Linux Network Security

Hacking tools that every Pentester should have

When it comes to hacking or pen-testing. It’s not about mastering a single tool. One needs to gather information on target and do reverse engineering based on collected information. It may even involve months of research to recon the target and exploit the found vulnerability. Now don’t get apathetic, given enough time any system can be compromised. But you don’t need much time to test the system for predefined security parameters. We have compiled a list of hacking tools that are necessary to perform pen-testing quickly. Most of the time general(Non-IT) people don’t take too much pain to ensure all the security parameters are set. So we should always have some essential security or hacking tools at arm’s length with required skill set to test systems that comes around you. If you consider your self a pentester or at least learner at pentesting you should have these hacking tools and know how to use them.

Metasploit Project

Metasploit is versatile Pen-testing tool with large developer base. It is the biggest project done in Ruby on rails that is still being maintained. Metaploit is a security framework that can be used to develop, test and execute your exploits and payloads. One can develop his own exploitation tool using this framework. Metasploit can be integrated closely with other security hacking tools like Nmap and gives you insight about the vulnerabilities in the system. There’s also a variant available for Windows. if you don’t feel at ease using this tool on Linux you can download it for Windows as well. Metaslpoit allows you to quickly test the system against the existing exploits available in framework. You can even add more exploit to the framework.


Nmap stands for Network mapper. It’s one of the greatest tools used for information gathering. It test the system for open ports and services running on them. Nmap uses raw packets for service detection. Nmap is a great tool for Network Discovery. It can easily determine number of nodes that are up in a network. Nmap also provides you NSE(Nmap Scripting Engine) to automate networking tasks. There are already many NSE scripts available on Nmap. You can also write his own custom script. There’s also a GUI variant of this tool available. Nmap is available for Windows, Mac and Linux.


Wireshark is a an open-source application to capture and analyze the ongoing network traffic. Wireshark is designed to inspect the network traffic on low level. It is used to identify various network problem like DDOS attack, detect packet crafting and test firewalls. It comes with integrated decryption tools so that data packets can be decrypted for protocols like WEP and WPA/WPA2 and you could dig up the data packets. Wireshark is user-friendly to use if you know some basic networking.  Anyone with little bit of research can start using Wireshark. Due to it’s support for large number of protocols Wireshark can be used to sniff the network traffic. Wireshark is availbe for windows Mac and Linux.


Hashcat is a multi-threaded password cracking application. Hascat is used for password recovery. It support various password hashing algorithmswhich includes  Microsoft LM hashes, MD4, MD5, SHA-family, Unix Crypt formats, MySQL, and Cisco PIX. Some people consider hashcat world’s fastest and most advanced password recovery tool. Hashcat support both CPU and GPU based architecture. Password cracking is a intensive task, it requires large amount of processing power. Haschcat handles this issues very nicely as it uses GPU. GPUs are considered more effective when it comes to password cracking.

Nessus Vulnerability Scanner

Nessus Vulnerability Scanner is extensive vulnerability scanner. System Administrators often use this tool to assess their network security parameters. Nessus is remarkably flexible tool. You can integrate other hacking tools with it like Metasploit and Nmap. Nessus Vulnerability provides web interface to use it. Nessus can be used to detect Security threats on local system and on network nodes. It can audit your systems in minutes. Nessus is available for Windows, Mac and Linux.

Social-Engineer Toolkit

Socail-Engineering Toolkit(SET) is a powerful tool in the world of pentesting. Beside finding security weaknesses in the hardware and software systems and taking advantage of them, the most worthwhile of all is penetrating the human mind to acquire the essential information by tricking it. Such perfidious methods are known as social engineering, and computer-based software tools to pefrom this is the subtructure for SET. SET conatiains number of attacks. Some of the mostly used are listed below.

Spear-Phishing Attack Vectors

Website Attack Vectors

Infectious Media Generator

Create a Payload and Listener

Mass Mailer Attack

Arduino-Based Attack Vector

SMS Spoofing Attack Vector

Wireless Access Point Attack Vector

QRCode Generator Attack Vector

Powershell Attack Vectors

Third Party Modules

Acunetix Web Vulnerability Scanner

Acunetix is pioneer in the web application security business having launched its first vulnerability scanner in 2005. It is backed by highly experienced and recognized security developers. Acunetix is a OWASP member. Acunetix has won very comparative reviews including reviews by university of California and Infosec Island which showed acunetix high vulnerability detection rate.

Other best security and hacking tools

Web Vulnerability Scanners – Burp Suite, Firebug, AppScan, OWASP Zed, Paros Proxy, Nikto, Grendel-Scan

Vulnerability Exploitation Tools – Netsparker, sqlmap, Core Impact, WebGoat, BeEF

Forensic Tools – Helix3 Pro, EnCase, Autopsy

Port Scanners – Unicornscan, NetScanTools, Angry IP Scanner

Traffic Monitoring Tools – Nagios, Ntop, Splunk, Ngrep, Argus

Debuggers – IDA Pro, WinDbg, Immunity Debugger, GDB

Rootkit Detectors – DumpSec, Tripwire, HijackThis

Encryption Tools – KeePass, OpenSSL, OpenSSH/PuTTY/SSH, Tor

Password Crackers – John the Ripper, Aircrack, Hydra, ophcrack

Learn some command line tools here.

About the author

Ajay Verma

A Computer Science Graduate, who works extensively on open source projects. His Areas Of interest are: Network Security, Linux Administration, FOSS, Python, and C programming.

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