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Roll Your Own Kali 2.0 ISO

I noticed the good Kali folks have pre-released steps to make your own ISO for their upcoming 2.0 release.

# Workshop 01 – Rolling your own Kali 2.0 ISOs

I also noticed the steps do not work as written, mostly because files moved from archive to www. So here’s what worked for me:

Use existing Kali instance to prepare

$ sudo apt-get install live-build

This will install debootstrap 1.0.48+kali3, live-boot-doc 4.0.2-1, live-build 4.0.401kali7*, live-config-doc 4.0.2-1, and live-manual-html 1%3a3.0.2-1

Clone the builds

$ git clone git://
$ cd live-build-config

Add tools

$ echo “cryptsetup
> gparted
> amap” >> kali-config/variant-light/package-lists/kali.list.chroot

Enable SSH service at boot

$ echo ‘update-rc.d -f ssh enable’ >> kali-config/common/hooks/01-start-ssh.chroot
$ chmod 755 kali-config/common/hooks/01-start-ssh.chroot

Add your own public SSH key

$ mkdir -p kali-config/common/includes.chroot/username/.ssh/
$ cp ~/.ssh/ kali-config/common/includes.chroot/username/.ssh/authorized_keys

Add unattented install option

$ vi kali-config/common/hooks/02-unattended-boot.binary


cat >>binary/isolinux/install.cfg < label install
menu label ^Unattended Install
menu default
linux /install/vmlinuz
initrd /install/initrd.gz
append vga=788 -- quiet file=/cdrom/install/preseed.cfg locale=en_US keymap=us hostname=kali domain=local.lan

$ chmod 755 kali-config/common/hooks/02-unattended-boot.binary
$ ls -al kali-config/common/hooks/

Create the unattended seed

$ wget -O ./kali-config/common/includes.installer/preseed.cfg

Install wallpaper (BlackHat or DEFCON blue)

$ wget -O kali-config/common/includes.chroot/usr/share/images/desktop-base/kali-wallpaper_1920x1080.png

NOTE: the images/desktop-base directory has disappeared in later builds. just add it back in with mkdir

Build the ISO

$ ./ –variant light –distribution sana –verbose

After successful build the live-build-config/images subdirectory will have a 900M “kali-linux-light-sana” iso file.

* NOTE: If you want to use another platform such as Ubuntu 14.04 you may find the usual package (sudo apt-get install live-build) causes problems. When you run the script it checks versions and fails like this:

ERROR: You need live-build (>= 4.0.4-1kali6), you have 3.0~a57-1ubuntu11.2

It should be possible to meet the dependencies and edit config files using the Debian live-build:

$ git clone git://

However because “kali” is specified in the live-build version check…after several attempts on other systems to work around I gave up and took the easy path — use an old kali system to build a new kali.

Updated to add: Rolling a trusted ISO is fun but obviously a docker pull is far easier and more risky. Note the need for signed repository images if you’re going this route instead.

  • docker pull kalilinux/kali-linux-docker
  • docker run -t -i kalilinux/kali-linux-docker
  • /bin/bash apt-get install metasploit-framework

Posted in Security.

2 Responses

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  1. Just-a-guy says

    Very nice. Thank you! :)

  2. Rewt says

    Custom Kali Linux iso 32-64 bit KDE Xfce Mate Lxde e17 i3wm download

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