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How to Install Parrot OS

Author: Humphrey Mpairwe

Last Updated: Thu, Aug 4, 2022
Security System Admin

Introduction

Parrot OS is a free and open-source Debian-based desktop Linux distribution designed for developers, IT security experts, system administrators, and privacy-centric users. It's best known as an alternative to Kali Linux, and offers a wide range of security and digital forensic tools available through the default Mate desktop environment. This article explains how to install Parrot OS on a Vultr server instance and set up remote access.

Prerequisites

This article uses the example IP address 192.0.2.1 and username example-user. Replace these with your values.

1. Set up a Debian Desktop

By default, Parrot OS uses the Mate desktop environment. Install Mate along with a desktop display manager such as lightdm in the following steps.

  1. Install the Mate desktop environment.

    $ sudo apt install mate-desktop-environment -y
    
  2. Install the Lightdm display manager.

    $ sudo apt install lightdm lightdm-gtk-greeter -y
    
  3. Start Lightdm.

    $ sudo systemctl start lightdm
    
  4. Confirm that Lightdm is up and running.

    $ sudo systemctl status lightdm
    
  5. Change the default server environment from terminal to desktop.

    $ sudo systemctl set-default graphical.target
    
  6. Restart the server to save changes.

    $ sudo reboot
    

2. Install NoMachine

  1. Visit the official NoMachine website in your desktop web browser.
  2. Navigate to the NoMachine for Linux page.
  3. Download the NoMachine for Linux DEB amd64 package.
  4. Open a new terminal session on your desktop computer. Windows users should open PowerShell.
  5. Navigate to the directory you saved the download file, usually your Downloads folder.

    $ cd ~/Downloads
    
  6. Upload the NoMachine package to the server using Secure Copy.

    $ scp nomachine_<version>_amd64.deb example-user@192.0.2.1:~/
    

    Enter your server password when prompted.

  7. When the upload is complete, SSH to the Debian server as your non-root user.

    $ ssh example-user@192.0.2.1
    
  8. Install the NoMachine package.

    $ sudo apt install ./nomachine_<version>_amd64.deb
    
  9. Configure the firewall to allow NoMachine connections.

    $ sudo ufw allow 4000/tcp
    
  10. Restart the Firewall.

    $ sudo ufw reload
    

3. Connect with NoMachine

  1. Open your web browser and visit the NoMachine website at https://nomachine.com
  2. Download and install NoMachine on your computer.
  3. Open the NoMachine application from your computer's start menu.
  4. In the Welcome to NoMachine tutorial window, click OK to proceed.
  5. On the Machines page, click Add. Enter a Name (label) for your connection, enter your Debian server IP address in the Host: field, and keep 4000 as the Port, NX as the protocol.

    Establish a NoMachine connection to the Debian Server Desktop

  6. Click Connect to establish a connection, and accept the server certificate fingerprint.

  7. Enter your Username and Password, then click Login to access your Debian server desktop.

Debian Mate Desktop

4. Install Parrot OS

  1. On your Debian desktop. Click Applications, navigate to System Tools and click Mate Terminal
  2. In the terminal window, update the server.

    $ sudo apt update
    
  3. Install git.

    $ sudo apt install git -y
    
  4. Clone the Parrot OS repository.

    $ git clone https://nest.parrotsec.org/build/alternate-install.git
    
  5. Switch to the alternate-install directory.

    $ cd alternate-install
    
  6. Add execution privileges on the parrot-install.sh file.

    $ sudo chmod +x parrot-install.sh
    
  7. Run the script.

    $ sudo ./parrot-install.sh
    
  8. Select your desired Parrot OS edition. This guide uses the Security edition (option 3).

    Choose your edition.
    
    *********************************************
    Welcome to Parrot On-Debian Installer Script
        rev 0.3 - 2020-03-19
    ** 1) Install Core Only 
    ** 2) Install Headless Edition 
    ** 3) Install Security Edition 
    ** 4) Install Home Edition 
    ** 5) Install Embedded Edition 
    *********************************************
    Please enter a menu option and enter or enter to exit. 
    
  9. Enter N (case-sensitive) when prompted about the sources.list file.

    Accept the following prompt. Enter N for No (it works)
    
    Configuration file '/etc/apt/sources.list.d/parrot.list'
     ==> File on system created by you or by a script.
     ==> File also in package provided by package maintainer.
         What would you like to do about it ?  Your options are:
           Y or I  : install the package maintainer's version
           N or O  : keep your currently-installed version
           D     : show the differences between the versions
           Z     : start a shell to examine the situation
    The default action is to keep your current version.
    *** parrot.list (Y/I/N/O/D/Z) [default=N] ? 
    

    The Parrot OS installation starts and takes about 20 minutes to complete. If you receive any errors during the download process, run the script again.

    During installation, additional prompts for MAC address, sslh, and Wireshark pop up, press enter to use the default options for each of the configurations.

  10. When the installation is complete, check your Linux distribution information with the following command.

    $ cat /etc/*release
    

    Output:

    PRETTY_NAME="Parrot OS 5.0 (Electro Ara)"
    NAME="Parrot OS"
    VERSION_ID="5.0"
    VERSION="5.0 (Electro Ara)"
    VERSION_CODENAME=ara
    ID=parrot
    ID_LIKE=debian
    HOME_URL="https://www.parrotsec.org/"
    SUPPORT_URL="https://community.parrotsec.org/"
    BUG_REPORT_URL="https://community.parrotsec.org/"
    
  11. Restart the Server to boot into the new Parrot OS system.

    $ sudo reboot
    

5. How to Upgrade

  1. Confirm your Parrot OS version.

    $ cat /etc/issue
    
  2. Update Parrot OS packages.

    $ sudo apt update
    
  3. Install Parrot Core.

    $ sudo apt install parrot-core
    
  4. Upgrade Parrot OS.

     $ sudo parrot-upgrade
    

    The command upgrades all existing server packages and the base Parrot OS system to the latest version. Follow the upgrade process and reply to any prompts until completion.

  5. Reboot the server.

    $ sudo reboot
    

    You have successfully upgraded to the latest Parrot OS release. Access your Parrot OS desktop and navigate to System Information, or run $ cat /etc/issue in the terminal to verify your new Parrot OS version.

More Information

You have successfully installed Parrot OS on a Vultr Instance. For more information and configuration options, please visit the official Parrot OS documentation.

Next Steps

Parrot OS contains powerful tools for security and penetration testing. Please familiarize yourself with Vultr's Terms of Service and Acceptable Use Policy before using your Parrot OS system.

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