Friday, 27 August 2010

My first tests of Backtrack 4 R1

On the 5th of August 2010 I was very happy to see an email notification from the Backtrack team, telling me that Backtrack 4 R1, their latest ethical hacking and penetration testing toolset, was released. (This is the kind of email I like!)

Backtrack has been around for over 4 years, and has got to be the best and most widely used hacking platform, with 100's of tools, and various development environments preinstalled, configured and ready-to-go out of the box.

This updated version 4 release is great news, as we can see that the Backtrack team are working well and striving to improve what is already a great toolset. There seems to be significant investment of effort in the platform, so I hope this open-source project will continue to flourish for considerable time to come.

Downloads of the previous release, Backtrack 4, topped over 1 million over the first six months, and this new release has already seen significant download traffic.

You can find the download for Backtrack 4 R1 at the following location, and it is available in both ISO image (for a DVD) and VMware formats

So far, I've only done a dual boot hard drive install on this system (BT4, and BT4 R1) and they seem to run fine side-by-side. The installation was very straight-forward, and basically the same as BT4, i.e. cut a DVD, boot from that, and run the setup script on the desktop.

What has changed?
On initial install and bootup there don't seem to be any significant changes to the way things work, or how the tools are laid out, which is good, as I am already very happy with BT4.

Flux support has been added, though having used BT4 for some time now, I will probably stick with KDE (most of what I do is on the commandline anyway).

Improved driver support
One personal bonus, that I have quickly seen for me, is that the wifi drivers for my Dell mini 10v are now supported out of the box. I was struggling to get these to work with BT4, and this means I don't need to always carry around an extra dongle. Great!

Updates and tool improvements
Signature updates for various tools have been applied, so this saves a couple of hours, running various updates, for any new installs you have.

Other things of note
  • Dragon configurator
  • Updated Social Engineering Toolkit
  • Updated and sexier Maltego 3.0
  • Metasploit 3.4.2

Other than than, not much to say really...

Backtrack 3 is not dead yet
As a side note, though BT4R1 looks great, I will continue to keep archives of the old versions in my disc collection which can be handy sometimes.

For example, I had an issue not so long ago where I went back to Backtrack 3 for an awkward task.

We had a problem with a server that nobody knew the login credentials for. It was a fairly old system, and it only had a CD drive. We could not boot it from either a USB stick or external DVD drive, for various reasons, so we were unable use BT4.

To cut a long story short, we wipped out a BT3 CD, booted from that, and had the Windows Administrator hash cracked in around an hour, giving us the access we needed. So there is life in the old dog yet ;o)

Be good.

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