Kali hero

The initial demonstration from January involved using the WSL Distribution Switcher, which allows replacing the default Ubuntu image with a different Linux distribution, including those not yet officially supported, including Fedora, Alpine, and Clear Linux. Now, however, you can install Kali Linux from the Microsoft Store the same way you would any other officially supported WSL distribution, such as Ubuntu and openSUSE.

Maintained by Offensive Security, Kali Linux is a "swiss knife" for information security, offering a huge variety of tools for things like penetration testing and digital analysis. Although most commonly used via a live USB or a virtual machine (you really wouldn't want to use something like that as your primary OS), there is still a lot of value to be gained from using the tools that Kali Linux offers side by side with your usual working environment. While using Kali Linux inside of a Windows Subsystem for Linux environment comes with certain restrictions (for example, lack of raw sockets support), having such a setup could make porting security tools to Windows and dealing with enterprise compliance standards easier.

Installing Kali Linux for WSL is incredibly easy:

  1. Enable the Windows Subsystem for Linux by running the following command in an elevated PowerShell prompt: Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName Microsoft-Windows-Subsystem-Linux
  2. Reboot your computer when prompted
  3. Get Kali Linux from the Microsoft Store

Now your penetration testing environment should be ready for action. It might be a good idea to also check out the Kali Linux documentation and any applicable information security laws in your country.

What do you think? Will this become a useful tool for improving security of Windows computers and networks? Let us know in the comments below!