You’ve heard of Kali Linux, right? If not, what you need to know is that Kali is one of the most powerful penetration testing platforms on the market. It’s a Linux distribution that can be installed and used for free to help you run just about every kind of network test imaginable.

But for some, running Kali would be so much easier if it could be integrated with the likes of Ubuntu. Guess what? It can! Thanks to an easy to use script, called Katoolin, you can install any of the Kali Linux tools right on Ubuntu.

Let me walk you through the process.

Installing Katoolin

This installation is done completely through the command line. The process goes something like this:

  1. Open a terminal window
  2. Install git with the command sudo apt-get install git
  3. Now, download Katoolin with the command sudo git clone
  4. Copy the katoolin executable to the proper directory with the command sudo cp katoolin/ /usr/bin/katoolin
  5. Give the executable proper permissions with sudo chmod ugo+x /usr/bin/katoolin

You are now ready to use Katoolin.


To run the software, open a terminal window, issue the command sudo katoolin, and the ncurses-based tool will present itself. Here you will see an easy-to-navigate menu structure that makes installing the bits and pieces of Kali Linux a breeze (Figure A).

Figure A

The Katoolin main menu.

The first thing you must do is install the repositories by tapping the 1 key on your keyboard and then hitting the [Enter] key. Once the repositories are added, you can view the categories of available software and install anything you like. You can also install the classicmenu indicator, which is a Ubuntu Unity panel indicator that serves as a standard application menu (and it will offer a category-based hierarchy of all software installed).

There is one caveat to using Katoolin. Not all of the software listed is actually available. If you go to View Categories and then enter 0 for all, the installer will immediately return to where you were. Scroll up, and you’ll see that a number of the packages can’t be found. My guess is that those packages are no longer maintained or have been removed from the Kali repositories. Even with this issue, you’ll still find a ton of the Kali software available for installation.

Your best bet is to go into each category and install the software one by one (Figure B).

Figure B

Installing from the Sniffing & Spoofing tools category.

If you’re looking to get some of the power of Kali Linux, but you don’t want to go to the trouble of doing a full distribution install, this handy script should get you where you need to go.

When you’re doing network and penetration testing, what tools do you turn to? Share your experience in the discussion thread below.