Technology and hacking is a field that’s constantly changing. To go along with these changes, some hacking tools become better with time, some stay stagnant while at other times, a new tool might cause the good kind of chaos. Therefore these tools make an appearance from a host of targeted areas such as Application Specific Scanners, Debuggers, Encryption Tools, Password Crackers, Port Scanners, etc.
On a side note, these tools do come bundled in with pentesting Linux distro’s such as Kali Linux or BackBox, therefore, installing an appropriate Linux hacking box might just make your life easier while using them – at the very least you’ll have up-to-date repositories. Let’s dive in to the best hacking tools of 2017:
- Nmap (Network Mapper) : Nmap is a well known and open source tool for hackers. This software is primarily used for security audits and network discovery.Literally, thousands of system admins all around the world will use nmap for network inventory, check for open ports, manage service upgrade schedules, and monitor host or service uptime. As a tool it makes use of raw IP packets in ways to determine the hosts available on the network, what services are these hosts providing information about, operating systems, type/version of filters/firewalls, etc. next time you see a hacker’s screen on the big screen, its most likely to be Nmap.
- Metasploit Penetration Testing Software : This is one of the most popular pentesting framework around. Those unfamiliar with it can consider it as a ‘collection of hacking tools and frameworks’ – useful to carry out a range of tasks. Its the tool of choice for cyber-security professionals and ethical hackers. Metasploit is basically a computer security project that provides users with information regarding known security vulnerabilities which can be vital as well as help in creating penetration testing and IDS testing plans, strategies and methodologies for exploitation.
- John The Ripper : This is one of the most popular password cracking tool most widely used to carry out dictionary attacks. John the Ripper takes text string samples (from a text file, referred to as a ‘wordlist’, containing popular and complex words found in a dictionary or real passwords cracked before), encrypting it in the same way as the password being cracked (including both the encryption algorithm and key), and comparing the output to the encrypted string. If nothing else, this tool wins the prize for the best name.
- THC Hydra : THC Hydra usually works in unison with John the Ripper. This is also a popular password cracking tool which is backed by an active and experienced development team. Essentially THC Hydra is a fast and stable Network Login Hacking Tool that will use dictionary or brute-force attacks to try various password and login combinations against an log in page.
- OWASP Zed : The Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP) is now one of the most popular OWASP projects. This tool is very efficient in terms of ease of use and its ability to find vulnerabilities in web applications. ZAP is a popular tool owing to the support it enjoys and thus makes it an excellent choice for those that work in the domain of cyber-security. ZAP provides automated scanners as well as various tools that allow you the cyber pro to discover security vulnerabilities manually. Understanding and being able to master this tool would also be advantageous to your career as a penetration tester.
- Wireshark : Wireshark to put it simply – captures data packets in real-time and then displays in a readable format (verbose). The tool (platform) has been highly developed and it includes filters, color-coding and other features that lets the user dig deep into network traffic and inspect individual packets. If you intend to follow pentesting or cyber-security as a career choice, then learning Wireshark is an absolute necessity.
- Aircrack-ng : For those of you who need to penetrate and audit wireless networks, you’ve just found your new best friend. The Aircrack suite of Wifi (Wireless) hacking tools are legendary because they are very effectively when used in the right hands. For those new to this wireless-specific hacking program, Aircrack-ng is an 802.11 WEP and WPA-PSK keys cracking hacking tool that can recover keys when sufficient data packets have been captured (in monitor mode). Aircrack-ng implements standard FMS attacks along with some optimizations like KoreK attacks, as well as the PTW attacks to make their attacks more potent.
- Maltego : Finally we come across one tool that’s different from the pack. Maltego has been designed as a platform to deliver an overall view of cyber threats to the local working environment of an organization. One of the main reasons for Maltego’s popularity is its’s unique perspective in offering both network and resource based entities is the aggregation of information sourced throughout the web.
- Cain and Abel Hacking Tool : Usually abbreviated to just Cain – this is highly popular hacking tool that finds many mentions across tutorials. At its core, its a Windows password recovery tool with the ability to be used in a myriad of ways. For example, white and black hat hackers use Cain to recover (i.e. ‘crack’) many types of passwords using methods such as network packet sniffing and by using the tool to crack password hashes
- Nikto Website Vulnerability Scanner : This is another highly preferred pentesting tool of choice. This is an open source scanner that is able to identify and detect vulnerabilities in web servers. The system searches against a database of over 6800 potentially dangerous files/ programs when scanning software stacks. Nikto, like other scanners out there, also scans for outdated (unpatched) versions of over 1300 servers, and version specific problems on over 275 servers.