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Penetration Testing Laptop


zkylet
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I want get a small laptop to instal Linux Mint 18 with the Cinnamon Desktop Environment. I plan to use it specifically for penetration testing and will install the tools I use the most from Kali Linux. What do you recommend? What do you think of the Acer R3-131T-C1YF?

Edited by zkylet
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Reading reviews, this apparently is a turd. Personally, I go for higher end hardware for laptops unless all the thing is doing, is browsing the web and maybe some schoolwork/office apps. You don't want something really inexpensive, only to be unsatisfied later on with it's lack of horsepower and capabilities. Go to BestBuy, and use some laptops there for a few hours. Spend time playing on small screens, and larger ones, and you'll quickly see what you're ok with and what you aren't. Then, go home and do some searching for similar specs to what you liked at the store, and find it cheaper online. Try before you buy though. Netbooks were a fad in my opinion, and unless it's doing one task all day long hands free in the corner some where, they aren't something I would want to use on a daily basis. Call me spoiled but 11 inch screens just don't do it for me. 15 at a min for me, 17 and up preferred. That alone changes my view on any machine regardless of hardware under the hood. If I can't see what I'm doing, I won't work on it.

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I'm with digip on this.

 

For light use, sure a small little laptop is fine (I've a Lenovo Yoga 300 for light use). But for work? I've a full fat lenovo thinkpad with a 17inch screen, 8gigs of ram and a 500gig ssd. That gives me the power and speed.

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I need something small and lightweight as I have a non progressive form of muscular dystrophy which leaves me very weak and confined to a wheelchair. I have a year old 13.3 Inch MacBook Pro Retina which is my main machine. I want a second machine to experiment with, practice my Linux, and practice penetration testing. Any thoughts?

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23 hours ago, zkylet said:

I need something small and lightweight as I have a non progressive form of muscular dystrophy which leaves me very weak and confined to a wheelchair. I have a year old 13.3 Inch MacBook Pro Retina which is my main machine. I want a second machine to experiment with, practice my Linux, and practice penetration testing. Any thoughts?

Not sure the specs on the small macbook pro you have, but if you have enough ram, save some money, and go virtual machine and USB Wifi adapters, which will let you run Kali, Mint, and any other distro you want to try. Also means being able to setup a small lab, but again, depends on your machine specs. I can run multiple VM's and still game on mine, but it's a pretty hefty machine(HP Envy laptop i5 with 12GB ram) 

This means not having to worry about a new laptop, and you can work on both at the same time. This also good because you can snapshot(backup) each VM to a specific state, in the event you're still learning and break something, you revert the machine state to a working snapshot.

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On 04/12/2016 at 0:32 AM, zkylet said:

I want get a small laptop to instal Linux Mint 18 with the Cinnamon Desktop Environment. I plan to use it specifically for penetration testing and will install the tools I use the most from Kali Linux. What do you recommend? What do you think of the Acer R3-131T-C1YF?

Hi, it will be only for pentesting or you want to use-it as a normal laptop for other things like produce documents, etc. ?

--
Christophe Casalegno
https://twitter.com/Brain0verride

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So, if you don't need to use password crackers like JTR with opencl, etc. and use a server for example for that, you can use a small laptop with a 13' screen. Personally i prefer a 15' screen but 13.3 will work fine. You don't need a lot of ram for pentesting, 4GB can be ok. Both important things are your network adapters (wifi & lan) : be sure to verify Linux compatibility : but you can also use others things like usb adapter or Pineapple of course for wifi.   Chose a solid laptop you can take with one hand without breaking it in two part... (yes that can exist...). You don't need a lot of disk space : chose a laptop with a SSD, not need to be a big ssd : you can add a usb disk if you need to store files, documents, etc.

--
Christophe Casalegno
https://twitter.com/Brain0verride

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But i am thinking, for pure pentesting why don't you use directly Kali Linux  (or other pentesting specialized distribution) ? I' am using Linux mint on my stations and laptops but not for just pentesting : i am doing all my work with them, but i use Virtualbox with kali linux for pentesting.

--
Christophe Casalegno
https://twitter.com/Brain0verride

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I am only learning pentesting as a retirement project and decided a dedicated machine running Kali is preferable, much simpler than using VM machines.

As a ''carry everywhere'' machine I use a Dell Latitude E4200 using a 128gb SSD, it is just over a 1kg and gives me 5 hours use with a new battery, that is using the extended battery, slightly larger than the standard size.

I also have an old Dell Latitude 6410 (using an i5 processor) for home use which is great as very easy to swap drives to play with different OS's and replaced the DVD drive with a second hard drive so I run Kali and Win10 on seperate drives. If I need a bigger screen then I just plug a monitor into the VGA port of the 6410. Also easy and cheap to upgrade the 6410 RAM from 4gb to 8gb.

Got both machines cheaply on ebay (UK) but quite adequate for me and great value for my level of use.

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Mint should run on just about any laptop, but I would not go below an i5 or A10 processor, and 4gb of ram is fine you can always expand if you need more but you need to figure out how much you want to spend and figure out which one is the best out of the price point you are comfortable with

 

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If you want affordable/cheap with small size form factor, a Chromebook might make a good second machine option for various different Linux distros, but the specs aren't beefy on them unless you get a Pixel which is more expensive, for which I'd just go with a beefier i5 vs the pixel though. Chromebooks don't have large HDD's though and most you see today have 16GB SSD's.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I got one for £60, with 128gb SSD and it is my carry around dedicated Kali machine.

As I said main appeal for me is weight only 1kg (I walk about a lot) and 5 hours battery life. I am not doing Pentesting professionally, it's just a carry around ''hacking'' machine and perfect for my use. More than capable of running aircrack-ng and all the related software I need.

 

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3 hours ago, artuk said:

I got one for £60, with 128gb SSD and it is my carry around dedicated Kali machine.

As I said main appeal for me is weight only 1kg (I walk about a lot) and 5 hours battery life. I am not doing Pentesting professionally, it's just a carry around ''hacking'' machine and perfect for my use. More than capable of running aircrack-ng and all the related software I need.

 

Sounds alright to be honest. Might have to look at that one. Thanks.

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My other laptop a Dell E6410 only cost £110 and has i5 processor running at 2,3 gig with 4gb RAM, I removed the DVD drive and replaced it with a second hard drive so can dual boot to Windows or Kali.

The main HD on the E6410 (I replaced with a 128gb SSD) slides out of the laptop without any dismantling, (I leave the mounting screw out!!) so a brilliant machine, and if I need to leave anywhere and worried about security I just pull out the HD and put in my pocket.

For my use and playing around these spec is more than adequate. Both these laptops are about 5-6 years old and build quality is excellent, a great bit of kit when you add a Pineapple.

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