How to Install Kali Linux NetHunter on Android Phone

How to Install Kali Linux NetHunter on Android Phone

Kali Linux is the most popular penetration testing and security auditing operating system in the world. Thanks to the NetHunter project, it is now possible to install Kali Linux on an Android phone.

NetHunter is the mobile version of Kali Linux and designed for Android devices. It’s a powerful tool for penetration testing. This tutorial shows how to install NetHunter on any unrooted Android phone.

If you are interested in penetration testing, you should also check out these additional penetration tools for Android, and desktop.

What Is Kali Linux NetHunter?

Kali Linux NetHunter is the mobile version of the popular Kali Linux security operating system. You can install it on any unrooted Android phone to run many penetration testing tools from your phone.

Kali NetHunter is available in three versions:

  • NetHunter Rootless for unrooted Android phones
  • NetHunter for rooted phones with custom recovery with a NetHunter-specific kernel
  • NetHunter Lite for phones with custom recovery

The NetHunter suite, for all three versions, is made up of the following:

  • NetHunter App Store with hundreds of security applications
  • Kali Linux container that includes all the apps available in Kali Linux
  • Android app to access the NetHunter App Store
  • NetHunter KeX (Desktop Experience) to run Kali desktop sessions. NetHunter KeX includes support for screencasting and mirroring.

Steps to Install Kali Linux NetHunter on Android

The only requirement for installing Kali Linux Nethunter is that the phone is running Android 7 or newer. We recommend an Android version before 12, as the latter monitors and kills the processes of apps when they consume too much processing power.

1. Install Termux on Your Phone

  1. While you can get the Termux app from Google Play Store, the variant is deprecated: it doesn’t receive updates and contains bugs and outdated repositories. We recommend that you install the latest version from its GitHub page.
Dowabloading Termux app from Github

Download the app by clicking on the option highlighted above. The download should take a few seconds, based on your Internet speed. Tap on the downloaded file to install it.

  1. By default, your phone does not allow you to install apps from unknown sources. In that case, you have to set up the permissions by tapping “Settings.”
Nethunter Installing Termux
  1. Your phone will redirect you to a settings page where you can opt to allow app installs from your browser, as shown:
Installing unknown apps
  1. You’ll reach the Install option that will allow you to install the app.
Installing the Termux app

2. Upgrade Repositories

Once the Termux app is installed, you should update the repositories. Debian Linux and most of its derived versions use APT (Advanced Package Tool) to install the software. Refer to this ultimate guide to apt and apt-get commands for your reference.

By running the update command, we retrieve package source information from the configured resources. The upgrade command will use the information to upgrade all packages to the latest versions.

You can also learn basic Linux commands to make better use of Termux.

First, run the update command:

apt update
Updating repositories in Termux

Enter the following command:

apt upgrade
Upgrading repositories in Termux App

When asked “Do you want to continue?” press Y and Enter.

Next, set up the storage permissions for the Termux app by using this command:

Setting up termux setup storage permissions

It should trigger a pop-up that asks whether you want to allow Termux to access files on your device. Tap on “Allow.”

Allowing termux to access files

3. Install NetHunter

  1. Install Wget by running this command:
apt install wget
Installing wget on Termux

When asked, “Do you want to continue?” reply with Y.

  1. Download the NetHunter installation file by running the command below. Ensure that you enter the address correctly.
wget -O install-nethunter-termux
Downloading NetHunter Installation package
  1. Adjust the file permissions of the downloaded file, making it executable:
chmod +x install-nethunter-termux
Running chmod command on Termux
  1. Execute NetHunter:
Starting Kali NetHunter on Android

The installation may take some time, depending on your Internet connection speed.

  1. When asked whether you want to delete the downloaded rootfs file, reply with N, as you may need it later.
Nethunter Installed

4. Start Kali NetHunter

To start the Kali Linux NetHunter Command Line Interface, type in this command:


You can also use the nh command as a shortcut for NetHunter.

Starting NetHunter CLI

The next step is to set the NetHunter KeX password. Note that you have to exit the NetHunter CLI to run this command:

nethunter kex passwd
Nethunter Kex Password

Start NetHunter KeX by running this command:

nethunter kex

Please take note of the RFB Port number, as you will use it later.

Running NetHunter KeX

At this point, NetHunter is up and running, but you have to configure displays to use the software.

5. Install NetHunter KeX

NetHunter KeX is the App Store for NetHunter. This app store contains different tools that you may not get on your regular app store. Don’t confuse it with Samsung Dex.

  1. Visit the NetHunter App Store website.
  2. Download and install the NetHunter store app.
NetHunter app store
  1. Launch the app store, search for NetHunter KeX and install it.
Installing NetHunter KeX from NetHunter Store
  1. After the NetHunter Store app downloads the NetHunter KeX app, you will be asked whether you wish to install it. Tap “Install.”
Installing NetHunter KeX
  1. Launch NetHunter KeX. The app requires you to enter the KeX username and password. The user name is optional; in our case, we will not need it. Enter the password you set earlier and ensure that the port number is similar to what you had when you configured NetHunter KeX, then click “Connect.”
NetHunter KeX App
  1. If you followed all the steps correctly, you should have Kali NetHunter GUI running on your Android phone.
Kali Linux on Android

Using Kali Linux Nethunter on Android

For your comfort, you can choose any input mode: Direct Swipe Pan, Direct Hold Pan, Single Hand, and Simulated Touchpad. The Direct Swipe Pan mode enables you to control the mouse directly by touching it. When you tap, the mouse clicks where you tapped.

To use Direct Hold Pan mode, long tap to start pan mode. Tapping makes the mouse click where you tapped. The Simulated Touchpad mode converts your screen into a simulated touchpad. Lastly, the Single Hand mode works similar to the Direct and Swap Pan modes, except long tapping opens a menu with a list of options.

Alternatively, if you want to access your Android phone from Kali Linux (on a desktop), learn how in this tutorial.

Frequently Asked Questions

What phones are compatible with Kali NetHunter?

NetHunter Rootless is compatible with most Android phones. The Termux App, which serves as the container for NetHunter, requires Android 7 or later. However, devices running on Android 12 may not work, as it often kills the processes of apps when they consume too much processing power.

Will Kali NetHunter on my phone break the Android operating system?

Installing the Kali NetHunter Rootless does not replace your phone’s operating system. It runs just like any other app on your phone. In addition, you will not need to reinstall the operating system when uninstalling Kali NetHunter. You can also update your phone without any issues.

Image credit: Kali. All screenshots by Allan Ngetich

Allan Ngetich
Allan Ngetich

Allan Ngetich is a writer at Make Tech Easier, a website that provides tips, tricks and tutorials on technology. He was born and raised in Kenya, and has always been interested in technology. He started his career as a blog writer, and has since written for several websites. He is a firm believer in hard work and team work, and is always striving to improve his skills.

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