Top 10 Penetration Testing Tools of 2024

Top 10 Penetration Testing Tools of 2024

7 mins read401 Views Comment
Anshuman
Anshuman Singh
Senior Executive - Content
Updated on Apr 12, 2024 10:01 IST

Penetration testing is attempting an authorized simulated attack to exploit a system’s security vulnerabilities to learn about possible weaknesses and the damage those vulnerabilities can cause. To perform penetration testing (Pen Test), you can use various Penetration Testing Tools.

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Some of the most common penetration testing tools are Netsparker, Wireshark, Metasploit, and so on. This article will explore the top ten penetration testing tools in detail. But, before we start, let’s go over the top ten penetration testing tools listed under the table of contents (TOC) that we will cover in this article.

Table of Content (TOC)

Here’s the graphical representation of the top ten penetration testing tools:

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Let’s explore each of them in detail.

Nmap

Nmap is a shortened form for Network Mapper. It is a free and open-source tool that you can use for port scanning, vulnerability testing, and network mapping. Due to its flexible, open-source code base, you can modify this tool to work in most customized or highly specialized environments.

The best feature of this penetration testing tool is that it provides a quick overview of all open ports on any given network. This tool also includes debugging tool, a comparison tool for comparing scan results, and a packet generation tool.

Advantages of using this penetration testing tool:

  • Simple to use.
  • Free and open-source tool.
  • There are numerous networking features.

Disadvantages of using this penetration tool:

  • The scanning range is limited.
  • To use, extensive knowledge is required.
  • Since it is easily accessible, malicious hackers use it.

Metasploit 

Metasploit is the industry’s best open-source penetrating framework, which security experts use as a penetration testing system. This tool enables an individual, such as a network administrator, to break in and recognize critical flaws. Some novice hackers also use this tool to hone their skills.

Metasploit’s various tools, user interfaces, libraries, and modules. All these tools, interfaces, etc., allows a user to customize a disruptive software (module), pair it with a payload (such as viruses, worms, trojan horses, ransomware, etc.), point at a target, and launch it at the target system.

Metasploit’s objective is to assist users in identifying where they are the most vulnerable to cyberattacks and to quickly and effectively patch those holes before attackers exploit them.

Advantages of using this penetration testing tool:

  • Easy to understand
  • Open-source testing tool.
  • Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux are all supported.
  • It is suitable for use on servers, applications, and networks.

Disadvantages of using this penetration tool:

  • Learning this tool can be a difficult task.
  • For easy navigation, prior knowledge is required.
  • It has the potential to crash the system if not handled properly.
  • Metasploit may be challenging to install if an antivirus is installed on the same system.

WireShark 

Wireshark is an open-source network traffic profiling and packet analysis tool. This tool provides detailed information about your network protocols, decryption, packet information, and so on. This tool is also known as a sniffer, network analyzer, network protocol analyzer, etc.

Wireshark captures real-time packets and displays them in a human-readable format. This tool is compatible with Linux, FreeBSD, OS X, Solaris, Windows, NetBSD, and various other operating systems.

Advantages of using this penetration testing tool:

  • Real-time traffic analysis.
  • Inspects and decrypts protocols
  • Offline and live analysis options are available.
  • It is open-source and has a sizable community of supporters and developers.
  • All of the components required for tracking, analyzing, and documenting network traffic are available.
  • It gives you the ability to investigate even the minute network activities, such as data about source and destination protocols.

Disadvantages of using this penetration tool:

  • There are no real-time alerts for any intrusions.
  • Capable of analyzing data but not transmitting it.

Note: In short, it is not an Intrusion Detection System or IDS; hence this tool cannot raise the alarm if there is any malicious activity on the network.

Burp Suite 

Burp Suite is a collection of tools for web application penetration testing. These sets of tools (such as Spider, Proxy, etc.) fully integrate to assist with the entire testing process, from preliminary mapping and analysis of an application’s attack surface to identifying and exploiting security flaws.

You can even use this tool to modify the raw HTTP before sending the request to the web server. While doing so, this tool acts as a proxy, or “man in the middle,” between you and the web application, enabling you to have more accurate control over the traffic you receive and transmit.

Advantages of using this penetration testing tool:

  • Has an easy-to-use interface.
  • The pro version includes a valuable and powerful scanner.
  • There are both open-source and commercial editions available.

Disadvantages of using this penetration tool:

  • The pro version is expensive.
  • Better integrations are required.
  • The free version includes limited functionality.

