Ethical Hacking is the practice of intentionally breaching the security of an information system to detect vulnerabilities in it and then fix them. Ethical Hackers conduct tests with the consent of the organization whose server they are breaching. The most common organizations recruiting Ethical Hackers are Banks, Financial Institutions, Consultancies like Deloitte, E&Y, McKinsey, and a lot more.
The ethical hacking industry is growing at a cumulative annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 20%. The jobs in this domain are expected to increase by almost 35% in the upcoming ten years. This mainly owes to the increasing global hacking cases and banking frauds. However, past hacking issues like Wannacry and Petya are still raising the heart-beats of big conglomerates.
As the workload increases and employers look for more and more CEHs, it becomes essential for these players to find efficient methods to pace up their work. Fortunately, many tools have been developed lately, which can ease the work of an ethical hacker. These hacking software can perform tasks ranging from Dictionary Attacks and Detecting Operating Systems to Finding the Host Server, Detecting Open Ports, Automated Crawls, etc.
The top 5 ethical hacking tools which are trending these days have been discussed below. Each tool has been mentioned along with its advantages, disadvantages, and other exciting features. Have a look.
Nmap is an open-source network scanner primarily used to detect operating systems, hosts, and services on a network. Nmap is the abbreviation of Network Mapper, and this tool was created in 1997 by Gordon Lyon. The tool is also referred to as “Zenmap.”
Initially, it was created only for the Linux operating system, but now Nmap is available for almost all the major Operating Systems. Owing to its features and ease of usability, Nmap is the most popular hacking tool used presently. In addition, Nmap has gained massive popularity in the hacking community due to its powerful searching and scanning abilities.
How to Download: nmap.org
Features of Nmap
- It quickly discovers the hosts and services on a network and creates a network map using them.
- Nmap has 171 scripts and 20 libraries.
- It can identify new servers and even track the existing servers which are going down.
- Nmap is capable of detecting open ports on remote hosts.
- It is even used for auditing device security.
The tool offers interactive graphics and a user interface, thus making it popular among beginners.
Advantages of Nmap
- Nmap is a command-line tool and thus offers a very easily usable interface.
- It quickly adapts to network situations like Latency and Congestion.
- It is a cross-platform tool working on Linux, Windows, and macOS.
- It is an open-source tool and can be accessed without any charge.
- Nmap shows the difference between 2 scans and helps you compare them.
Disadvantages of Nmap
- While scanning weaker networks or congested lines, you might face a network slowdown. However, this can be corrected by slowing down the speed of scanning.
- The tool works more efficiently on Linux as compared to other operating systems. The Nmap team is continuously working on improving this.
2. John the Ripper
John the Ripper is a password cracking tool that was initially developed for the Unix operating system. However, today it can run on 15 different platforms, including DOS and OpenVMS. It is considered one of the most intelligent password cracking tools ever and is used extensively.
How to Download: openwall.com/john
Features of John the Ripper
- It can auto-detect encrypted password hash types.
- It combines several password crackers into 1.
- John the Ripper also allows you customizable crackers.
- It is capable of performing dictionary attacks.
Advantages of John the Ripper
- It conducts brute force attacks to decipher passwords.
- Additional modules have increased its ability to handle passwords stored in MySQL, LDAP, etc.
- It is an open-source platform.
- John the Ripper works fully on Linux, Unix, macOS, Windows, DOS, etc.
Disadvantages of John the Ripper
- Too many advanced options with this tool make it very complicated to use.
- It will be necessary for you to login into the administrator account to install this software.
The founder of Netsparx developed Acunetix. It is a fully automated ethical hacking solution that even organizations can employ certified ethical hackers.
Cost: $4,500 (Standard)
This pricing is for scanning up to 5 websites if you want to scan more, the price increases.
Users can get a demo tool on a trial basis for 14 days.
How to Download: acunetix.com
Features of Acunetix
- Acunetix is fast and scalable. It can scan thousands of pages without any interruptions.
- It can check for vulnerabilities like SQL Injection and cross-site scripting.
- Its advanced crawler can find almost any kind of file.
Advantages of Acunetix
- It is a fully automated tool and can work independently without even the need for an ethical hacker.
- It can be integrated with WAF (Web Application Firewalls) to help in the SDLC planning.
- It can detect more than 4,500 vulnerabilities in a network system.
Disadvantages of Acunetix
- As users report, the customer service is not too good. It often takes a long time for the issues to get resolved.
- It faces problems in crawling apps and services which are not at the same URL.
Metasploit is a penetration testing software owned by Boston-based company Rapid7. Its open-source framework is written in Ruby and allows users to explore vulnerabilities and write code to fix them.
Metasploit Pro is a paid tool with a trial version of 14 days.
How to Download: metasploit.com
Features of Metasploit
- Metasploit helps in Penetration Testing and IDS Signature Development.
- It allows the replication of websites for phishing and social engineering activities.
- It can execute remote attacks.
Advantages of Metasploit (h3)
- Metasploit can evade various detection systems.
- It helps to obtain the evaluation of the entire system in the network.
- It can be used with both Command Prompt and Web UI.
Disadvantages of Metasploit (h3)
- It can be a challenging task initially to learn Metasploit.
- If not handled properly, this tool can crash your entire system.
- Many modules don’t work fully on Windows.
- The software might face installation problems if there is an antivirus already installed.
Wireshark is another open-source packet analyzer that was initially known as Ethereal. The software tool was renamed in 2006 as Wireshark. The tool is widely known for its ability to solve general networking problems.
How to Download: wireshark.org
Features of Wireshark
- Wireshark tool helps in analyzing packets and scanning various protocols.
- It can decompress gzip files.
- Wireshark is capable of performing live capturing.
- Its sniffing technology allows it to detect security problems in any network.
- It supports up to 2000 different network protocols.
Advantages of Wireshark
- Wireshark can perform offline analysis of packets.
- Its results are given in human-readable format, thus making it easier to detect vulnerabilities.
- It allows coloring the packets, which further helps in quickly analyzing issues.
Disadvantages of Wireshark
- It captures data locally and thus does not reflect annual network traffic.
- Wireshark is only capable of gathering information and cannot send it.
In addition to these 5, various other tools can be used for penetration testing. Ethical Hacking tools are getting upgraded with many features and are turning out to be a magic wand for many ethical hackers. Find which particular tool suits your needs and wait no more to use it.