What Operating Systems Do Hackers Use?

Operating systems play a pivotal role in the world of hacking and cybersecurity. While ethical hackers work to protect systems and networks, malicious hackers use various operating systems to carry out cyberattacks. In this article, we will explore some of the operating systems favored by hackers and their unique attributes that make them valuable tools for carrying out both legal and illegal activities.

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  1. Kali Linux:

Kali Linux is one of the most popular and widely used operating systems among ethical hackers and penetration testers. It is a Debian-based distribution specifically designed for digital forensics, penetration testing, and security auditing. Kali Linux comes equipped with a vast collection of pre-installed tools for various hacking and security testing tasks. Its comprehensive suite of tools, along with its open-source nature, makes it a favorite among cybersecurity professionals.

  1. Parrot Security OS:

Parrot Security OS is another Debian-based operating system that is gaining traction within the cybersecurity community. Like Kali Linux, it offers a wide array of pre-installed tools for vulnerability assessment, penetration testing, and digital forensics. One of the standout features of Parrot Security OS is its focus on user privacy and anonymity. It provides users with a range of security tools and a secure, privacy-focused desktop environment.

  1. BackBox (100 words):

BackBox is an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution designed for penetration testing and security assessment. While it may not be as well-known as Kali Linux or Parrot Security OS, it has gained a dedicated following in the cybersecurity field. BackBox is equipped with a collection of essential tools for network analysis, web application testing, and vulnerability assessment. It provides a streamlined and efficient environment for ethical hackers and security professionals.

  1. Windows:

Surprisingly, Windows is also used by hackers, especially for less conspicuous activities. Some hackers use Windows-based tools and applications to carry out cyberattacks due to the widespread availability of software, hardware compatibility, and ease of use. Malicious hackers may leverage Windows to exploit vulnerabilities in the operating system itself, as well as in Windows-based applications.

  1. macOS:

Apple’s macOS is another operating system that can be used by hackers, although it is less common compared to Windows and Linux. macOS is preferred for its Unix-based architecture, which provides a robust command-line interface and powerful scripting capabilities. Hackers may use macOS for tasks such as network penetration testing and scripting. However, macOS is less frequently associated with malicious hacking activities compared to other operating systems.

  1. Android:

For hackers targeting mobile devices, the Android operating system is a common choice. Android’s open nature and extensive app ecosystem provide opportunities for both ethical and malicious hacking. Hackers may create and distribute malicious apps, exploit vulnerabilities in the Android OS, or use Android-based devices for penetration testing and security assessments.

  1. Tails:

The Amnesic Incognito Live System, or Tails, is a privacy-focused Linux distribution designed for secure and anonymous internet use. It is a popular choice for activists, journalists, and individuals seeking anonymity online. While it is not a typical hacking OS, Tails can be used by ethical hackers and security professionals for conducting research and maintaining privacy while performing security assessments.


Hackers use a range of operating systems to carry out their activities, both for ethical security testing and malicious cyberattacks. The choice of operating system depends on the specific goals and expertise of the hacker. Ethical hackers primarily rely on specialized Linux distributions, such as Kali Linux and Parrot Security OS, while malicious hackers may exploit the vulnerabilities of widely-used operating systems like Windows and Android. Understanding these preferred operating systems is essential for both cybersecurity professionals and individuals interested in protecting their digital assets.

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