How to Install Kali Linux on Virtualbox (Step by Step Tutorial)

How to Install Kali Linux on Virtualbox (Step by Step Tutorial). Primarily speaking, Kali Linux is a Debian based Linux system built for penetration testing that is particularly beneficial for the security of both professionals and beginners. Installing Kali as a Virtual Machine (VM) on VirtualBox is best. More to add, it has established a reputation as one of the best, with over 600 preinstalled penetration testing apps. 

This guide fully introduces you to the cyber security tool that is Kali Linux with its features and challenges. But, more importantly, there is a tutorial on how a user can install Kali Linux on VirtualBox as a virtual machine (VM). 

What is Kali Linux?

All in all, Kali Linux, formerly known as BackTrack Linux, an open source, Debian based Linux distribution developed for advanced Penetration Testing and Security Auditing

Besides, Kali Linux developed by Offensive Security, is a company that primarily focuses on cyber security training and certification, and it first appeared in 2013. The security module from Backtrack Linux was utilized by Offensive Security, which was then further developed into the Debian based Kali Linux.

Additionally, Advanced Security Auditing and Penetration Testing are the critical functions of Kali Linux. Numerous tools that are part of the OS are used to carry out activities such as computer forensics, penetration testing, information security, and security research.

Furthermore, Kali Linux has a rolling release model, ensuring up to date tools on your system. Information security uses Kali Linux for free as a multi platform solution. With an active user community, there is always a continuing assistance.

Benefits of Kali Linux

  • Completely Free. In addition, it aggregates thousands of free software packages in its central section, even if you don’t have a license. 
  • Over 600 Penetration Testing Tools.
  • Multi language Support.

Kali Linux Challenges

Users should be aware of the following Kali Linux drawbacks:

  • Some Tools are not available and process is a little slow: Kali Linux is a bit slower than other distributions because it uses many resources for penetration testing tools. Some tools available in other distributions, such as Fedora and Ubuntu, are unavailable in Kali Linux. 
  • Security vulnerabilities and inefficient for all hardware: Kali Linux is not suitable for all hardware. For example, some devices, such as smartphones and tablets, cannot run Kali Linux. Also, since it’s Debian based, it has the same bugs and security vulnerabilities as that operating system. 

How to Install Kali Linux on Virtualbox

It is necessary to ensure that your system has a virtual environment. VirtualBox, an open source, user friendly virtualization program, is used in this article. 

Other requirements, besides VirtualBox, include having at least 20 GB of disk space and at least 1 GB of RAM for i386 and amd64 architectures, preferably 2. 

Step 1: Download Kali Linux ISO Image

Obtain Kali Linux .iso images in the downloads section of the Kali Linux website. Every few months, these images are updated with the most recent official releases. Find the packages available for download by going to the Kali Linux Downloads page. Download either the 64-Bit or 32-Bit version, depending on your computer type.

Step 2: Create a Kali Linux VirtualBox Container

Create a new virtual machine after downloading the .iso file, then add Kali as the operating system. Once you’ve finished, follow these guidelines:

  1. Open VirtualBox Manager, then select the “New” button.
  1. A pop up window with the name and operating system appears for generating a new VM. Name and destination folder details are required. Also, depending on the name you supply, the Type and Version change automatically. Click Next after making sure the data corresponds to the downloaded package.
  1. Select the amount of memory to give the virtual computer, then click Next. 1024 MB is the default configuration for Linux. This, however, varies based on your particular demands and the new VM’s virtual drive is created by default. To proceed, click “Create” or alternatively, you also use a virtual hard drive file that already exists or decide not to add one.
  1. When using the new virtual hard disk, VDI, stick with the default file type (VirtualBox Disk Image). Then, to proceed, click “Next”.
  1. Here, choose between dynamically allocated and fixed size storage on a physical hard disk. With the first option, the new hard disk expands and occupies all the space allotted. The second, fixed size, starts with the maximum capacity available. Click “Next”.
  1. Following that, indicate the name and location of the virtual hard disk. Decide how much data from files the virtual machine can hold on the hard drive. We suggest providing it with at least 8 gigabytes. To complete, click “Create”.

