Introduction

Would it be cool or funny for you to know if a firm hires you to hack its own network or server? Yes, companies do hire people for simulated cyber-attacks, and the process is called Penetration Testing. 

  1. What Is Penetration Testing?
  2. How do Penetration Tests work?
  3. Types of Penetration Testing

1. What Is Penetration Testing?

In Penetration Testing, professional hackers try to break into the company’s networks or servers through penetration testing tools to find out its weaknesses before a real attacker finds it. However, with the advancement of technology, there are now various security and penetration testing tools available in the market. Let’s take a look at the top 30 penetration testing tools.

  1. Netsparker
  2. Acunetix
  3. Core Impact
  4. HackerOne
  5. Intruder
  6. Indusface WAS Free Website Security Check
  7. BreachLock Inc.
  8. Metasploit
  9. Wireshark
  10. W3af
  11. Kali Linux
  12. Nessus
  13. Burpsuite
  14. Cain & Abel
  15. Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP)
  16. John The Ripper
  17. Retina
  18. Sqlmap
  19. Canvas
  20. Social-Engineer Toolkit
  21. Sqlninja
  22. Nmap
  23. BeEF
  24. Dradis
  25. Probely
  26. Spyse
  27. Aircrack
  28. Acunetix Scanner
  29. Ettercap
  30. Wapiti

2. How do Penetration Tests work?

With the rising chances of cybersecurity issues in the tech-driven world, Penetration Testing, also known as Pen Testing, helps companies defend themselves from potential maliciousness.

According to security and vulnerability analyzing firm, Positive Technologies, in nearly 93% of companies, the penetration testers successfully breached the network perimeter and accessed the local network in just an average of four days. What’s more shocking is that, in over 71% of the companies, an untrained hacker would have been able to breach the internal network easily.

3. Types of Penetration Testing

While there’s plenty of sub-categories of Penetration Testing; the different types of a penetration test can be classified into four groups. The four types of Penetration Testing are — External network penetration test, Internal network penetration test, Web application penetration test, and Social Engineering.

  • External network penetration test: In an external network penetration test, an ethical hacker aims to access your organization’s network with limited hacking techniques. This process is usually done remotely, as a hacker would do to successfully simulate the targeted attack from malicious parties on the server.
  • Internal network penetration test: The target of the Internal network penetration test is the same as all pen tests, which is to find a weak point. But in the internal penetration test, the starting point is assumed as the hacker has already entered the network.
  • Web application penetration test: The tech world is now blooming, and a number of new apps are surfacing every day. With access to personal data and financial information, these apps are now becoming a soft target for hackers. With the help of a web application penetration test, companies look for security issues that might grant hackers access to your websites and web applications. 
  • Social Engineering: A social engineering penetration test helps organizations to assess and understand the vulnerabilities associated with people or users. In Social Engineering pen tests, the professional hacker conducts different social engineering attacks like— phishing, impersonation, or USB drops.

Here’s a list of penetration testing tools: 

1. Netsparker

Netsparker is one of the best penetration testing tools for web applications. It is an automated, yet dead accurate automatic web application security scanner. It helps you to scan the websites, applications, and other web services to identify potential security threats. The software can assess all types of web and applications, regardless of the language or the platform they are built on.

2. Acunetix

Acunetix is also an end-to-end, fully automated web application vulnerability scanner. It can detect and report on over 6500 vulnerabilities including SQL Injection, Cross-site scripting, and other potential vulnerabilities.

3. Core Impact

Core Impact is one of the most comprehensive penetration testing tools, which claims to have the largest range of exploits available in the market for penetration testing. 

4. HackerOne

Hackerone is One of the top choices for Fortune 500 and Forbes Global 1000 companies looking for security testing platforms. It is renowned for its capabilities of finding and fixing critical vulnerabilities. Some of the marquee partners of Hackerone include— U.S. Department of Defense, Google, and CERT Coordination Center.

5. Intruder

Intruder, a cloud-based scanner is a powerful vulnerability scanner that finds cybersecurity weaknesses in your digital platforms and explains the key risks. It also helps with remediation before an actual hacker can breach the platform.

6. Indusface WAS Free Website Security Check

The penetration testing tools Indusface WAS offers both manual penetration testing as well as its own automated web application vulnerability testing. Indusface WAS Free Website Security Check detects and reports threats based on OWASP top 10, and it also includes a Website reputation check, malware, and other kinds of scans.

