Headless Kali Linux Setup on Raspberry Pi 4

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Kali Linux Raspberry Pi 4 Setup

I have tested Kali Linux on the new Raspberry Pi 4 8 GB model and everything works really well. The bootloader for Kali works despite the changes made in the Pi 4’s boot process.

Performance feels really great. The full 8 GB is addressable in Kali Linux and the storage upgrades in the Pi 4 make usage feel really smooth.

Hardware

Raspberry Pi 4
Raspberry Pi 4

The Raspberry Pi 4 is available in different memory configurations all the way up to 8 GB. It’s about the size of a credit card and uses an extremely low amount of power making it ideal for all sorts of projects and ideas!

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SanDisk Extreme A1
SanDisk Extreme A1

The SanDisk Extreme A1-A2 SD card has the best scoring SD card on pibenchmarks.com for years and is second in popularity only to the SanDisk Ultra (often included in combo kits). The application class (A1) means random I/O speeds (very important when running an OS) have to meet a higher standard. There’s no benefit on the Pi for A2 right now so get whichever is cheaper/available.

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Instructions

Download Image

Head to Kali’s official ARM images page at: https://www.offensive-security.com/kali-linux-arm-images/. Make sure you download one that specifically states that it supports Raspberry Pi 4. At time of writing that is “Kali Linux Raspberry Pi 2, 3 and 4 32 bit”.

I recommend using the official Raspberry Pi Imaging tool to write the image to your Pi’s SD card. It’s available for Windows, Mac and Linux! Once you’ve downloaded the image you can write it to the Pi’s SD card with this utility and it will take care of a lot of problems that can come up when you try to image it with dd or Etcher or other utilities.

Prepare Hardware

Write the image to a SD card as you normally would. When finished connect the Pi’s ethernet port and insert the SD card into the Raspberry Pi 4.

Now power everything up.

Connect to Pi using SSH

Since this is a headless setup we will connect to the Pi using SSH to avoid having to connect a keyboard/monitor.

Once your Pi boots up and gets an IP address open PuTTY or any other SSH program and SSH into your Pi’s IP address. The default credentials are login “root” and password “toor”.

Update Kali

The first thing we should do is update our Kali distribution. Type

sudo apt update && sudo apt dist-upgrade -y

Once everything has finished reboot your Raspberry Pi to fully apply all of the latest updates.

(Optional) Install Kali Linux Full

By default the image only comes with a subset of everything available in the Kali distribution. Installing all of these can take some bandwidth/time so make sure you have a decent size/quality SD card and a good internet connection before upgrading to the full version.

If you want to install all tools and achieve a “Kali Linux Full” installation type now type:

sudo apt-get install kali-linux-full

Benchmarking / Testing Storage

If you want to verify your drive’s performance you may want to run my storage benchmark with:

sudo curl https://raw.githubusercontent.com/TheRemote/PiBenchmarks/master/Storage.sh | sudo bash

If you search for the model of your drive on pibenchmarks.com you can compare your score with others and make sure the drive is performing correctly!

(Optional) USB Mass Storage Device Booting (with a SSD for example)

Check out my Pi 4 USB booting guide and follow the same instructions

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