The developers of the Linux distribution Kali Linux released the first new version in 2021 as part of the quarterly update cycle. Kali Linux 2021.1 brings the standard desktop environment Xfce up to date and also updates KDE Plasma as an offered alternative.
The Debian-based Kali Linux is primarily aimed at an IT security-savvy audience and comes with a large selection of pre-installed tools for vulnerability analysis and forensics, for example. In 2021.1 new tools are on board again – and the new “Command-Not-Found” feature, which helps to find existing tools or tools that need to be installed manually. There are also updates for the mobile Kali variant NetHunter and, for the first time, Kali-VMS for Macs with an Apple Silicon processor (M1).
Refreshed desktops, “calibrated” terminals and more
Kali Linux 2021.1 comes with the current Xfce 4.16, which was released at the end of 2020. Alternatively, plasma can be used, which is included in version 5.20 (the current version is KDE Plasma 5.21, which was released last week). Various terminal emulators and multiplexers have also been visually updated: xfce4-terminal, tmux, tilix, konsole, qterminal and mate-terminal have received the typical Kali kite design.
If you want to adapt Kali optically even more to your own taste, you can access freshly revised wallpaper packages (kali-wallpapers-2020.4, kali-wallpapers-2019.4, kali-wallpapers-legacy, kali-wallpapers-all, kali-community-wallpapers), whose Xfce support the developers say they have improved.
New tools and a search aid
The new Kali version brings a total of 12 new tools from the Kali team, but also from external developers. Among them are about Airgeddon for WLAN audits, GitLeaks, with which you can scan GitHub repositories for sensitive information or WordlistRaider, a tool for preselecting the content of existing word lists for brute force attacks. A complete overview of all tools can be found in the release notes in the last section of this message.
The Kali team occasionally changes the selection of pre-installed tools in different versions of the distribution. To make it easier for users to search for existing tools, but also for tools that are not included and have to be installed later, there is now “Command-not-Found”. This is an auxiliary function of the command line that provides alternative suggestions for “typing errors” in tool names (“did you mean …?”). If the respective tool is missing, a message about the package to be installed is displayed.
With a fresh installation of Kali Linux 2021.1, the new function is included. The same applies when switching from older versions if users use the bash shell. If, on the other hand, ZSH is used, as has been the case as standard since version 2020.4, it must be reworked manually. The release notes reveal how this works.
Kali Linux 2021.1: Download and further information
A complete overview of all innovations is provided by the
If you want to reinstall Kali Linux 2021.1, Find 32- and 64-bit ISOs on the Kali Linux download site including the new Apple M1-ARM socket. The page also contains references to VMware, VirtualBox and ARM images as well as the so-called “Weekly Builds” of Kali Linux. The target group for this are curious people who are not afraid of one or the other possible bug.
Kali Linux Nethunter has its own dedicated download site. The updated version of the mobile Kali variant includes an update of the “Busy Box” component and the tools (including “Rucky”); there is also a new boot animation to choose from. The release notes also reveal further details here.