly. This creates a comfortable experience for users who are new to BlackArch. This also means that our CPU and RAM are not that hard to render when using XFCE.
KDE is a feature rich and versatile desktop environment that offers an advanced graphical desktop and a multitude of applications. Although KDE is very user-friendly and undoubtedly eye-catching, it is also quite resource-intensive and noticeably slower than a desktop environment like XFCE.
GNOME, which is also Kali's standard desktop environment, is said to be simple and easy to use. While the look is unique, it remains very customizable with a variety of extensions available. Like KDE, it uses more system resources than XFCE.
In general, I prefer desktop environments that use as little system resources as possible. This allows me to focus on the task at hand, without worrying about my laptop fan getting out of control as seven terminals, two browsers, three messengers and minesweepers are open at the same time.
XFCE is the clear choice For those who prefer efficiency over conspicuity and want to run a dozen applications in the background. On the other hand, if you have the fastest CPU on the market and 128 GB of RAM, you can safely use KDE without any consequences.
On Unix-like operating systems, you can use wget Download the ISO file by typing the following command in a terminal. Make sure you use the correct download link for the link you have selected.
The main disadvantage of BlackArch's OVA is the file size of 18 GB. I'm not sure if security researchers looking to test BlackArch for the first time will be thrilled to download a huge 18GB file. Another potential disadvantage is that BlackArch does not use XFCE, KDE, or GNOME by default. It uses Fluxbox, a much more DIY desktop environment than GNOME. Native Kali users are unlikely to find a Fluxbox desktop environment instantly intuitive or comfortable.
Step 2: Install Manjaro
I use the latest Manjaro XFCE ISO and install it in VirtualBox. Since we only test BlackArch today, using a virtual machine seems appropriate.
Start VirtualBox and click "New" to create a new VM. VirtualBox prompts you to name the VM and select a type and version. Be sure to use "Linux" as type and "Arch Linux" as version . Then click on "Next" to continue.
Here you must assign the BlackArch VM memory (RAM). 2048 MB equals 2 GB of RAM. Assigning 2048 MB is generally sufficient to run a VM without notice of hardware limitations. If you have 16 GB (or more) of memory on your computer, it's probably safe to allocate 4096 MB or more.
When you've decided how much memory to allocate to the BlackArch VM, click Next to continue.
Click "Build" to create our new virtual disk.
Next, set the disk type as "VDI (VirtualBox Disk Image)". This way we can use our new BlackArch VM on other computers with VirtualBox if we want to move VMs in the future. Just click "Next" to continue.
Now set the memory on the physical disk to "dynamically assigned". This is a great feature of VirtualBox. This allows the BlackArch VM to allocate space on the hard disk drive (HDD) as needed. Dynamically allocated disks only consume space on your physical disk when it is full. If our BlackArch VM initially requires 5GB of storage and later grows to 15GB after installing more tools, that's fine. A dynamically allocated disk grows as needed. Click Next to continue.