Top 10 Penetration Testing Tools

Penetration Testing Tools

There are several penetration testing tools in the market, some are available as open-source tools. Tools like the Metasploit framework are simple and more popular. It has lots of features, it is easy to use. It is also available as a web version called Armitage. This tool can be used for network scanning, host discovery, exploitation, and managing the exploited software. A feature of this tool is that you could chain exploits together in one command. In previous versions, it was possible to send encrypted files which the victim will download and install before the real payload gets executed. Once the victim installs the application, a backdoor shell is established through port 443. Some resources that will come in handy when doing web application assessment are the OWASP testing guide,, and Acunetix.

Every time you discover a security hole in your target, it is important to keep in mind that there are several ways to exploit this weakness. It is not always necessary to use the same method of exploitation, sometimes it may be better to use a different method. It depends on your target, your resources, and the time you have available to test the vulnerabilities.

A good penetration tester will always keep in mind that a hacked website is just a foothold into the network. You should try to find as many vulnerabilities as possible, no matter how small they are. The most common weakness of web applications is SQL Injection.

List of best Penetration Testing Tools (Pen test tools)

  • Port scanners – These scan ports on different systems in order to see if they are vulnerable. Common types of port scanners are open, active, and closed port scanners. They can be used for reconnaissance as well as enumeration.
  • Vulnerability scanners – Vulnerability scanners look for vulnerabilities in software. They have a database of known vulnerabilities and try to find any systems on the network that are vulnerable to these specific vulnerabilities. A vulnerability scanner will usually perform much more extensive scans than a port scanner; it is able to discover whether there are any default credentials such as username and password that are not widely known.
  • Web vulnerability scanners – A web vulnerability scanner will scan websites in order to discover any problems with the website, such as SQL injection or even cross-site scripting. These vulnerabilities can be exploited by a malicious user in order to gain access to sensitive information or take over the website entirely.
  • Network mappers – Network mappers, also known as port scanners, map the network in order to see which computers are connected to each other. They can then map out potential pathways into a wider area of the network.
  • Password cracking tools – Password cracking tools go through large lists of words and numbers in order to find passwords that match the criteria that were entered by the penetration tester. It is very important that the penetration tester always tries to find default credentials in order to gain access to a system or network.
  • Exploitation tools – Exploitation tools are used to exploit vulnerabilities on systems and networks in order to elevate privileges or exfiltrate data, amongst other things. They can be broadly divided into remote and local exploitation tools and are used when vulnerability scanners find specific vulnerabilities on the target system.
  • Social engineering – Social engineering is a commonly-used technique that involves interacting with people in order to get them to provide sensitive information, such as user credentials or network access. The penetration tester can use social engineering to gain physical access to a specific location or to gain access to privileged information.
  • Password management tools – Once passwords have been discovered, they need to be stored in a password-management tool in order not to lose them. These will help the penetration tester remember which accounts and passwords he has already gained access to during the penetration test.
  • Service enumeration – This type of scan is conducted by identifying the ports that are open on a computer and the protocols that are running on them. The enumerator then uses this information to determine the type of operating systems or services running, with the goal being to discover ones that administrators have forgotten about or do not know exist.
  • Metasploit – Metasploit is a popular vulnerability exploitation framework that can be used by a penetration tester in order to exploit vulnerabilities on the target computer. These exploits make up a part of the Metasploit Framework, and they are written in Ruby to provide consistency of code throughout the framework.
  • Nmap – Nmap is one of the most common port scanners that is used by penetration testers today. It is used to identify services on a target network and can use both TCP and UDP scanning. Nmap’s features include operating system detection, port scanning, version detection, script scanning, traceroute, and host discovery. In addition to this, it also has the ability to perform parallel scans in order to speed up scan times.

