Are you into cybersecurity verification? If yes, you definitely have come across the term "Penetration Testing Tools/Pen Testing" at least once in your entire career. Pentesting involves scanning and checking different networks, servers, as well as websites for network vulnerabilities. The whole process is performed to identify the fatal weak points and work on making a system more secure.
Being an ethical hacker, it's your job to simulate real-world cyber-attacks and design similar security attacks in order to find out how black-hat hackers might do it. But all these processes can go in vain if you don't have the right penetration testing tool. Finding a suitable pen-testing tool for your work can be a tedious job as it demands thorough research.
That's why we've tested different ones and listed the top 10 of them here. Each of these tools comprises unique features and is available for multiple platforms. So go through the list and check out the details to find the perfect fit for your work. Let’s start!
How Does Penetration Tests Work?
If you're a beginner, you must get a clear idea about the working methodology of penetration tests. But even before that, you have to have a good understanding of the targeted website/server/network system, exactly where you want to breach in.
Once you know the system in and out, find a pentesting software to check the network vulnerabilities existing within the system. When you successfully identify the fatal weak points, you need to show the results to the organization in order to help them in migrating or resolving the vulnerabilities. That's how a penetration test works to make a secured system more secure.
Different Types of Penetration Testing
There are various types of pen testing methods available. However, it can consist of multiple methods from this list.
- White Box Tests - It comprises different tools, and an organization renders it to the pen-testers. It helps the testers to know about the security information regarding the targeted systems in order to find network vulnerabilities.
- Blind Tests - Also known as black-box tests, the organization does not provide any security information about the targeted system to the pen-tester in these tests. Here, your goal will be to expose undetectable vulnerabilities.
- Double-Blind Tests - In a double-blind test, a.k.a. covert test, neither the organization provides any information about the targeted system, nor the security team gets the knowledge of the test. These types of restricted tests are typically controlled by the managing teams.
- External Tests - In an external test, a pentester finds network vulnerabilities from the outside or remotely. Generally, external tests are performed upon external-facing applications, i.e., websites.
- Internal Tests - Internal tests are performed within an organization. It's because these tests pinpoint the vulnerabilities within a system.
How to Perform a Pentest?
It's quite easy to perform a pentest if you have the knowledge and the right penetration testing tool(s). Here we've mentioned a step-by-step process to show you the technicalities of pen-testing in a simplified way. Have a look.
- Step 1: Start with a foolproof plan to determine the goals for a pen-test, i.e., knowing the targeted system, selecting the testing methods, and downloading the suitable pen-testing tool.
- Step 2: Next, you have to use the selected tool for scanning and listing the network vulnerabilities.
- Step 3: Now try to get access to the targeted system while staying within the network and from outside, simultaneously. You can perform security attacks like XSS, backdoors, SQL injection, etc., to see whether you can have unauthorized access to the network/server/website.
- Step 4: When you see that unauthorized access is possible, report that weak point to the organization.
Best Penetration Testing Tools
We’ve listed 10 powerful penetration testing tools here along with their benefits. Have a look.
Metasploit is the first preference of many white-hat hackers worldwide. This open-source pentesting automation framework helps professionals to verify different security assessments through vulnerability scanning and listening, evidence collection, exploiting the known vulnerabilities, and project reporting.
Alongside, it improves your awareness of the network packets and lets you stay one step ahead of real-world security attacks. Hence, you can easily break in as a network administrator using this tool and identify the weak points in order to set up a good defense.
Metasploit is suitable for the pentesters who manage a number of companies or have got different applications to test at once.
Available for: Windows, Linux, and macOS
- Metasploit is a great tool for OWASP vulnerability testing as it offers manual brute-forcing, spear phishing, and payloads for evading the leading solutions.
- It renders an amazing user experience while providing GUI along with the command line.
- This tool helps you to explore the older vulnerabilities existing within your infrastructure.
- You can collect evidence and make a project report for over 1500 exploits.
- Perform network segmentation tests with MetaModules.
- You can pentest different networks, servers, and applications.
