Kali Linux 2020.3 Released: Top 5 New Features For Ethical Hackers

Offensive Security has released the third point version of the Kali Linux 2020 series with a number of exciting new features and improvements. Let’s take a look at the top 5 new enhancements of Kali Linux 2020.3:

Kali Linux 2020.3: What’s New?

1. Introducing a New ZSH Shell

A major update to the new v2020.3 is the addition of ZSH shell (or Z Shell). You may know that Kali Linux uses BASH (Bourne Again Shell) by default. But with the introduction of ZSH, Kali is now planning to switch from default BASH to ZSH shell.

ZSH is an extended version of Bourne shall with many improvements. Though BASH is still the default shell in 2020.3 release, ZSH is now pre-installed and scheduled to replace BASH in the next 2020.4.

New ZSH shell
New ZSH shell

2. Automatic HiDPI Support

Popular Linux distros are already improving support for HiDPI (High Dots Per Inch) displays like Ubuntu 20.04 and Linux Mint 20. But sometimes after a fresh Linux installation, we need to tweak the settings to get it working properly.

Hence, the new Kali has introduced a new “kali-hidpi-mode” to automatically and easily switch between HiDPI displays. Instead of meddling much with manual settings, you can just type in kali-hidpi-mode or select it from the menu to automate switching.

Automatic HiDPI display support
Automatic HiDPI display support

3. Introducing Win-KeX

Win-KeX is a new package release that will improve the Windows plus Kali Desktop Experience. You can install it by running the command:

sudo apt update && sudo apt install -y kali-win-kex

After installing Win-KeX, type kxe and you’ll get a GUI version of Kali Linux running in WSL2 (Windows Subsystem for Linux 2) within two minutes. If you want to know more about Win-KeX, read the official documentation page.

4. New Device Support For Kali Mobile Version

For those who don’t know, Kali NetHunter is a mobile penetration testing platform based on Kali Linux for Android devices. To further extend Kali Linux on mobile devices, Kali NetHunter has added support for Nokia 3.1 and Nokia 6.1 phones.

If you have a Nokia phone, you can download the images available here. Though the images contain “minimal Kali rootfs,” you can also install all the default tools using the command:

sudo apt install -y kali-linux-default
Kali NetHunter for Nokia Phones
Kali NetHunter for Nokia Phones

5. Updates for ARM Devices

With 2020.3 release, Offensive Security has also added updates to its ARM Images for ARM-based devices like Pinebook Pro and Raspberry Pi. The changes include the addition of kali-linux-default metapackages and the size reduction of all new ARM images.

Here are some other notable changes to the ARM 2020.3 release:

  • Pinebook image now has a Wi-Fi driver included during image creation instead of on the first boot.
  • Upstream firmware for Pinebook Pro changes from ccode=DE to ccode=all.
  • The 64-bit Raspberry Pi images now have Raspberry Pi userland utilities built during image creation.
  • The ODROID-C2 image now uses the Kali kernel instead of the vendor-provided one.
  • The /etc/fstab file now includes the root partition via UUID.

Other Enhancements In Kali 2020.3

  • New unique tool icons for every default tool
  • Disabled network mirror in the full installer
  • A new set of Bluetooth tools for Kali NetHunter
  • New theme for GNOME file manager Nautilus
  • Stacked CPU charts and matching colors in GNOME system monitor
Theme update to GNOME desktop
GNOME Theme update

How To Download Or Upgrade To Kali 2020.3?

If you’re already using the existing version of Kali, run the following command to upgrade your system to the latest v2020.3:

sudo apt update && sudo apt -y full-upgrade

However, if you want a fresh installation from scratch, download the new ISO image from the official page for your respective system.