Network Penetration Testing Tools (Pen testing tools)

  • Owasp-zap – This popular penetration tool scans websites, web applications, and hosts for vulnerabilities, including those in the OWASP Top 10 list of vulnerabilities. It has a user-friendly interface and can be easily used even by novices.
  • Armitage – Armitage is a graphical cyber attack management tool that was developed by Raphael Mudge and the rest of the Metasploit team. It is based in Java, and it allows penetration testers to launch multiple attacks from one single interface. This tool also incorporates other popular projects such as Nmap, Ruby scripts for handling payloads and ports, Burp Suite Proxy, and other publicly available projects.
  • BinScope – BinScope is an analysis tool that was developed by HD Moore in order to identify vulnerabilities in binaries of software packages. It can be used on Mac, Linux, Windows, Solaris as well as BSD systems. The most commonly targeted applications are ones that ship with the OS such as Web servers and mail servers.
  • Clusterd – Clusterd is an open-source tool that was created by the Nmap team to help network administrators load balance traffic across multiple hosts. This tool can be used in penetration testing audits for determining if a system is providing any services that could be exploited and used to break out of a DMZ or other network security perimeter.
  • This tool has a Windows-based GUI, and it provides information on the target computers such as IP address, services running on ports, open ports, and uptime of the machine in addition to allowing exports to CSV format files.
  • Dmitry – Dmitry is an active web vulnerability scanner that can scan for both client-side and server-side vulnerabilities. It can be easily set up to run from a console and it has the ability to scan multiple targets at once.
  • DVCS-Pipeline – DVCS-Pipeline is an open-source software tool that was developed to assist penetration testers in vulnerability scanning of Linux-based systems. This tool uses a modular approach, and it allows testers to create custom modules and extensions.
  • Exploit-DB – Exploit-DB is a web application that was created in order to provide information on exploits as well as penetration testing resources such as papers, articles, source code, and vulnerability alerts. This website also has forums that do not require registration to access.
  • Ettercap – Ettercap is a popular ARP poisoning tool that was created by Alva “Snowman” Wecker. It can sniff traffic in addition to performing man-in-the-middle attacks against an active network connection.
  • This tool supports active and passive dissection of many protocols (even ciphered ones) and has a number of plugins that can be used for sniffing.
  • Firewalk – Firewalk is an active scanner for determining if there are any firewall rules configured on a system or network. This tool will determine the type of firewall, and it was created by Howard Liu in 1998. It can target port 80 and 443 on TCP and UDP protocols by default.
  • Fping – Fping is a network tool that was designed to send ICMP echo requests to multiple hosts at once in order to determine if they are up. It can also take advantage of fragmentation in order to determine the MTU on networks, and it has an optional program for determining network latency.
  • Fcrackzip – Fcrackzip is an open-source password cracker for ZIP archives. It can perform brute force and dictionary attacks on encrypted passwords in order to recover their original plain-text form. This tool also has support for multithreaded cryptography and other features.
  • fidogrep – fidogrep is an open-source tool that was created by Toni Kaskinen in order to search through text files. It is compatible with the GREP syntax for searching, and this tool can be used with multiple filters as well as regular expressions.
  • Flame – Flame was a malware based on Stuxnet that was discovered in 2012. It had the ability to record audio, video, keystrokes, and even take screenshots of both targeted machines and networks that had a great deal of sensitive information on them.
  • Flare – Flare is an open-source tool that was created by Ron Bowes to help users test their systems for SQL vulnerabilities. This tool provides a dashboard interface that allows users to enter queries and view results. This tool can detect common mistakes in the SQL syntax, and it has a library of functions for testing if an application is prone to SQL injection attacks and more. This software was written by Merlin Jones.
  • FreeRADIUS – FreeRADIUS is an open-source remote authentication and accounting server that was created by the GNU project. This software can be used to manage clients as well as authorize connections, and it also supports a number of authentication protocols such as MS-CHAPv2 and PAP/CHAP.
  • Flashproxy – Flashproxy is a tool that has been written for anonymity on networks that have restricted or monitored internet access. It was developed by the Tor Project, and it establishes multiple TCP connections between the machine that is running it and a proxy server in order to relay traffic back and forth. This tool allows for the bouncing of packets on multiple servers which can make tracking almost impossible.
  • Flick – Flick is an open-source network auditing platform that can be used to discover hosts and services that are running on a local area network. Flick supports both passive as well as active scanning of networks, and it even allows for the creation of custom scans with a bit of Python programming.
  • Florence – Florence is an open-source software suite that was created by Erik Dörlein in order to perform research on network security. This suite is capable of performing analysis, fuzzing, and creating payloads for exploiting vulnerabilities in applications that are being used by administrators to manage their systems. It is able to perform XML processing and fuzzing, as well as test for remote code execution.

