Ethical hacking is a great way to unleash your inner Mr. Robot. And what better way to develop these skills than with the help of one of the best hacking tools?

We are talking about Kali Linux on your Raspberry Pi 3! Raspberry Pi 3 running Kali Linux is surprisingly dangerous to hack. The tiny computer is cheap, powerful and versatile.

In fact, Kali Linux comes with everything you need to expand your ethical hacking skills. This is how you boot Kali Linux on Raspberry Pi 3.

What is Kali Linux?

Kali Linux is a Linux distribution based on Debian. Kali Linux is primarily used for security research, penetration testing, and security auditing, though it also has more nefarious uses.

That being said, Kali comes with hundreds of specialized security tools that professionals use for digital forensics, investigations, infiltrations, malware analysis, reverse engineering, and more.

Kali Linux is a powerful tool in the right hands. But it’s also a useful tool for (almost) anyone who wants to learn more about security.

What you need

To complete this Kali Linux on Raspberry Pi 3 tutorial, you will need the following hardware:

  • Raspberry Pi 3 (although builds are available for Raspberry Pi 1, 2 and Zero)
  • 8 GB (or more) class 10 microSD with full size SD adapter
  • network cable
  • HDMI cable
  • 5V 2A MicroUSB power supply
  • USB keyboard and USB mouse

You need an HDMI cable to connect your Raspberry Pi running Kali Linux to your monitor to make sure everything is set up correctly. A USB keyboard and USB mouse are essential for interacting with Kali Linux after installation. Once you’re fully up and running, it’s possible to set up a remote connection to access and use Kali, but for now, ethernet connectivity and regular peripherals are easier to get the hang of.

Need help with this lesson? Watch our video below for a complete step by step guide to installing Kali Linux on Raspberry Pi 3:

Step 1: Install Kali Linux on Raspberry Pi 3

Go to the Kali Linux ARM images download page and open the dropdown Raspberry Pi Foundation . Then choose a link Kali Linux Raspberry Pi 2 and 3 (you can move the file if you want). Find the Kali Linux folder, open it and extract the Kali Linux compressed archive (file extension .XZ ) to the same folder.

Next, you need to burn the Kali Linux image to your microSD card. To do this, you’ll need an image capture tool like Etcher, which you can find on There are many tools for making bootable disks, but in this case I would suggest using Rufus. Go to the Rufus download page, then download and install the image capture utility.

Insert a microSD card into your system. Open Rufus. Select a drive letter for the microSD card under » Device» . Find the location of the Kali Linux image using the button SELECT . Make sure that Quick Format selected, then click » Start» and wait for the data to be written.

When done, remove the microSD card and grab your Raspberry Pi 3 — time for the next step!

Step 2: Boot into Kali Linux on Raspberry Pi 3

Insert a microSD card into your Raspberry Pi 3. Insert an HDMI cable and an Ethernet cable, and a USB keyboard and USB mouse. Finally, plug in the microUSB cable to turn on your Raspberry Pi 3.

The boot process shouldn’t take too long, but the screen may flicker and go blank in dots. The default login username is root, and the password is toor .

Update Kali Linux

Before you start exploring countless security programs, you should check for updates. The operating system should automatically connect to the Internet using an Ethernet cable.

Right click on the desktop and select » Open a new terminal» then enter the following commands:

apt-get update apt-get upgrade apt-get dist-upgrade 

These commands update the Kali installation. Unfortunately, the update and upgrade process takes a few minutes, but it’s important. If you would like to remotely communicate with your Kali Raspberry Pi, please proceed to the next section of the guide.

linux terminal update

Step 3: Install OpenSSH for Remote Connections

You don’t want to plug your Kali Linux Raspberry Pi into a monitor every time you want to use it. No, it’s not exactly practical.

Instead, you can install OpenSSH to allow us to connect and run commands on the device. remotely. You can follow this aspect of the tutorial while your Raspberry Pi is connected to your monitor (so you can see what you’re doing).

Enter the following commands in a terminal to install the OpenSSH server:

 apt-get install openssh-server update-rc.d -f ssh remove update-rc.d -f ssh defaults 

Next, you need to remove the default encryption keys. Because they are default keys, they are an easy-to-remove vulnerability. The following commands create a new directory where the old keys will be uploaded when creating a set of new SSH keys in the process.

 cd /etc/ssh/ mkdir oldkeys mv ssh_host* oldkeys dpkg-reconfigure openssh-server 

Now you need to set up your SSH login information. Edit the OpenSSH configuration file in nano:

 nano /etc/ssh/sshd_config 

You are looking for one line:

 PermitRootLogin without-password 

Change it to:

 PermitRootLogin yes 

Navigate to the configuration data file using the arrow keys or the mouse. Click ctrl + o to save any changes, and ctrl+X, to return to the terminal. If the setting is already set to «Yes», do not change anything.

Now you can check if the OpenSSH service is running using the following command:

 sudo service ssh restart update-rc.d -f ssh enable 2 3 4 5 

If the service is not running, start it with the following command:

 sudo service ssh start 

Now check the internet configuration of your Kali Linux Raspberry Pi 3 by entering the following command:


Write down the IP address of your Raspberry Pi 3 — you’ll need it in a minute. If your team ifconfig does not display your Raspberry Pi, run the following command to make sure network services are running:

 sudo apt-get install net-tools 

Then run the command ifconfig and copy the Raspberry Pi’s IP address.

Step 4: Add Your Personal Message of the Day

When you log into your Raspberry Pi 3 with Kali Linux using OpenSSH, you will be greeted with a «Message of the Day» banner. You can edit the Message of the Day (MOTD) to display a personalized message.

I went with a very simple welcome message, but you can illustrate your hacker credentials with an Ascii image via this converter. Go ahead, get creative!

When you’re done, use the following command to open the MOTD setup screen:

 nano /etc/motd 

Copy and paste your message, then save and exit by clicking Ctrl+O then Ctrl + X

Step 5: Check your SSH login

Finally, you need to make sure your SSH login is up and running. For this you need an SSH client. Microsoft added native support for OpenSSH to Windows 10 in the April 2018 Windows 10 Update, which means you no longer need a third-party SSH client to connect to an SSH server.

Click Windows key + I then go to Applications > Manage advanced features . Scroll down the list and check for availability OpenSSH Client . If it’s not there, scroll back up and select Add feature find OpenSSH Client and then install . The installation process only takes a minute.

apps and features for windows 10

Then press the key Windows+X then select » Command line» («Administrator») in the food menu. The OpenSSH client is already active, so enter the following command using the IP address copied from the Raspberry Pi:

 ssh root@[your IP address] 

Press Enter, then enter your password (all equals, until you change it). Your MOTD will be happy to welcome you to your Kali Linux Raspberry Pi!

Start with ethical hacking

Now that you’re up and running with Kali Linux Raspberry Pi 3, you can learn more about ethical hacking using the many tools available on the operating system.

Just remember that you should only practice hacking on your home network, on devices that you own and that can legally try to hack. Otherwise, you could become a world famous hacker on the wrong side of the law.

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