List and Comparison of the Top Penetration Testing Tools (Security Testing Tools) used by the professionals. Research Done for you!
Wouldn’t it be fun if a company hired you to hack its website/network/Server? Well, yeah!
Penetration Testing, commonly known as Pen-Testing, is on a roll in the testing circle nowadays. The reason is not too hard to guess – with the change in the way computer systems are used and built, security takes center stage.
Even though companies realize that they can’t make every system 100% secure, they are extremely interested to know exactly what kind of security issues they are dealing with.
That’s where Pen-testing comes handy with its use of ethical hacking techniques.
For more details about Penetration Testing, you can check these guides:
Let us now quickly see:
What is Penetration Testing?
It is a method of testing in which the areas of weakness in the software systems in terms of security are put to test to determine if a “weak-point” is indeed one that can be broken into or not.
Performed for: Websites/Servers/Networks
How is it Performed?
Step #1. It starts with a list of vulnerabilities/potential problem areas that could cause a security breach for the system.
Step #2. If possible, this list of items is ranked in order of priority/criticality
Step #3. Device penetration tests that would work (attack your system) from both within the network and outside (externally) are done to determine if you can access data/network/server/website unauthorized.
Step #4. If unauthorized access is possible, then the system has to be corrected and a series of steps need to be re-run until the problem area is fixed.
Who Performs Pen-Testing?
Testers/ Network specialists/ Security Consultants perform Pen-Testing.
Note: It is important to note that Pen-Testing is not the same as Vulnerability Testing. The intention of Vulnerability Testing is just to identify the potential problems, whereas Pen-Testing is to attack those problems.
The good news is, you do not have to start the process by yourself – you have a number of tools already available in the market. Wondering, why tools?
- Even if you design a test on what to attack and how to leverage it, a lot of tools that are available in the market to hit the problem areas and collect data quickly that in turn would enable effective security analysis of the system.
Before we look into the details of the tools, what they do, where you can get them, etc. , I would like to point out that the tools you use for Pen-Testing can be classified into two kinds – In simple words, they are scanners and attackers.
This is because; by definition, Pen-Testing is exploiting the weak spots. So there are some software/tools that will show you the weak spots, & some that show, and attack. Literally speaking, the ‘show-ers’ are not Pen-Testing tools but they are inevitable for its success.
A comprehensive list of the best Penetration or Security Testing tools used by Penetration testers:
Recommended Pen Test Tool:
What You Will Learn:
- Best Security Penetration Testing Tools On The Market
- #1) Netsparker
- #2) Acunetix
- #3) Core Impact
- #4) Indusface WAS Free Website Security Check
- #5) Intruder
- #6) Astra
- #7) BreachLock Inc.
- #8) Metasploit
- #9) Wireshark
- #10) w3af
- #11) Kali Linux
- #12) Nessus
- #13) Burp Suite
- #14) Cain & Abel
- #15) Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP)
- #16) John The Ripper
- #17) Retina
- #18) Sqlmap
- #19) Canvas
- Additional Pentesting Tools
- Over to You
Best Security Penetration Testing Tools On The Market
List of the best Security Pentesting Tools that every Security Tester should know about:
Netsparker is a dead accurate automated scanner that will identify vulnerabilities such as SQL Injection and Cross-site Scripting in web applications and web APIs. Netsparker uniquely verifies the identified vulnerabilities, proving they are real and not false positives.
Therefore, you do not have to waste hours manually verifying the identified vulnerabilities once a scan is finished.
It is available as Windows software and an online service.
Acunetix is a fully automated web vulnerability scanner that detects and reports on over 4500 web application vulnerabilities including all variants of SQL Injection and XSS.
It complements the role of a penetration tester by automating tasks that can take hours to test manually, delivering accurate results with no false positives at top speed.
#3) Core Impact
Core impact: With over 20 years in the market, Core Impact claims the largest range of exploits available in the market, they also let you run the free Metasploit exploits within their framework if they are missing one. They automate a lot of processes with wizards, have a complete audit trail including PowerShell commands, and can re-test a client simply by re-playing the audit trail.
Core write their own ‘Commercial Grade’ exploits to guarantee quality and offer technical support around both those exploits and their platform.
