Custom Raspberry Pi Image

Table of Contents

The following document describes our own method of creating a custom Kali Linux Raspberry Pi ARM image and is targeted at developers. If you would like to install a pre-made Kali image, check out our Install Kali on Raspberry Pi article.

You’ll need to have root privileges to do this procedure, or the ability to escalate your privileges with the command “sudo su”.

01. Create a Kali rootfs

Build a Kali rootfs as described in our Kali documentation, using an armel architecture. By the end of this process, you should have a populated rootfs directory in ~/arm-stuff/rootfs/kali-armel.

02. Create the Image File

Next, we create the physical image file, which will hold our Raspberry Pi rootfs and boot images:

[email protected]:~$ sudo apt install -y kpartx xz-utils sharutils
[email protected]:~$ mkdir -p ~/arm-stuff/images/
[email protected]:~$ cd ~/arm-stuff/images/
[email protected]:~$ dd if=/dev/zero of=kali-custom-rpi.img conv=fsync bs=4M count=7000

03. Partition and Mount the Image File

[email protected]:~$ parted kali-custom-rpi.img --script -- mklabel msdos
[email protected]:~$ parted kali-custom-rpi.img --script -- mkpart primary fat32 0 64
[email protected]:~$ parted kali-custom-rpi.img --script -- mkpart primary ext4 64 -1
[email protected]:~$ loopdevice=`losetup -f --show kali-custom-rpi.img`
[email protected]:~$ device=`kpartx -va $loopdevice | sed -E 's/.*(loop[0-9])p.*/\1/g' | head -1`
[email protected]:~$ device="/dev/mapper/${device}"
[email protected]:~$ bootp=${device}p1
[email protected]:~$ rootp=${device}p2
[email protected]:~$
[email protected]:~$ mkfs.vfat $bootp
[email protected]:~$ mkfs.ext4 $rootp
[email protected]:~$ mkdir -p root
[email protected]:~$ mkdir -p boot
[email protected]:~$ mount $rootp root
[email protected]:~$ mount $bootp boot

04. Copy and Modify the Kali rootfs

[email protected]:~$ rsync -HPavz /root/arm-stuff/rootfs/kali-armel/ root
[email protected]:~$ echo nameserver > root/etc/resolv.conf

05. Compile the Raspberry Pi Kernel and Modules

If you’re not using ARM hardware as the development environment, you will need to set up an ARM cross-compilation environment to build an ARM kernel and modules. Once that’s done, proceed with the following instructions:

[email protected]:~$ mkdir -p ~/arm-stuff/kernel/
[email protected]:~$ cd ~/arm-stuff/kernel/
[email protected]:~$ git clone
[email protected]:~$ git clone raspberrypi
[email protected]:~$ cd raspberrypi/
[email protected]:~$ touch .scmversion
[email protected]:~$ export ARCH=arm
[email protected]:~$ export CROSS_COMPILE=~/arm-stuff/kernel/toolchains/arm-eabi-linaro-4.6.2/bin/arm-eabi-
[email protected]:~$ make bcmrpi_cutdown_defconfig

[email protected]:~$ # configure your kernel !
[email protected]:~$ make menuconfig
[email protected]:~$ make -j$(cat /proc/cpuinfo|grep processor | wc -l)
[email protected]:~$ make modules_install INSTALL_MOD_PATH=~/arm-stuff/images/root
[email protected]:~$ cd ../tools/mkimage/
[email protected]:~$ python ../../raspberrypi/arch/arm/boot/Image
[email protected]:~$ cd ~/arm-stuff/images/
[email protected]:~$ git clone git:// rpi-firmware
[email protected]:~$ cp -rf rpi-firmware/boot/* boot/
[email protected]:~$ rm -rf rpi-firmware
[email protected]:~$
[email protected]:~$ cp ~/arm-stuff/kernel/tools/mkimage/kernel.img boot/
[email protected]:~$ echo "dwc_otg.lpm_enable=0 console=ttyAMA0,115200 kgdboc=ttyAMA0,115200 console=tty1 root=/dev/mmcblk0p2 rootfstype=ext4 rootwait" > boot/cmdline.txt
[email protected]:~$ umount $rootp
[email protected]:~$ umount $bootp
[email protected]:~$ kpartx -dv $loopdevice
[email protected]:~$ losetup -d $loopdevice

Use the dd command to image this file to your SD card. In our example, we assume the storage device is located at /dev/sdb. Change this as needed:

[email protected]:~$ dd if=kali-linux-rpi.img of=/dev/sdb conv=fsync bs=4M

Once the dd operation is complete, unmount and eject the SD card and boot your Pi into Kali Linux

Updated on: 2023-Mar-06
Author: steev