With businesses getting digital, there’s a huge rise in hacking and ransomware cyberattacks. These attacks are designed with the purpose to turn the computer systems into an unusable state and demand for a lump sum value in return. Cybercriminals might have other reasons also to break into your system, such as stealing confidential information, exposing all your data, etc.
It is not so easy to find the loophole, decode and fix hacking. At times, even an expert with good experience fails to turn the computer systems into a stable state. The inexorable rise of the digital age is very much responsible for an increase in hacking cases.
Even with so many security protocols and encryption techniques, cyber attackers often figure out the loophole and make their move. Thus, to protect your systems and company data, one must timely conduct penetration tests that help probe security weak spots and can fix them on time. However, it is not a perfect solution for hacking.
Thus, the only way to secure your systems against hacker attacks is to use the white hat hacker practices, also referred to as Ethical Hacking.
Here, we will discuss Ethical Hacking and some of its popular tools that can prove to be exceptionally helpful.
What are Ethical Hacking Tools?
Earlier, the term Hacker signified experts with knowledge and skills to re-develop mainframe systems. They had the ability to increase efficiency and multi-task. However, today the term Hacker defines experts as skilled programmers who get into different computer systems without authorized access by exploiting weaknesses or using bugs.
To prevent hackers from fulfilling their purpose, the ethical hacking practice was introduced. It is also referred to as a “White Hat” hacking technique that identifies and corrects vulnerabilities in a network.
Under Ethical Hacking, experts bypass security systems to discover potential threats present in a network. Unlike malicious hacking, it is a legal process where Cyber Security engineers investigate the network and perform activities to spot weak areas and loopholes. Ethical hackers collect data and fix the loopholes that malicious hackers can exploit or destroy.
Today, most companies invest in ethical hacking practices to look into the vulnerabilities of their systems and prevent data breaches.
Is it Legal to Use Hacking Tools?
There are six types of hackers – The Ethical Hacker (White Hat), Cracker, Grey hat, Script kiddies, Hacktivist, and Phreaker.
Hacking or penetration tests are mostly performed by a team of highly skilled professionals for research. However, if the same practice is conducted without permission against a company or a person, it is taken as an offense. In fact, there are certain acts introduced by the government that covers hacking offenses and includes severe punishment for illegal activities.
One can use hacking tools, and no punishment will be granted, only if it fulfills the following conditions:
- The tool is used for white hat hacking practice.
- The practitioner has legal and secured written permission from the targeted site, i.e., the one you are planning to attack.
Make sure you fulfill both the conditions or else you’ll have to bear the consequences. Launching a penetration attack without the person’s knowledge can be offensive, and you might have to go through the legal process.
The Best Ethical Hacking Tools
Ethical hackers are professionals that use their hacking skills and knowledge for defensive purposes. They use their strengths to identify and discover vulnerabilities that most attackers target to exploit or break into the system.
Today, one can easily find various tools available in the market for ethical hacking. We have shortlisted a few best ethical hacking tools that will help organizations protect their information and systems against professional hackers.
Netsparker is a popular security solution that prevents your web applications from hacking practices. It uses proof-based scanning to discover SQL Injection, Cross-Site Scripting (XSS), and other vulnerabilities. Further, it mimics how hackers work in various languages including, .NET, PHP, etc.
Netsparker, now known as Invicti, automates security throughout SDLC and reduces the risk of attacks. It offers full visibility into each web application and web APIs. Further, the tool aids businesses to discover lost assets.
Another benefit of Netsparker is it provides real-time monitoring and saves DevOps time by verifying the identified vulnerabilities.
If you are looking for an ethical hacking tool that mimics a hacker’s move, look no further.
- Saves time by automating security tasks
- Identifies real and false vulnerabilities, then assigns for remediation
- Offers full visibility into web assets
- Supports dynamic + interactive (DAST+IAST) scanning approach
- Updates on remediation efforts status
- Supports behavior-based testing
- Supports two-way integrations
- Permission control for unlimited users
- Generates more secure code
- Allows continuous scanning and prevents delays
- Scans and reports zero false positives
- Accessible to users as online service or Windows software
- Eliminates the manual verification process
- Offers Real-Time Monitoring
- IOC Verification
- Risk Management
- Vulnerability Assessment
- Asset Tagging
- Maintenance Scheduling
Website Link: https://www.invicti.com/plp/ethical-hacking-tools/
Acunetix is an automated ethical hacking solution that scans all vulnerabilities like SQL Injection, Cross-site scripting, etc., pinpoints network weaknesses, and makes efforts to stand one step ahead of malicious intruders. Further, it provides end-to-end solutions for Windows and serves various agencies and SMEs.
You can also integrate the tool with multiple applications and rectify detected vulnerabilities instantly. Acunetix Web Vulnerability Security Scanner is a great option as one can perform complex audits and scan all HTML5 and Single-page applications.