How to select best Penetration Testing Tools

The first thing that needs to be decided is what type of penetration test you are going to need. If your company has been publicly embarrassed by a recent security incident, and the general consensus is that they were hacked through an anonymous proxy service then a scan for such systems will probably be in order. If however there are no specific requirements or guidance from your employer on what you should be looking for then it is probably best to just start with a wide-open scan.

Filling out the IAS questionnaire and deciding how much time can be dedicated to testing will help the penetration tester decide where they need to focus their energies first. If the target environment has few known vulnerabilities, or none of them are a good bet for remote exploitation then the testing could be widened to include things like network sniffing, and password cracking.

The general test steps will be similar regardless of the tool or methodology used; some may favor an initial step where every port on a host is scanned for open connections and other tools might skip this phase entirely.

The most common Penetration testing tools and methods / pen test methodologies follow:

  • Find Entry Point – The penetration tester will often find a way to access the target network, this could be via an anonymous proxy or by using public WiFi connections. The most important thing is that they need to have unfettered access to it so that testing steps can be performed from any point on the network. Once the point of entry has been found then a list of open ports can be created.
  • Penetration Test – The next step is to attempt to find vulnerabilities or weaknesses in the security perimeter by scanning for them on the target network. Some tools will allow for pre-made and customized scan profiles to be used, while others will require that custom scripts be written.
  • Assess Vulnerabilities – Once a list of possible threats has been built, the penetration tester will attempt to verify their presence and confirm whether they are exploitable or not. If an exploit is found then it can be used to gain access to a machine that would make further testing easier. This phase may also incorporate a bit of social engineering in order to trick or force administration or security staff into performing actions that they would otherwise not agree to.
  • Exploit System – If you gain access to a host then the last step is to exploit its vulnerabilities by attempting remote code execution. When this has been accomplished then the penetration test has finished and an assessment of the results can be made.
  • Reconnaissance – The first step of any test should be obtaining as much information as possible about the target environment before attempting to make connections to it. This phase may include things like port scanning, network sniffing, and password cracking. The advantage of this is that it can reveal a lot of good information in one swoop that will allow for a more focused testing effort to follow. A penetration tester might also need to use a proxy service or anonymous email account in order to make certain requests of administrators and security staff before they have been authorized for access.
  • Tool Dependency – The next thing that needs evaluating is the number of external dependencies a tool has on other software components. Some tools will need to be installed on the same computer as the operating system that is being tested, while others will have their own software with which to run them. Some can use existing libraries in order to connect and retrieve results from a remote machine but some don’t support this feature.
  • Testing Environment – The environment where testing is done needs to mimic both the target environment and the real world as much as possible. A good testing platform will allow for customization of every facet of it, from what network interfaces are visible to the operating system, which services or applications are running on each host, how many hosts are run in parallel, and what trust level they operate under.

A good way to get a head start on testing is by using a network emulation product. These products allow for live hosts to be run in an emulated network environment without having to install or configure anything on the host itself. This allows you to make connections and perform tests against individual virtual machines from any computer that has access to it while leaving the host operating system completely untouched.

The ability to be able to quickly test the security of environments and platforms using live virtual machines is a powerful feature of these products, but they also have many functions that allow for scripting or automation of tasks in order to make them work more like real-world software.


Penetration testing tools / pen test is an important part of any security program that deals with the protection of information and assets. It allows a business to know how secure their systems really are, what improvements can be made to improve it, and when their team should be trained on new threats as they arise. For more info contact: or Contact Us @ +91 9962590571

Refer to our penetration testing tools frequently asked questions to learn more!