They claim to be the market leader and used to have a price tag to match. More recently the price has come down and they have models appropriate for both corporate and security consultancies.
#4) Indusface WAS Free Website Security Check
Indusface WAS provides both manual penetration testing bundled with its own automated web application vulnerability scanner that detects and reports vulnerabilities based on OWASP top 10 and also includes a website reputation check of links, malware and defacement checks of the website in every scan.
Every customer who gets a Manual PT done automatically gets an automated scanner and they can use on-demand for the whole year.
The company is headquartered in India with offices in Bengaluru, Vadodara, Mumbai, Delhi, and San Francisco, and their services are used by 1100+ customers across 25+ countries globally.
- New age crawler to scan single-page applications.
- Pause and resume feature
- Manual Penetration testing and publishing the report on the same dashboard
- Check for Malware infection, the reputation of the links in the website, defacement and broken links
- Unlimited proof of concept requests to provide evidence of reported vulnerability and eliminate false positives from automated scan findings
- Optional integration with Indusface WAF to provide instant virtual patching with Zero False positive
- Ability to automatically expand crawl coverage based on actual traffic data from the WAF system (in case WAF is subscribed and used)
- 24×7 support to discuss remediation guidelines and POC
- Free trial with a comprehensive single scan and no credit card required
Intruder is a powerful vulnerability scanner that finds cybersecurity weaknesses in your digital estate, and explains the risks & helps with their remediation before a breach can occur. It is the perfect tool to help automate your penetration testing efforts.
With over 9,000 security checks available, Intruder makes enterprise-grade vulnerability scanning accessible to companies of all sizes. Its security checks include identifying misconfigurations, missing patches, and common web application issues such as SQL injection & cross-site scripting.
Built by experienced security professionals, Intruder takes care of much of the hassle of vulnerability management, and thereby you can focus on what truly matters. It saves you time by prioritizing results based on their context as well as proactively scans your systems for the latest vulnerabilities so that you don’t need to stress about it.
Intruder also integrates with major cloud providers as well as Slack & Jira.
Astra’s Pentest is a comprehensive penetration testing solution with an intelligent automated vulnerability scanner coupled with in-depth manual pen-testing.
On top of 3000+ tests including security checks for all CVEs mentioned in the OWASP top 10, and SANS 25, the automated scanner also conducts all tests required to comply with ISO 27001, HIPAA, SOC2, and GDPR.
Astra offers an interactive pentest dashboard that users can use to visualize vulnerability analyses, assign vulnerabilities to team members, and collaborate with security experts.
If the users don’t want to get back to the dashboard every time they want to use the scanner or assign a vulnerability to a team member, they can simply use the integrations with CI/CD platforms, Slack, and Jira.
Features of Astra’s Pentest at a glance
- 3000+ tests scanning for CVEs in OWASP top 10, SANS 25
- All tests required for ISO 27001, HIPAA, SOC2, GDPR
- Integration of the vulnerability scanner with GitLab, GitHub, Slack, & Jira
- Zero false positives ensured by manual pen-testers
- Scans progressive web apps and single-page apps
- Scan behind logged-in pages
- Intensive remediation support
- Publicly verifiable certification
Connect with a security expert to plan a tailored pentest.
#7) BreachLock Inc.
Product Name: RATA Web Application Vulnerability Scanner
RATA (Reliable Attack Testing Automation) Web Application Vulnerability Scanner is the industry’s first Artificial Intelligence, Cloud and Human Hacker powered automated web vulnerability scanner.
RATA Web is an online vulnerability scanner for websites and requires no security expertise, hardware, or software installation. With just a few clicks you can launch scans for vulnerabilities and get a report on the findings that include recommendations for potential solutions.
- Professional PDF report with all the required details.
- Browse vulnerabilities with online reports.
- Integrate into CI/CD tools like Jenkins, JIRA, Slack, and Trello.
- Scans give real-time results minus the false positives.
- Possibility to run authenticated scans for complex applications.
- Scans give real-time results minus the false positives.
- Run scheduled or live scans with a few clicks.
- Chrome-based plugin for recording login sessions.
