The right tools are a key part of penetration testing. You can identify vulnerabilities more effectively by being able to automate scans and crack passwords.
Pen testing is a job that requires you to be familiar with the tools. We’ve compiled a list with 10 of the most useful tools for pen testers.
But, before we dive in, here are some notes:
Hack responsibly! Hackers and pen testers have a lot to offer the digital world. This means that they can do a lot good or a lot bad. Aim to do good. We all know from Marvel’s superhero, Captain Marvel, that great power comes with great responsibility. Be careful not to accidentally get into legal trouble by scanning unauthorized documents. We recommend that you read Nmap’s article “Legal Issues” early in your pen testing career.
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Get started training While tools are a key part of the job, they are not the only thing you need. Experience, knowledge, and an outside-the-box approach are all important. Despite the power of software and automation, pen testing is still a very personal endeavor. Make sure you take the time to understand InfoSec conceptually and practically, as well as learn about tools.
Focus on depth and not just breadth. Here are 10 tools, an operating-system, and some hacking hardware. This is enough to get lost in. Pen testers who have a deep understanding and appreciation for a few tools are more successful than those who only have a superficial understanding of 100. You should make sure you are doing deep dives with the tools that you choose. This can make a big difference. Effective hacking is about catching other people’s mistakes or oversights.
Let’s move on to our list of penetration tools.
Nmap for Port Scanning
Open source Nmap, short for “networkmapper”), is one of the most widely used port scanners. Nmap is a great tool for checking open ports across a network or on a host. Nmap is more than a port scanner. It’s a powerful security auditing and network discovery tool. Nmap’s Network Scripting Engine, (NSE), for example, allows in-depth network discovery, version detection, and a way to check out known vulnerabilities.
Nmap is a command-line utility. Zenmap offers a Graphical User Interface for nmap. We recommend that pen testing be done using the command line. However, a GUI can be helpful for pen testing.
Nmap is a great addition to any pen tester’s toolkit due to its power, extensibility and ease-of-use. It is compatible with a variety of *nix, Windows and Mac OS X operating system. Nmap can be downloaded here.
WireShark for Packet Analysis
WireShark is a big favorite of ours, as you may have guessed. WireShark is a popular packet analyzer and a great tool to test pen pens. Kali Linux has made WireShark the standard for packet analysis in many industries.
WireShark is a powerful tool because it allows you to do deep dives. It is one of many great ways to understand how a system, protocol or network works. It’s also a great tool to identify vulnerabilities during penetration testing.
WireShark, like most other tools on this list, has a robust command line interface (CLI). WireShark’s intuitive GUI is one of my favorite features. It’s powerful, but it’s still easy to use. It can capture packets directly and it also helps me parse through.pacp files that tcpdump creates.
WireShark, like Nmap, can be run on a variety operating systems, including *nix and Windows. Download WireShark here.
Learn how to use WireShark efficiently. Take a look at our WireShark video training.