Now, you have created a new Virtual Machine (VM).  hence, the VirtualBox Manager lists the VM.

Step 3: Setting up a Virtual Machine

The default virtual machine settings will now need to be changed:

  1. Select a virtual machine and select the Settings icon. Ensure you marked the correct VM and that the right hand side displays details for Kali Linux.
  1. Navigate to the General > Advanced tab in the Kali Linux Settings box. Change the “Shared Clipboard” and “Drag’n’Drop” options to “Bidirectional”. Using this capability, you also copy and paste between the host and guest computers.
  1. Head over to system> Motherboard. The hard disk should boot after the optical drive in the specified boot sequence. As it is not required, deselect Floppy.
  1. Then, switch to the Processor tab in the same window. To improve performance, increase the number of processors to 2.
  1. Lastly, go to Storage settings and put the Kali image you downloaded on a storage device listed under Controller: IDE. To search for the image, click the disk symbol. Close the Settings window after you’re done.
  1. Press the Start icon to begin installing Kali.

Step 4: Setting Up and Installing Kali Linux

Once you select Start to boot the installation menu, the Kali welcome screen comes in a new VM VirtualBox window.

In order to install Kali Linux in VirtualBox, select the Graphical install option and follow the on-screen instructions:

  1. Select the System’s default language (which will also be the language used during the installation process).
  1. Choose country from the list (or choose “other”).
  1. Decide which keymap to use. In most cases, the best option is to select American English.
  1. Enter a hostname for the system and click Continue.
  1. Develop a domain name (the part of your internet address after your hostname). Typically, domain names finish in .com,.net,.edu, etc. Ensure that all of your machines are using the same domain name.
  1. Set up users and passwords. Create a strong root password for the system administrator account.
  1. Also, set up the clock. Pick your time zone from the list of choices.
  1. After that, choose the partitioning scheme for the hard drive and select “Guided – use whole disk” unless you have a strong reason to do it manually. 
  1. Decide which disk you wish to partition. Choose SCSI3 (0,0,0) (sda) – 68.7 GB ATA VBOK HARDDISK, since it is the only option available (the details after the dash varies depending on your virtualization software).
  1. Please, then choose a partitioning scheme. If you are a first time user, select All files in one partition. The wizard also provides an overview of the partitions that have been configured, and you continue by going to the Finish partitioning and writing changes to the disk option. Continue by pressing the Yes button.

Continue the Installation Steps

  1. After that, the wizard starts the installation of Kali. Additional setup options appear while the installation bar is loading.
  1. Set up the package manager. Choose whether or not to use a network mirror, then click Continue. If you’re using an HTTP proxy, enter it here. Otherwise, leave the field blank and press the Continue button again.
  1. Install the GRUB bootloader on a hard disk. Select Yes and Continue. Then, select a bootloader device to ensure the newly installed system is bootable. Once you receive the installation message, click Continue to reboot your VM.

You’ve now successfully set up Kali Linux in VirtualBox. The Kali login screen shows upon a reboot. Enter the root username and password that you chose in the earlier steps.

Finally, Kali Linux’s interface shows up on your screen.

Thank you for reading How to Install Kali Linux on Virtualbox (Step by Step Tutorial)

How to Install Kali Linux on Virtualbox (Step by Step Tutorial) Conclusion

Summing up, one of the most user-friendly and powerful operating systems is Kali Linux. 

Right now you should have a good understanding of installing Kali Linux on a virtual computer and you’re ready to start exploring it. We also discussed preparation and configuration before beginning security and penetration testing. 

However, the most important thing you should take away from this guide is to remember to use this information responsibly. Obtaining unauthorized access to another’s computer system or systems is illegal under the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act. Therefore, please use the knowledge gained from this guide responsibly.

Avatar for Kamso Oguejiofor
Kamso Oguejiofor

Kamso is a mechanical engineer and writer with a strong interest in anything related to technology. He has over 2 years of experience writing on topics like cyber security, network security, and information security. When he’s not studying or writing, he likes to play basketball, work out, and binge watch anime and drama series.

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