This is the most advanced and popular Framework that can be used for pen-testing. It is based on the concept of “exploit,” which is a code that can surpass the security measures and enter a certain system. If entered, it runs a ‘payload’, a code that performs operations on a target machine, thus creating a perfect framework for penetration testing.
It can be used on web applications, networks, servers, etc. It has a command-line and the GUI clickable interface works on Linux, Apple Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows. Although there might be few free limited trials available, this is a commercial product.
This is basically a network protocol analyzer –popular for providing the minutest details about your network protocols, packet information, decryption, etc. It can be used on Windows, Linux, OS X, Solaris, FreeBSD, NetBSD, and many other systems.
The information that is retrieved via this tool can be viewed through a GUI or the TTY-mode TShark utility. You can get your own free version of the tool from the link below.
W3af is a Web Application Attack and Audit Framework. Some of its features include fast HTTP requests, integration of web and proxy servers into the code, injecting payloads into various kinds of HTTP requests, etc.
It has a command-line interface and works on Linux, Apple Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows. All versions are free of charge to download.
#11) Kali Linux
Kali Linux is an open-source project that is maintained by Offensive Security. A few prime features of Kali Linux include Accessibility, Full customization of Kali ISOs, Live USB with Multiple Persistence Stores, Full Disk Encryption, Running on Android, Disk Encryption on Raspberry Pi 2, etc.
Tools Listings, Metapackages, and version Tracking are some of the Penetration Testing tools present in Kali Linux. For more information and in order to download, visit the below page.
Website: Kali Linux
Nessus is also a scanner and needs to be watched out for. It is one of the most robust vulnerability identifier tools available. It specializes in compliance checks, sensitive data searches, IPs scans, website scanning, etc. and aids in finding the “weak-spots”.
It works best in most of the environments. For more information and in order to download, visit the below page.
#13) Burp Suite
Burp Suite is also essentially a scanner (with a limited “intruder” tool for attacks), although many security testing specialists swear that pen-testing without this tool is unimaginable. The tool is not free, but very cost-effective.
Suggested reading =>> Getting Started with Burp Suite
Take a look at it on the below download page. It mainly works wonders with intercepting proxy, crawling content and functionality, web application scanning, etc. You can use this on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux environments.
Also read =>> Top competitors to Burp Suite
Website: Burp Suite
#14) Cain & Abel
If cracking encrypted passwords or network keys is what you need, then Cain & Abel is the perfect tool for you.
It uses network sniffing, Dictionary, Brute-Force & Cryptanalysis attacks, cache uncovering, and routing protocol analysis methods to achieve this. This is exclusively for Microsoft operating systems.
Website: Cain & Abel
#15) Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP)
ZAP is completely free to use, scanner and security vulnerability finder for web applications. ZAP includes Proxy intercepting aspects, a variety of scanners, spiders, etc.
It works best on most platforms. For more information and in order to download, visit the below page.
#16) John The Ripper
Another password cracker in line is John the Ripper. This tool works in most environments, although it’s primarily for UNIX systems. It is considered one of the fastest tools in this genre.
Password hash code and strength-checking code are also made available to be integrated into your own software/code which I think is very unique. This tool comes in a pro and free form. Check out their site to obtain the software on this page.
Website: John the Ripper
As opposed to a certain application or a server, Retina targets the entire environment at a particular company/firm. It comes as a package called Retina Community.
It is a commercial product and is a sort of a vulnerability management tool more than a Pen-Testing tool. It works on having scheduled assessments and presenting results. Check out more about this package on the page below.
Sqlmap is again a good open-source Pen-Testing tool. This tool is mainly used for detecting and exploiting SQL injection issues in an application and hacking over database servers.
It comes with a command-line interface. Platform: Linux, Apple Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows are its supported platforms. All versions of this tool are free for download. Check out the page below for details.
Immunity’s CANVAS is a widely used tool that contains more than 400 exploits and multiple payload options. It renders useful for web applications, wireless systems, networks, etc.
It has a command-line and GUI interface, works best on Linux, Apple Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows. It is not free of charge and more information can be found on the page below.
#20) Social-Engineer Toolkit
The Social-Engineer Toolkit (SET) is a unique tool in terms that the attacks are targeted at the human element rather than on the system element. It has features that let you send emails, java applets, etc. containing the attack code. It goes without saying that this tool is to be used very carefully and only for white-hat reasons.
