BackBox is a Linux distribution based on Ubuntu Desktop, and designed for performing penetration testing, incident response, computer forensics, and intelligence gathering. It uses the Xfce desktop environment, and is developed by Raffaele Forte and a small but dedicated team.

This article, provides a brief overview or review of the latest edition, BackBox Linux 3, which was released on October 24 (2012).

Because it is based on Ubuntu, its installation program is Ubiquity, Ubuntu’s graphical installer. But the version of Ubiquity in BackBox 3 is the pre-Ubuntu 12.10 version, so full disk encryption and automatic LVM configuration are not supported.

Though the installer recommends a minimum of 4.2 GB of disk space for installation, a fresh installation of BackBox 3 takes up exactly 4.2 GB of disk space, so be sure to allocate a lot more than 4.2 GB to the root partition when installing it.
BackBox 3 Specs

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At the login screen, you are given the option of logging into a BackBox Session (the default) or an Xfce Session. What is the difference?
BackBox Linux 3 Login

Except for the organization of applications in the menu, there is very little significant difference between a BackBox Session and an Xfce Session, at least as far as I could tell. When logged into the BackBox Session, all the security-specific applications are logically arranged under the Auditing menu category. In an Xfce Session, however, those same applications are distributed across several menu categories.

This screen shot shows what the BackBox Session desktop looks like. Notice the clean categorization of applications under the Auditing menu category.
BackBox Session Desktop

Contrast that with this, which is a screen shot of the Xfce Session desktop. Most of the applications are under the Other menu category, while a few are scattered across two or three other menu categories.
BackBox Xfce Desktop

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Aside from the security-specific applications, a default installation of BackBox 3 contains most applications for normal desktop use, aside from the absence of a complete Office suite. A default Xfce Session desktop contains more of those normal desktop applications than the BackBox Session. So this is one niche distribution that you can still use for normal desktop computing.

For managing applications, there is Ubuntu Software Center and Synaptic Package Manager. The rest of this article offers screen shots that show the security-specific applications that come with BackBox 3.

Information Gathering: Network analysis applications.
BackBox 3 Apps

Information Gathering: Web application analysis software.
BackBox 3 Apps

Vulnerability Assessment: Network assessment applications.
BackBox 3 Apps

Vulnerability Assessment: Web application assessment software.
BackBox 3 Apps

Exploitation: Network exploitation applications.
BackBox 3 Apps

Exploitation: Web application exploitation software.
BackBox 3 Apps

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9 Responses

  1. Im sticking with 12.04… it is quite literally the best Ubuntu ive ever used. I always planned to stick with LTS releases before but never succeeded.

    This time I think I can stick with 12.04 until the next LTS.

  2. One character password?

    It’s about choice. I choose Linux. I choose Ubuntu. I choose a one character password if you damn well want to. It warns me that it’s not a good password, and that’s where it shall stop. If I want a one character password, that’s my choice.

  3. Unfortunately I had to switch back to 12.04 LTS from 12.10 which was quite buggy. Daily crash reports, skype-wrapper does not work as in 12.04 (Cannonical has changed some API) and last but not least – second update which came (new kernel and stuff around) just made my laptop unbootable. Grub displayed command prompt and there was no way to fix it – I tried to reinstall grub from live CD few times. For me it is really fail – 12.04 works like a charm so I’ll skip 12.10 and I’ll wait for next LTS.

    1. Sticking with the LTS versions is a good option. I have installed 12.10 on another partition but for my main system I always use the LTS versions. You can use any number of PPA’s to keep software up to date on the LTS releases. I haven’t had the problems mentioned on 12.10 but that’s just me. All in all a good review.

      1. I have had exactly the same problem, for me it was impossible to work with 12.10, I have tried 3 install but not changes only crashes after crashes , now I am back to 12,04 much faster and stable. Maybe I will try the next one on the virtual machine,

        thank you friends

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