Updated: Mar 9
Linux is a secure open-source operating system that has a high adoption rate worldwide. Even though the benefits of using Linux are apparent, the question still stands...
Why is Linux so popular in the world of Cybersecurity?
To answer this question,
I spoke with John Hammond,
a cybersecurity researcher, educator, and content creator
whose Youtube channel is linked below.
How did you get your start with Linux? What are some of the resources you initially used when first learning?
"I got my first start with Linux when I asked my father 'how do I host a website?' He got me started in learning HTML and CSS, and showed me how to set up an Apache web server on a box he had bought that ran TurboLinux (an old school distribution). It was very cool and exciting to learn about the command-line, and how the filesystem was structured, and all the ways that it differed from Windows."
"When I was learning how to use Linux for the first time, I honestly just used the Internet to look up things and try to follow along with tutorials. I was a really big fan of video guides so I spent a lot of time on YouTube, watching videos from thenewboston or Kris Occhipinti (metalx1000) and tons of other creators. Being able to see someone work through something live, and then follow along and 'learn by doing' was incredibly helpful and I would recommend it to anyone!"
How important would you say knowing Linux is in the world of Cybersecurity?
"I would assert that knowing Linux is absolutely important in the world of cybersecurity -- if not the most important! Learning Linux gets you started in a development environment that just isn't as streamlined in Windows or other more common operating systems. You get a fine-grain understanding of programming, code, and automation, and those things are just vital in cybersecurity, because you can better understand vulnerabilities in applications and how to secure them. On top of that, a large handful of enterprise- or industry-tested software does, someway or another, rely on Linux. Knowing how to navigate and operate within that is a very valuable thing."
Why is Linux used so frequently from an offensive perspective?
"Linux is frequently used from an offensive perspective because it can be so heavily customized and optimized for specific work you might be doing. Whether it is pentesting, bug bounty, Capture the Flag or any other semblance of ethical hacking, you can find distributions that are purpose-built to help streamline your workflow. Not to mention the tooling -- being able to quickly run Python scripts, or refine some Golang code, or just about anything -- the process just feels a bit more native and easier within Linux. Because it can handle software packages and dependencies with repositories, a lot of trouble you might run into in another operating system just isn't a headache in Linux."
Linux can be overwhelming with the vast amount of commands. Do you have any advice for those who are just starting out in terms of feeling less overwhelmed?
"For those just getting started in Linux, I totally recommend finding some cheatsheets or quick references to look at and review. Absolutely no one can memorize or know all of the commands by heart -- there is no shame in Googling or doing some quick research on Stack Overflow to remind yourself! With that said, it is a super good practice to review the 'man pages' and read the manual for commands and tools that you use on a day-to-day basis. They are there for a reason! You can find a lot of examples, different parameters or arguments to do other cool things, and gain a better understanding of how things work."
"Additionally, I would offer 'https://explainshell.com/' as a great resource. If you run into a command that you don't quite know what it does, you can simply paste it into this website and will break down and explain what each and every argument or switch does. It is super helpful for getting a feel for what-does-what and is exceptional in getting you much more acquainted with all the different commands."