It has a command-line interface, works on Linux, Apple Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows. It is open source and can be found on the page below.
Sqlninja, as the name indicates, is all about taking over the DB server using SQL injection in any environment. This product by itself claims not to be so stable. Its popularity indicates how robust it is already with the DB related vulnerability exploitation.
It has a command-line interface, works best on Linux, Apple Mac OS X and not on Microsoft Windows. It is open-source and can be found on the page below.
“Network Mapper” though not necessarily a Pen-Testing tool, it is a must-have tool for ethical hackers. This is a very popular hacking tool that predominantly aids in understanding the characteristics of any target network.
The characteristics include host, services, OS, packet filters/firewalls, etc. It works in most environments and is open-sourced.
BeEF stands for The Browser Exploitation Framework. It is a penetration testing tool that focuses on the web browser which means, it takes advantage of the fact that an open web-browser is the window(or crack) into a target system and designs its attacks to go on from this point.
It has a GUI interface, works on Linux, Apple Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows. It is open-source and can be found on the below page.
Dradis is an open-source framework (a web application) that helps with maintaining the information that can be shared among the participants of a pen-test. The information collected helps to understand what is done and what needs to be done.
It achieves this purpose by means of plugins to read and collect data from network scanning tools like Nmap, w3af, Nessus, Burp Suite, Nikto and much more. It has a GUI interface, works on Linux, Apple Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows. It is open-source and can be found on the page below.
Probely not only features a sleek and intuitive interface but also follows an API-First development approach, providing all features through an API. This allows Probely to be integrated into Continuous Integration pipelines in order to Automate Security Testing.
Probely covers OWASP TOP10 and thousands more vulnerabilities. It can also be used to check specific PCI-DSS, ISO27001, HIPAA, and GDPR requirements.
We hope this piques your interest in the Pen-Testing field and provides you with the necessary information to get started. A word of caution: remember to wear your ‘White-hat’ because with great power comes great responsibility- and we don’t want to be the ones to misuse it.
Spyse is a search engine that collects, processes, and provides structured information about network elements using an OSINT mechanic. Spyse search engines have everything that pen testers might need to perform complete web reconnaissance.
All users have the ability to perform a detailed search on the following elements of a network:
- Domains and Subdomains
- IP addresses and Subnets
- SST/TLS Certificates (find the expiration date, certificate issuer, etc.)
- Open Ports
- WHOIS Records
- DNS Records
- Autonomous Systems
This is just part of the things that Spyse’s search engine can do.
Hackerone is one of the top security testing platforms. It can find and fix critical vulnerabilities. More and more Fortune 500 and Forbes Global 1000 companies choose HackerOne as it provides fast on-demand delivery. You can get started in just 7 days and get results in 4 weeks.
With this hacker-powered security platform, you will not have to wait for the report to find the vulnerabilities, it will alert you when the vulnerability will be found. It will let you communicate directly with your team by using tools like Slack. It provides integration with products like GitHub and Jira and you will be able to collaborate with dev teams.
With HackerOne, you will be able to achieve compliance standards like SOC2, ISO, PCI, HITRUST, etc. There will not be any additional cost for retesting.
The partners of HackerOne include the U.S. Department of Defense, Google, CERT Coordination Center, etc. and found over 120,000 vulnerabilities and awarded over $80M in bug bounties.
Additional Pentesting Tools
The above given is a huge list of Penetration tools but that is not the end. There are a few more tools and software that are gaining momentum in recent times.
Here are these:
#28) Ettercap: A network and host analysis tool that provides sniffing and protocol dissection among other things. Website.
#29) Veracode: Works with the code development process to ensure security and minimize vulnerabilities at the source level. Website.
#30) Aircrack-ng: Captures data packets and uses the same for recovery of 802.11 WEP and WPA-PSK keys. Website
#31) Arachni: This is a Ruby framework that helps in analyzing web application security. It performs a meta-analysis on the HTTP responses it receives during an audit process and presents various insights into how secure the application is. Website
Over to You
Have you performed pen-testing before? If yes, please share your experiences. What Security and Penetration testing tool do you use? If we have missed any important tools in this list please let us know in the comments below.