The award-winning network protocol analyzer Wireshark used to be known as Ethereal 0.2.0. This tool involves almost 600 authors. Wireshark helps to capture the network packets and interpret those quickly. This open-source tool is best used for deep packet inspection and lets you explore the live protocols and systems, along with the most active accounts.
Available for: Windows, macOS, Solaris, Linux, and FreeBSD
- It helps you to capture each data packet and interpret their different attributes, including the source and destination protocols.
- Wireshark has the ability to investigate even the smallest details for all network activities.
- This tool allows you to do offline analysis and provides live-capture options too.
- Wireshark incorporates custom coloring rules to help you do rapid and intuitive analysis by highlighting the packets of interest.
If you're in search of a pentesting tool to pinpoint the fatal weak points within wireless connections, Aircrack-ng is your best bet. It is designed to capture data packets for different network-layer protocols and export a thorough analysis via text files.
Aircrack-ng is available for a range of operating systems and platforms with dictionary attacks against WEP keys. Not only that, it offers an advanced tracking speed and uses statistical, brute force tools to break into the WEP or WPA key.
This pentesting software supports various cards and drivers to make the job convenient for pen testers. Aircrack-ng is best used for command-line-heavy professionals who prefer to jot down the attacks and defense measures.
Available for: Windows, Linux, Solaris, NetBSD, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, and macOS
- Aircrack-ng captures network packets quickly and exports the data in text files.
- This software focuses on multiple aspects of security, i.e. monitoring, testing, attacking, and cracking.
- You can test Wi-Fi devices and driver capabilities with this tool.
- When it comes to attacking, you can build fake access points, de-authenticate, and execute replay attacks.
4. Burp Suite
When it comes to choosing the ideal pentesting web application, Burp Suite is unbeatable. It offers 2 different versions. If you only need to scan network activities, the free version is good to go with. But if you're working on an advanced-level pentesting, you must opt for the other version.
Besides scanning, Burp Suite provides full proxy capturing along with injection services. The UI is entirely optimized for professional penetration testers. Yes, you get a built-in profile to save your configurations for each job.
This tool is best used for information security professionals who are in charge of testing web-based applications on a daily basis.
Available for: Windows, Linux, and macOS
Why Burp Suite Pen Tester?
- This advanced-level software performs web penetration testing through the Java platform.
- It is capable of crawling web-based applications automatically.
- Burp Suite is an industry-standard tool as a plethora of enterprise professionals use it for checking network security threats.
5. Acunetix Scanner
Acunetix Scanner is another automated web security tool. It can audit complex management reports and compliance issues with great accuracy. This software is designed to attain a wide range of network vulnerabilities, including out-of-band ones.
The suite offers high-end HTTP Sniffers and WAFs. Acunetix Scanner pinpoints web vulnerabilities, like Cross-site Scripting(XSS), and SQL Injections, along with other network threats, like unprotected assets, web server misconfigurations, and malware. Its high detection rate makes it the best choice for internet security professionals.
Available for: Windows, macOS, and Linux
Why Acunetix Scanner?
- This tool incorporates AcuSensor Technology along with in-built vulnerability management and manual penetration tools for white and black box testing in order to help you remediate the vulnerabilities.
- It exploits more than 4,500 weak points along with XSS and SQL injection.
- You can implement the Login Sequence Recorder easily and scan all encrypted password fields.
- It can run locally as well as through the cloud.
Netsparker is another automated security scanner that works with high accuracy while pinpointing vulnerabilities. From SQL injection to cross-site scripting in web applications, and identifying web APIs, this software does every job efficiently.
Netsparker investigates the identified vulnerabilities in-depth to ensure those are real and not any false positives . Hence, you can save time as you don't have to run a check manually to verify the fatal weak points after the scanning is finished. You can even scan up to 500 to 1,000 web applications at the same time with Netsparker.
This tool allows you to customize your vulnerability scanning with authentication, URL rewrite rules, and attack options. In addition to that, it is designed to show you the impact of identified vulnerabilities instantly.
Netsparker is best used for top security solutions that deal with pentesting thousands of web applications regularly.
