Installing Gallium OS + Pen-Testing tools on Stock Chromebook

A while back I picked up an Acer Chromebook 14 as an inexpensive laptop I could use around the house or lug along on trips without being overly paranoid I’d break it, lose it, or have it stolen.  I did initially look into installing Linux on it after having it a few months but firmware support was very sketchy with newer Braswell Chromebooks at the time so I put it on the back burner for a while.  I did toy around with using Crouton but performance was frustratingly bad and didn’t seem worth the bother to me.

Thankfully, earlier this year MrChromeBox updated his firmware installation script with full support for Braswell-based Chromebooks, so let’s finally get Gallium OS installed and turn this into a normal more versatile laptop!  And why not install some Kali tools as well?  I probably won’t use this for a lot of heavy lifting in doing pen-test labs, but it definitely would be handy to have some wireless and other basic Kali apps installed

Enable Developer Mode

Disable HD Write Protection (optional)
  • https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/Acer+Chromebook+14+Teardown/76353 (thanks Alex for the step-by-step tear-down guide)
  • Depending on your particular hardware you may not have to do this at all or you can still boot into Linux without it removed.  If you don’t disable write protection the system just won’t automatically load into Linux from cold boot (you’ll need to ctrl-L from bootup splash screen instead).

Prepare Installation Media
Firmware Update
  • https://mrchromebox.tech/
  • This step was surprisingly easy with the provided script.  With developer mode enabled you can just log in with a guest account, pop into a shell, run the script, and that’s pretty much it!

Galllium OS Installation

  • https://wiki.galliumos.org/Installing
  • Depending if you have hardware protection still in place or not, you will either reboot and load the bootable drive immediately, or type “Ctrl-L” at the OS verification screen.

Kali Tools (for any Debian based OS)

  • https://github.com/LionSec/katoolin
  • You’ll just need GIT + Python install prior to running the script.
  • I used LionSec’s Katoolin as an easy method of installing all of the required Kali repos and specified apps.  For myself I selected the repos for installation, Wireless Attacks (group), and Sniffing/Snooping (group).  It’s an easy apt-get install away to get nmap, wireshark, nikto, or whatever else you need now that you have all the repositories required.  If you want it to be as Kali-like as possible you can even install all apps at once plus the full Kali menu.
So far I’ve been extremely pleased with the performance, battery life, and stability.  It’s nice to be able to re-purpose the hardware and no longer be stuck exclusively in Chromeland.

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