- Access to prioritize high-risk vulnerabilities
- Users can detect multiple vulnerabilities in less time
- Schedule scans
- Extensive reporting facilities
- Provides network alerts against the webserver
- Automatically eliminates false positives
- Scans all internal network
- Performs audits on all complex applications
- Automatically discovers out-of-band vulnerabilities
- Supports Windows and Linux platforms
The Intruder is one of the proactive ethical hacking tools responsible for identifying and detecting cybersecurity weaknesses in the system. It helps detect vulnerabilities and provides remediation for them.
Companies of all sizes can invest in Intruder and check misconfigurations, missing patches, SQL injection, cross-site scripting, and other vulnerabilities with a few clicks.
Another notable feature of the trust ethical hacking tool is it integrates with major cloud providers, including Slack and Jira. Prioritize and fix all critical vulnerabilities using Intruder and spend most of your time focussing on real matters.
- Network and Web Scanning
- Patch Management
- Risk Management
- Access Controls
- Asset Discovery
- Prioritize vulnerabilities
- Identifies misconfigurations and other vulnerabilities like cross-site scripting
- Detects SQL Injection
- Integrates with major cloud providers
- Scans systems for the latest vulnerabilities
- Supports 9000+ security checks
- Provides a holistic view of vulnerabilities
- Monitors ongoing attack surface
- Discovers cyber security weaknesses
- Supports Two-Factor Authentication
- Provides actionable remediation adviсe
- Compliance and automate management reporting
- Performs continuous Penetration Testing
- Alerts on noticing exposed ports and changes in service
Website Link: https://www.intruder.io/
Metasploit is a free, open-source framework that helps businesses verify vulnerabilities and manages security assessments. Most security engineers trust Metasploit as it is one of the leading penetration testing systems that probe systematic vulnerabilities on networks and servers and prioritizes solutions. It is easy to customize and configure Metasploit.
Further, the ethical hacking tool is used by most operating systems to address systemic weaknesses. If you are looking for an easy-to-install and reliable hacking tool, go for Metasploit, as it provides auxiliary functions, payloads, and more features.
It is also used by experts for testing patch installations and implementing regression testing. Further, the tool briefs businesses about places where hackers are most likely to attack in the coming time. This information provided by the hacking tool helps users fix weaknesses before the attack.
For commercial purposes, use Metasploit Pro, available for a 14-day free trial.
- Helps discover security vulnerabilities
- offers penetration testing and supports pen-testing concepts
- Benefits in IDS signature development
- Compatible with Windows and Linux OS
- Metasploit is an open-source framework available for free
- Addresses systemic weaknesses
- Prioritizes vulnerabilities
- Antivirus evasion capabilities
- Easy to Switch between Payloads
- Generates Instant Reports
- It has a friendly GUI environment
- Supports third-party integrations
- Clone websites and mask malicious files for USB drop campaigns
- Metasploit has an easy-to-use interface
Website Link: https://www.metasploit.com/
Some of the high-profile companies use Nikto, for it is an open-source tool and comprises 27 vulnerability scanners. Written in Perl language, experts find it easy to use the tool. Also, one can scan web servers for various dangerous files, outdated versions, and other vulnerabilities without affecting the performance.
Nikto is one of the fastest and most time-efficient hacking tools designed to scan, identify, and detect vulnerabilities and misconfigurations that can exploit the server.
Many security professionals and systems administrators prefer Nikto over other tools because it has the ability to perform 6000+ tests against a website.
- Performs web server analysis
- Discovers 6400+ CGIs and files that can be dangerous for your system
- Analyzes outdated versions and related problems
- Plug-inns and misconfigured files analysis
- Finds insecure programs
- Nikto is a free, open-source ethical hacking tool
- Full support for SSL
- HTTP Proxy support
- Reports are available in different formats like XML, CSV, etc.
- Discovers script vulnerabilities
- Performs test for web server configuration errors
- Identify installed software
- Indexes all the files and directories
- Assesses intrusion detection system (IDS)
- Supports 27 Vulnerability Scanners
Website Link: https://cirt.net/Nikto2
Designed by tenable network security, Nessus is a free tool that helps discover critical bugs in a system. The main purpose of the tool is to reduce an organization’s attack surface and detect malware. It is highly advantageous and comprises various features that make it a top choice.
With Nessus, a vulnerability assessment solution also used for ethical hacking, you can scan different operating systems, next-generation firewalls, web servers, critical infrastructure, databases, and network devices.