7. BreachLock Inc.

BreachLock’s Web Application Vulnerability Scanner RATA (Reliable Attack Testing Automation) is the first AI-based, both cloud, and actual hacker-powered, automated threat scanner.

8. Metasploit

Based on the concept of ‘exploit’, Metasploit is one of the most advanced and preferred frameworks that is used for pen testing. ‘Exploit’ is a code that can bypass the safety measures and penetrate into a system or a server. 

9. Wireshark

Wireshark is a network protocol analyzer, which is well known for providing even the minutest details about the server, packet information, and decryption among others. Wireshark is available for nearly all operating systems, including Windows, Linux, OS X, Solaris, FreeBSD, NetBSD, and others.

10. W3af

W3af is one of the few penetrations testing open-source tools available free of charge to download and has a command-line interface. It works on all popular operating systems including Linux, Apple Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows.

11. Kali Linux

The penetration testing open-source tool, Kali Linux, is maintained by the parent Offensive Security. Tools listings, version tracking, and meta-packages are some of the top penetration testing tools offered by Kali Linux. 

12. Nessus

Nessus is the topmost robust vulnerability scanner available, according to industry experts. Nessus offers premium services like compliance checks, sensitive data searches, IP scans, website scanning, and others. 

13. Burpsuite

Burpsuite is known for its exceptional skills of intercepting proxy, crawling content and functionality, web application scanning, among others. Burpsuite is available for top OS systems such as Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.

14. Cain & Abel

Cain & Abel is free to use the tool, and it utilizes top security methods for you to stay safe. It is known for using methods like network sniffing, dictionary, brute-force & cryptanalysis attacks, among others. However, this is only for Microsoft operating systems.

15. Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP)

Zed Attack Proxy or ZAP is free to use a scanner and security threats finder. ZAP is known for its exceptional skills like proxy intercepting a variety of scanners, spiders, among others.

16. John The Ripper

John The Ripper comes in a pro and free form and is the fastest tool in its genre

17. Retina

Retina scans all the hosts on a server and reports for potential vulnerabilities. Retina is known to be written by eEye, who is well renowned for its security research.

18. Sqlmap

Sqlmap is another renowned name in the pen testing industry. It is used for detecting and exploiting SQL injection problems in web applications and hacking of the database servers.

19. Canvas

Immunity’s Canvas tool is well known for offering more than 400 exploits and variant payload options. Canvas is mostly useful for wireless systems, networks, servers, and web applications.

20. Social-Engineer Toolkit

The Social-Engineer Toolkit feature lets you send emails, java applets, and other tech stuff containing the attack code in order to check your system capabilities. However, it’s recommended to be used for only ‘white-hat’ purposes.  

21. Sqlninja

Sqlninja is a penetration testing open-source tool and has a command-line interface, which performs well on Linux, Apple Mac OS X, except Microsoft Windows.

22. Nmap

Nmap or Network Mapper is not necessarily a pen-testing tool, but it is a very popular hacking tool that helps you understand the characteristics of any potential threat to your network. 

23. BeEF

The Browser Exploitation Framework or BeEF is a pen-testing tool, which focuses on the web browser as a target system. 

24. Dradis

Dradis is another penetration testing open-source tool, which offers a GUI interface, which works best on Linux, Apple OS X, and Microsoft Windows.

25. Probely

Probely is one of the best penetration testing tools known to scan web applications to find potential threats. It has capabilities of detecting OWASP TOP10 and various other vulnerabilities. And, can also be used for checking specific PCI-DSS, HIPAA, ISO27001, and GDPR requirements.

26. Spyse

Spyse is not a pen-testing tool; it’s a search engine but offers everything that a pen tester might need to complete a security check.  

27. Aircrack

Aircrack NG is known for cracking vulnerabilities within wireless connections. It does so by capturing data packets for an effective protocol in exporting through text files. 

28. Acunetix Scanner

Acunetix is an automated Scanning tool that is capable of auditing complicated reports and spotting compliance issues. 

29. Ettercap

The Ettercap software is known for eroding the chances of man in the middle attacks. Ettercap is capable of sending invalid frames and complete techniques, which are quite difficult with its likes.

30. Wapiti

Wapiti is one of the best penetration testing open source tools, which allows black-box testing for potential threats. 

Conclusion

If you are interested in learning ethical hacking tools from the industry experts, HackerU, and Jigsaw Academy’s Master Certificate in Cyber Security (Red Team) is perfect for you. It allows you to work on offensive technologies on the simulated interface, prepare for the real threats in virtual environments, and get successfully placed at the end of the program.

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