What Is Kali Undercover? How to Install It on Linux – MUO – MakeUseOf

If you’re looking for tips on installing Kali Undercover on Linux, you’ve come to the right place.
Imagine that you're using Kali Linux, your favorite penetration testing OS, in public. You don't want someone to give you strange looks while you're performing a network scan through the terminal, right?
Offensive Security, the company that maintains Kali Linux, has developed a quick solution for this. Kali's undercover mode can change the appearance of your desktop, making it look like a traditional Windows system, the one which is familiar to most people.
In this article, you will learn more about Kali Undercover, how to use it, and the steps to install it on your Linux system.
As mentioned above, Kali Undercover is a set of scripts that modifies the appearance of the default Xfce desktop in Kali Linux. The script applies a Windows-like theme to the system to prevent unwanted attention while working in public.
Switching to the undercover mode is easy. Simply open the terminal and type:
The transition will begin as the script starts changing the fonts, icon pack, and screen layout. It hardly takes the script five seconds to transition from Xfce to the "fake" Windows desktop.
Type kali-undercover in the terminal to revert to the default desktop environment.
The primary intention behind the development of kali-undercover was to enable cybersecurity professionals to work comfortably in public places.
A major part of a penetration tester's job is to find potential vulnerabilities by hacking into their client's network. Doing so requires stealth and having random people take a peek at Kali's suspicious desktop environment is simply going to affect their work.
This is where Kali Undercover comes into play. You can quickly switch back and forth between the two desktops to hide the operating system you're using. Although if someone takes a closer look at the desktop, they will most probably figure out that it's not Windows.
The kali-undercover script comes preinstalled on Kali Linux. However, this doesn't mean that you can't benefit from the undercover mode while using other Linux distributions. Anyone can install the script on their system, provided they are using the Xfce desktop environment.
If you're using a Debian-based OS like Ubuntu or Linux Mint, all you need to do is download the kali-undercover DEB package from Kali's official repository.
Download: Kali Undercover
Then, switch to the Downloads directory using the cd command.
Install the kali-undercover DEB package using dpkg as follows:
Alternatively, you can also install the package graphically by executing the downloaded file. On Ubuntu, double-clicking on the file will open the Software Install window. You can then click on Install to install the script.
Related: How to Install Kali Linux In VMware Workstation
On other Linux distributions, you can download the script using its git repository:
Navigate to the newly created folder using cd:
Copy the files inside the share folder to the /usr/ directory. This folder contains all assets related to the Windows theme such as icons, font packs, and wallpaper.
Finally, copy the kali-undercover binary file to the /usr/bin folder as follows:
If you ever want to remove the script from your system, simply delete all the files associated with kali-undercover using rm. To start, delete the binary file from the /usr/bin directory:
Then, delete the Windows icons and themes:
Finally, remove the desktop file and the kali-undercover share folder using rm:
In addition to Kali Undercover, the OS comes with a myriad of scripts and command-line tools. You can rest assured that Kali Linux has everything you want when it comes to network analysis, vulnerability detection, digital forensics, or anything else cybersecurity-related.
If you haven't decided yet about making the switch, consider installing Kali Linux on a hypervisor first. Virtual machine software like VirtualBox offer the best experience without compromising the machine's performance.
Deepesh is the Section Editor for Linux at MUO. He writes informational guides on Linux, aiming to provide a blissful experience to all newcomers. Not sure about movies, but if you want to talk about technology, he’s your guy.
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