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I am really interested in the chances of BackTrack. I can't really use it but there are many videos on the web which show that you can crack WiFi with it, etc... But against these illegal things, can you prevent attacks with it also? Or is there a better OS for this?

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closed as not constructive by Terry Chia, AJ Henderson, Jeff Ferland Apr 1 '13 at 4:55

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up vote 9 down vote accepted

Quick side-note: BT5 is no longer the latest - you should look into Kali Linux.

There is no "best" OS for testing. You should always choose the tool that's most appropriate for the job.

A few thoughts:

  • The OSes designed for penetration testing are usually laden with tools, which is nice and convenient, but tend not to be designed for long-term stability.
  • You may be doing tests on a Windows application, which means Windows is probably the best option. Again, it's about selecting the right tool.
  • There is no "right" OS / distro. Everyone has their own opinions and preferences. I personally like Debian and Windows 7 on a dual-boot setup, but I know people who use Arch, Mint, Fedora, Ubuntu, Gentoo, and OS X.
  • There's also no "right" OS for deploying apps. It all depends on your requirements. On a low-end box you might look into DSL or a similar lightweight distro. Hardened Gentoo with the grsec/PaX kernel patches is solid as a rock against native exploits when configured properly, and can be very strong against all kinds of other attacks when supporting software packages (e.g. iptables, fail2ban, snort, etc.) are installed, but it's a full time job just trying to keep a system like that up to date and running smoothly. On the other hand, Debian is a decent server platform, and is pretty easy to set up and maintain, and can also run the same kinds of security software packages. It's all about choosing the right OS for your particular requirements.
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