Nikto 

Nikto, also known as Nikto2, is an open-source software. This tool allows you to scan a web server for vulnerabilities that can be exploited and cause the server to be compromised. This tool includes a web server scanner, a pre-packaged list of potentially harmful files, and a misconfiguration checker.

Nikto can run comprehensive tests against web servers for various security threats, including over 6700 pre-packaged lists of potentially dangerous files, as well as check for outdated version-specific issues and web server software.

Advantages of using this penetration testing tool:

  • It is freely accessible to the general public.
  • It is compatible with Linux, Windows, and Mac.
  • The dashboard is simple to use and manage devices in.
  • Allows new network devices to be discovered automatically

Disadvantages of using this penetration tool:

  • There’s no graphical user interface.
  • It won’t work unless you pay for a vulnerability list.
  • There is no development team as well as a community forum.

Intruder

Intruder is a cloud-based vulnerability scanner that aids in the detection of flaws in your online systems. This tool can help you save time by quickly and effectively scanning for new threats and offering a unique threat analysis system that simplifies vulnerability management.

Intruder security checks include detecting missing patches, configuration issues, and standard web app issues like cross-site scripting, SQL injection, etc.

Advantages of using this penetration testing tool:

  • Simple to use.
  • Alerts that are easily manageable.
  • It includes highly secured scanning functionalities that you can use at the bank and government levels.

Disadvantages of using this penetration tool:

  • Reports are hard to understand.
  • There is no zero false positive assurance.
  • There is no manual penetration testing service available.

Kali Linux 

Kali Linux is a free, open-source operating system designed for security professionals, penetration testers, and ethical hackers. It is based on Debian and aims to provide over 600 tools for penetration testing and security auditing. Penetration Testing tools in Kali Linux include tool listings, version tracking, and meta-packages.

Advantages of using this penetration testing tool:

  • Open-source and available for free
  • There are over 600 penetration tools included.
  • Support for various languages and can be customized.

Disadvantages of using this penetration tool:

  • Kali Linux is slightly slower.
  • Few applications in Kali Linux may fail.
  • Because Kali Linux is Penetration Oriented, it is not recommended for people who are new to Linux.

Nessus 

Nessus is a popular paid penetration testing tool that allows network security experts and admins to inspect their networks by scanning IP address ranges and recognizing vulnerabilities using a series of plug-ins.

This tool provides greater flexibility in vulnerability detection across the network and is simple to implement. Nessus can even scan from outside the firewall, providing real-time visibility of security flaws.

Advantages of using this penetration testing tool:

  • Simple to set up and use
  • Advanced detection is provided
  • Cost-effective for businesses of all sizes
  • Provides precise visibility into your networks

Disadvantages of using this penetration tool:

  • The free version is lacking in features.
  • The commercial version is expensive.

W3af 

The acronym w3af stands for web application attack and audit framework. This open-source web-based security scanner includes a vulnerability scanner and web application exploitation tools.

This tool also provides security vulnerability information for use in penetration testing. w3af provides a highly user-friendly graphical user interface and a command-line interface.

Advantages of using this penetration testing tool:

  • Open-source and available for free
  • It has an easy-to-use graphical interface for beginners.
  • Identifies nearly 200 different flaws in web applications

Disadvantages of using this penetration tool:

  • There is a chance of false positives.

John The Ripper 

John the Ripper is a password security auditing and password recovery tool available for various operating systems. One notable feature of John is its ability to autodetect encryption for standard formats. This will save you significant time researching hash formats and locating the appropriate tool to crack them.

John the Ripper tool combines several different cracking programs and operates in brute force and dictionary attack modes. This software also includes a variety of encryption technologies for Windows and Unix platforms.

Advantages of using this penetration testing tool:

  • It is available for free.
  • Provides the most straightforward method for guessing a password.
  • Supports a large number of different password hash types.

Disadvantages of using this penetration tool:

  • It is difficult to understand the software for regular users.
  • The free version has limited functionality, and the paid version is expensive.

Conclusion

In this article, we have discussed what penetration testing is, and the top then tools that you can use in order to conduct penetration testing. If you have any queries related to the topic, please feel free to send your query to us through a comment. We will be happy to help.

Happy learning!!

About the Author
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Anshuman Singh
Senior Executive - Content

Anshuman Singh is an accomplished content writer with over three years of experience specializing in cybersecurity, cloud computing, networking, and software testing. Known for his clear, concise, and informative wr... Read Full Bio