Deploying Kali over Network PXE/iPXE Install

Booting and installing Kali Linux over the network (PXE) can be useful from a single laptop install with no CDROM or USB ports, to enterprise deployments supporting pre-seeding of the Kali Linux installation.

Setup a PXE Server

First, we need to install dnsmasq to provide the DHCP/TFTP server and then edit the dnsmasq.conf file:

kali@kali:~$ sudo apt install -y dnsmasq
kali@kali:~$
kali@kali:~$ sudo vim /etc/dnsmasq.conf
kali@kali:~$

In dnsmasq.conf, enable DHCP, TFTP and PXE booting and set the dhcp-range to match your environment (we are using 192.168.101.100-200). If needed you can also define your gateway and DNS servers with the dhcp-option directive as shown below:

interface=eth0
dhcp-range=192.168.101.100,192.168.101.200,12h
dhcp-boot=pxelinux.0
enable-tftp
tftp-root=/tftpboot/
dhcp-option=3,192.168.101.1
dhcp-option=6,8.8.8.8,8.8.4.4

With the edits in place, the dnsmasq service needs to be restarted in order for the changes to take effect.

kali@kali:~$ sudo systemctl restart dnsmasq
kali@kali:~$

Download Kali PXE Netboot Images

Now, we need to create a directory to hold the Kali Linux Netboot image and download the image we wish to serve.

kali@kali:~$ sudo mkdir -p /tftpboot/
kali@kali:~$

# 64-bit:
kali@kali:~$ sudo wget http://http.kali.org/kali/dists/kali-rolling/main/installer-amd64/current/images/netboot/netboot.tar.gz -P /tftpboot/
# 32-bit:
kali@kali:~$ sudo wget http://http.kali.org/kali/dists/kali-rolling/main/installer-i386/current/images/netboot/netboot.tar.gz -P /tftpboot/

kali@kali:~$ sudo tar -zxpf /tftpboot/netboot.tar.gz -C /tftpboot
kali@kali:~$
kali@kali:~$ sudo rm -f /tftpboot/netboot.tar.gz
kali@kali:~$

Configure Target to Boot From Network

With everything configured, you can now boot your target system and configure it to boot from the network. It should get an IP address from your PXE server and begin booting Kali Linux.

Post Installation

Now that you’ve completed installing Kali Linux, it’s time to customize your system.

The General Use section has more information and you can also find tips on how to get the most out of Kali Linux in our User Forums.


Author: g0tmi1k