- Vulnerability scanning
- Checks which software components are vulnerable to attacks
- Detects remote and local flaws of the hosts and their missing patches
- Patch management
- Supports NASL language that helps in writing security tests
- Tests SSLized services
- Conducts regular non-destructive security audit
- Highly compatible with Windows and Unix-based operating systems
- Detects missing security updates
- Configuration auditing
- high-speed asset discovery
- Network Scanning
- Offers broad asset coverage and profiling
- Flexible reporting
- Prioritizes vulnerabilities
- Meets compliance and regulatory standards
- The low total cost of ownership
- Detects hosts communicating with botnet-infected systems
- Supports web scanning
- Policy management
- Vulnerability Assessment
Most computer network security professionals and penetration testers use Kismet to identify potential target wireless networks. The purpose of introducing wireless networks was to make it easier for users and enhance flexibility. But, hackers have the strength to turn their benefits into potential vulnerabilities. It is exactly where Kismet enters and helps businesses scan wireless networks.
Kismet can be easily run on Windows, Linux, and macOS platforms and supports large configurations and drivers. Further, with Kismet, you do not have to associate the tool with an access point to monitor traffic and identify wireless networks.
- Compatible with Linux OS platforms
- Tests wireless networks
- Supports raw-monitoring mode
- Detects various network IPs
- Detects network configurations
- Sniff wireless technology standards
- Allows channel hopping
- Requires no programming knowledge
- Supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth interfaces
- Generates reports in different formats, including PDF, CSV, etc.
- Supports plugins that help in WebUI functionality extension
- Optimized for mobile devices
- Suitable for prototyping gameplay mechanics
- Helps visualize the flow of events
- Checks wireless LAN or wardriving
- Detects network and collects packets
- Uses data traffic to discover hidden networks
Website Link: https://www.kismetwireless.net/downloads/
NetStumbler is an ethical hacking tool available for Windows-based operating systems. It helps detect, explore and filter Access points. Further, it prevents wardriving and is used by companies to detect IEEE 902.11g, 802, and 802.11b networks.
If you are looking for a hacking tool that helps identify Access Point network configurations and accesses the strength of received signals, opt for NetStumbler. It also supports Mobile Tracking with GPS.
- Checks Access Point network configurations
- Discover Interference causes
- Accesses signal strengths
- Identifies unauthorized access points
- Prevents wardriving
- Detects IEEE 902.11g, 802, and 802.11b networks
- Provides details about wireless network
- Hosts user-submitted compatibility reports
- Reports signal strength levels
- Supports Auto Reconfigure feature
- Signal-to-Noise Graphs
- Supports various Access Point Filters
- GPS support to track detected APs
- Supports various functions through active scripting languages
- Supports large online community
Website Link: http://www.netstumbler.com/downloads/
Aircrack-Ng helps keep the Wi-Fi secure using the best ethical hacking practices. It supports an array of command-line tools to identify, analyze, and evaluate Wi-Fi network security. Most security professionals find it easy to use the hacking tool as it supports a wide range of operating systems, including 2Free BSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, Windows, OS X, Linux, Solaris, and eComStation.
Further, it also helps in cracking WEP and WPA-PSK keys.
- Crack WEP keys and WPA2-PSK
- Identifies Wi-Fi cards
- Aircrack-Ng is compatible with various platforms, including 2Free BSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, Windows, OS X, Linux, Solaris, and eComStation
- Check WiFi networks for weaknesses
- WiFi security monitoring
- Capturing and exporting data packets to text files
- Crack WPA and WEP protocols
- Helps sniff wireless packets
- Manages wireless drivers
- Helps in recovering lost keys
- Performs deauthentication
Website Link: https://www.aircrack-ng.org/
With businesses shifting their operations online, the risk of hacking and ransomware attacks has also increased. Hackers try to put the computer system into an unstable state and demand a lump sum amount in return. They use different codes and tactics that are hard to crack and take a lot of time.
In most cases, companies have to pay the money to the hackers to avoid major losses.
The only way to secure your systems and company data from these hackers is to implement white-hat hacker practices, i.e., ethical hacking.
It is true security protocols and encryption techniques can save your devices from threats and data breaches, but hacking is way different and hard to crack. Even experts with good knowledge and skills find it difficult to decode and fix hacking.
But, ethical hacking practices can prove to be exceptionally helpful. Ethical Hackers bypass security systems to identify and correct vulnerabilities in a network. They collect data and fix the loopholes that attackers might find an opportunity to exploit or destroy.
If you are planning to do hacking make sure it is used for white hat hacking purposes, and the user carries secured written permission from the targeted site. Further, here we have shortlisted some of the vital tools available in the market for ethical hacking.
Netsparker, Acunetix, Intruder, Metasploit, Nikto, Nessus, Kismet, NetStumbler, and Aircrack-Ng are a few popular tools that companies can invest in.
These popular hacking tools help discover vulnerabilities, offer full visibility into web assets, allow scanning, supports patch management, and more. Some of the tools also help generate more secure code and eliminate the manual verification process.
Compare the ethical hacking tools and their features before selecting one for your business operations.