I've been using Backtrack for a while now. I was wondering if there is anything better, or on par with, that is worth looking into. Thoughts?
First thought - what is it you need?
If it is a wide set of general purpose tools then yes, Backtrack does come with a wide set of tools, but it doesn't do everything. Other options:
Darknet have a top ten LiveCD distros from 2008 - some of which have since died, but is a good place to start.
The russix LiveCD was ideal for Wireless Penetration Testing - but I think it has been discontinued for a while.
Helix is a forensics and incident response toolkit. Some penetration testing functionality, but the core focus is forensics.
I use all 3 of the above plus other tools - depends on what is needed, and to be honest, having each one on a USB stick or a CD/DVD is pretty easy to carry about.
- If you want really lightweight distros, look at @atdre's answers to this question.
If your looking to do web testing samurai has a large amount of web testing tools. However iv never got the automatic scanners working fully, but it does have loads of other useful tools like burpsuite and firefox with a bunch of addons preinstalled.
I do agree that it is best to select the tools that you need but these suites are a good base to build on.
I've tested many of them (for many different purpose) and my answer is, that it's pretty cool to have a pentest distro such as backtrack when you start pen-testing, but in the end it's better to pick your own tools up (depending on the job), otherwise there are many tools that you'll never use.
btw another good one was gnacktrack (but they stopped it due to BT5, but some tools where in GNT and not anymore in BT5)
Helix (Forensic) 3.0 is available for download , but it is not free.
One current up-and-coming pen testing distros is Blackbuntu. There's an active dev group focused on it now and it's definitely worth giving a look.