Available for: Windows, Linux, and Web
- This tool can scan over 1,000 web applications at the same time.
- Netsparker is convenient to use as you can easily add your team members to collaborate and share the findings with them.
- You get accurate regulatory compliance reports.
Do you want to have a dedicated pentesting tool for checking web browsers? If yes, look no further than BeEF. It is designed to pinpoint the vulnerabilities in your browser to combat web-borne attacks. The full form of BeEF is the Browser Exploitation Framework.
This tool does exactly the same as its name suggests. BeEF can benefit mobile clients also. It detects the issues through GitHub. It can exploit weak points going beyond the network perimeter and client system. That means, BeEF uses the advantage of an open web browser, considers it as a window to the targeted system, and plants its attacks accordingly.
This software is best used for penetration testers looking for an ideal tool to check web browsers.
Available for: Windows, Linux, macOS
- This is an open-source platform and connects with multiple web browsers alongside launching directed command modules.
- It works effectively to pinpoint the vulnerabilities in a web browser.
- The GUI interface is really convenient for users.
- BeEF allows you to use attack vectors from the client-side for checking the security measurements.
Listed among the most robust and powerful security/penetration testing tools, Nessus has been in the market for 20 years. Nessus incorporates more than 100,000 plugins, and 45,000 CEs to let the pentesters perform a number of tasks. Nessus is super convenient to use and offers you high-accuracy scanning with just a single click. Also, it provides you with a quick overview of the network vulnerabilities right after checking.
Starting from IP addresses and website scanning, and compliance checking to perform sensitive data searches, Nessus does most things to explore the weak spots within your system. This tool scans to detect open ports, misconfiguration errors, and weak passwords. Nessus is best used for small, medium, and enterprise vulnerability management organizations.
Available for: Windows, macOS, FreeBSD, Fedora, SUSE Linux, Ubuntu, Red Hat, Oracle Linux, and CentOS
- It renders dead accurate results as the tool has only 0.32 defects per million scans.
- Nessus is perfect for finding and marking the missing patches vulnerabilities as well as malware.
- The plugins and hosts allow you to create customized reports for different types of vulnerabilities.
- This tool offers priority remediation along with mobile and web application scanning and cloud environment testing.
W3af stands for Web Application Attack and Audit Framework. This tool is designed to find and exploit any type of vulnerabilities for all web apps. It offers 3 plugin types to perform attacks, do audits, and discover. Once w3af locates something, it sends it to the audit tool for checking the flaws within the security.
This pentesting application includes fast HTTP requests, injects the payloads within different HTTP requests, and integrates proxy and web servers into codes. In addition to that, w3af provides a command-line interface to work with.
Available for: Windows, macOS, and Linux
- An ideal choice for both amateurs and developers.
- This tool has the potential to work as a MITM proxy when configured properly.
- W3af can generate automated HTTP requests and raw HTTP requests too.
10. Kali Linux
This pentesting tool is basically a Linux distribution used for both password snipping and injecting. But you should have expertise in both IP control and TCP to make the most of Kali Linux. This open-source platform offers version tracking, tool listings, and meta-packages to make it more convenient for pen-testers.
In addition to that, Kali Linux has a prime number of features, i.e., accessibility, live USB with different persistence stores, complete customization of Kali ISOs, support for Android, full disk encryption, and even disk encryption on Raspberry Pi 2. Kali Linux is among the preferred penetration testing tools used by security professionals who deal with bulk testing.
Available for: Windows, macOS, and Linux
Why Kali Linux?
- You can use this tool for brute force password cracking in a 64-bit supported system.
- It incorporates more than 600 white-hat hacking tools.
- Kali Linux is a good tool for enhancing your penetration testing skills as the software has a live image loaded within the RAM, which tests the security skills of white-hat hackers.
- It offers different security tools for weak point analysis.
That’s all! These 10 are the top penetration testing tools available in the market right now. You just need to pick one as per your requirements and mode of working. Stay connected for more guides, and don’t forget to share your opinion through the comment box below.
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