Mac for Hackers: How to Get Your Mac Ready for Hacking

How to Get Your Mac Ready for Hacking

When it comes to hacking guides, most are written from the perspective of a Linux user. There are a few outliers, but it's mainly Linux, which leads to the idea that Linux is the only OS that's viable for hacking. This couldn't be further from the truth. A properly set up Apple machine can do quite a bit of heavy lifting.

In the days before macOS (previously called OS X), hacking on an Apple machine was laughable. Tools were sparse, the hardware was specific to Apple, and developers often didn't bother porting to Mac because of the small market share or the perception that they weren't for serious computing. In those days, Windows and Linux ruled the scene.

But things have changed—macOS is a serious contender in the hacking scene, and Macs are now up to a 7.4 and 13% market share worldwide and in the US, respectively.

Apple machines run a POSIX compliant UNIX variant, and the hardware is essentially the same as what you would find in a high-end PC. This means that most hacking tools run on the Mac operating system. It also means that an Apple machine can run Linux and Windows with ease. That's a lot of bang for your buck out of one machine! If that weren't enough, macOS is easy to use and maintain.

So for all of your forgotten about Mac-using hackers out there, my first series of how-tos is for you, and will help you overcome the first hurdle—setting up a hacking environment. Once that environment is established, pulling down tools and using them is a piece of cake.

In this series, I will be covering the following topics:

  1. enabling full disk encryption
  2. creating encrypted disk images
  3. managing passwords with KeePassX
  4. installing iTerm2, a better Terminal
  5. using Git with local repositories
  6. setting up Homebrew, a package manager
  7. maintaining Ruby environments with RVM
  8. installing Kali Linux
  9. installing the Metasploit Framework
  10. organizing your tools

Also, it'd be a good idea to learn the basics of the Vim text editor, which works the same across Linux and Mac. If you've used it before outside of the Mac operating system, you'll do just fine.

After following along with all the guides listed above, you will have a Mac configured for hacking. You will also have a grasp on why these things are vital. While the basic tools for configuring a machine for hacking may vary from platform to platform, the concepts will remain the same. This series will give you solid building blocks to work from not just on your Mac, but on all platforms!

Cover image by NXTjenGFX


can't wait for this series!!


Sounds like an interesting series!


a good series is coming than but, what do you think about a Docker container with some tools ? We can install some tools like :

  • W3af-console
  • SQLMap
  • Arachni
  • Nikto
  • Websploit
  • Nmap

I could show how to set up a docker container. Those tools that you listed will all run on macOS though.

Oh ok ! Thanks for your answer

The reason Mac isn't seen as a serious OS for hacking isn't due to the hardware. It's due to the OS itself being so closed off. Linux is a transparent OS with the capacity to control even the smallest aspects, OSX is not.


Nice post!

Question: If I'm setting up my mac for hacking would it be bad to have my terminal show my real name? i.e: computer <realname>$

Or would it be better to have a completely different name/account/user?

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