How to Update Kali Linux to Latest Version

Kali Linux, a Debian-based Linux operating system, is designed specifically for digital forensics, ethical hacking, networking evaluation, and penetration testing. Learning how to update Kali Linux OS to the latest version is crucial for every penetration tester and ethical hacker. 

Kali Linux is owned by Offensive Security and belongs to the Unix-like OS family. It comes with several unique features that are targeted towards digital forensics and pen-testing. Kali includes over 600 tools in total. These tools are not only completely free but are also capable of making pen-testing more accurate, easy, and quick. 

However, Kali is not only used for cybersecurity features. Like any other operating system, it can play audio and video files supports test files, and any other application software that Windows and macOS can support. It also has networking capability. 

In this article, we will cover how to update Kali Linux OS to the latest version. So let’s dive in.

Kali Hardware Support

Kali Linux OS supports a wide variety of RISC-based board architectures. The ARF family architecture that Kali supports include:

  • Single-board systems like Raspberry Pi
  • BeagleBoard Computers 
  • Samsung’s Chromebook
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 10
  • Flash drive sized computers such as USB Armory MKI
  • Dual-core computers like Trimslice
  • Quad-core computers like Utilite Pro
  • And many other platforms.

Versions of Kali Linux

There are two versions of Kali Linux: Root Kali and Non-Root Kali. The Root Kali Linux OS is installed directly on the hardware, and the user can set their username and password. It comes with the default username/password root/toor. On the other hand, Non-Root Kali Linux OS Live uses the “kali ” username and password. The default username and password root/toor will not work. 

How to Update Kali Linux to Latest Version

Updating Kali Linux OS to the latest version requires certain configurations and involves various steps. Let’s look at each step sequentially. 

1. Configure Kali Linux OS Repositories

Before updating the system, it is crucial to check all the source files are in place, and all relevant repositories are updated. For this step, open the /etc/apt/sources.list file using the gedit command. For example: 

gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

In case the gedit command does not work, or it is not installed on your system, then use the grep command. For example:

grep -v '#' /etc/apt/sources.list | sort -u

You can also use the nano or cat command to view the network configurations. For example:

sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list
sudo vim /etc/apt/sources.list

You will get a similar output:

Update Kali Linux to Latest Version

Make sure to use official Kali OS repositories for the update. Using the unofficial external repositories would cause the system harm. Furthermore, it will also jeopardize the system security of the root user. 

2. Check Kali Linux version

Next, check the Kali Linux OS OS version. Before updating, you must check the version using the release command. For example:

lsb_release -a

Alternatively, you can use the cat command to check the version of Kali Linux OS. Open the /etc/os-release using the cat command. For example:

cat /etc/os-release 

You will get a similar output:

Update Kali Linux to Latest Version

3. Update the Installed Packages

In this step, you will first update the packages indices list before you update the actual Kali Linux OS. Hence, update the existing packages using the apt update command. For example: 

sudo apt update

Secondly, check for the updates released by the official Kali website. For example: 

sudo apt list --upgradable

Next, you can either update individual packages using the apt command. Alternatively, you can update all the packages at once using the upgrade command.

For individual packages:

sudo apt install PACKAGE-NAME

For all the packages:

sudo apt upgrade

You will have to wait for the packages to update and install. You will get a similar output if your system is up-to-date. Otherwise, wait for the packages to be updated before moving to the next step. 

Update Kali Linux to Latest Version

4. Update Held-Back Packages

Sometimes while updating the package using the upgrade command, held-back packages are not updated. This issue arises due to dependency package issues. To resolve this, update each package individually using the apt install command. For example:

sudo apt install PACKAGE-NAME

Alternatively, you can also use the apt dist-upgrade command to update the held back packages. For example: 

sudo apt dist-upgrade
Update Held-Back Packages

5. Uninstall Obsolete Packages

Lastly, remove any obsolete packages from the system before the final upgrade using the apt autoremove command. For example: 

sudo apt autoremove

6. Update Kali Linux to Latest Version

Finally, you can update your Kali Linux OS to the latest version using the apt upgrade command. There are two ways to update Kali Linux OS:

a. Update Kali Linux Installed Tools to Latest Version

In this step, you will only use the apt-get command followed by the upgrade flag. This will only upgrade the OS and its installed tools. It will not touch the core of the OS, nor will it upgrade the utilities installed on your system. Execute the command given below to upgrade your system:

sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
Update Kali Linux Installed Tools to Latest Version

b. Update Kali Linux System Core to Latest Version

However, if you want to update your Kali Linux OS along with its core and system utilities, execute the command given below:

sudo apt full-upgrade -y

You will get a similar output:

Full upgrade

This command will update the Kali Linux system core to the latest version. In our case, it is a fresh installation, so it is not showing any update.

Make sure to use this command when the system is not in engagement. Also, make sure that all your tools work before upgrading them. Otherwise, some issues during the update will break the tool when needed.

To summarize the steps, you only have to configure repositories, update your packages to ensure that all tools are in order, and then upgrade the entire system optimally. 

In this article, we have covered how to update the Kali Linux OS to the latest version using the terminal. Remember to ensure that there are no unofficial repository links in the sources.list file as it would potentially harm your system. Also, ensure that you have free space in the system to successfully upgrade the core OS. 

If this guide helped you, please share it.

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