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Security and Penetration Testing with Backtrack Linux

written by: Daniel Case•edited by: Michael Dougherty•updated: 6/8/2011

We start with some basic information on commands, and then offer some examples of what you can do with Backtrack Linux.

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    In this article I will show you some commands that you can use which are unique to backtrack Linux, but first I will go through some basic Linux commands so you can work your way around backtrack Linux. The most important thing you need to do in Backtrack Linux 4 is start your networking, otherwise you will not have any internet access.

    To start your networking, you must type: /etc/init.d/networking start

    This command will run through a series of tests to see if there is a network connection, and if so enable it. The graphical manager is disabled by default in Backtrack 4, to start it you just need to run: startx

    Another thing to note is that Backtrack assumes that you know what you are doing so gives you the power of the root account straight away, therefore you must be responsible.

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    General Linux Commands

    I will not list every command here, but a few common ones are:

    • ls (List all files in directory given, if no directory is given uses current directory.)
    • nano (Command-line text editor. Useful if you are running Backtrack without a GUI.)
    • wine (Not a nice drink, instead this allows you to run Windows programs under Linux.)
    • apt-get (Debian package manager, also included in Backtrack to allow you to retrieve new packages.)
    • ssh (Allows you to connect to a computer accepting SSH (Secure Shell) connections.)
    • man (This is the most important command you will ever come across, it shows how to use the rest of the commands. If anyone ever tells you to read the manual, this is it. Run man ssh for an example and use the q key to quit.)

    There are many more out there that do a lot of interesting things, but I have covered the basic ones here. Most things can be done through the GUI but its worth knowing a few commands as it is a lot faster.

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    Backtrack Specific Commands

    Backtrack comes with a lot of commands for security and penetration testing. The most well-known one is nmap which is a port and IP scanner. You have a variety of options, and if you type man nmap you can see some examples of how it is used at the bottom. Aircrack is another good resource which allows cracking of WiFi network with WEP enabled.

    There are loads of good tools which you can find by going to /pentest and taking a look through yourself if you are at the command line. Alternately, if you are using the graphical environment you can find out by clicking the button in the bottom left and going to the "backtrack" folder. In here you will find a whole host of tools. If you click on a command line one it will give you the help page and a list of examples.