Hacking, which was once considered the exclusive domain of the “experts” has become a very common phenomenon with the rise of technology and advancements in the field of technology. Hacking can be used for harmful purposes as well as for finding flaws/vulnerabilities in a system and notify the authorities to help them secure their system better.

With the help of a few tools and basic knowledge of its true capabilities, hacker performs security testing, which helps them greatly in their task. Today we have discussed some of them below.


Nmap (Network Mapper) is used to Scan Ports and Map Networks and its very well-known free open source hacker’s tool. Namp is used by many security professionals around the world for network inventory, check for open ports, manage service upgrade schedules, and monitor host or service uptime.

The Nmap is mainly used for network discovery and performing security audits. It uses raw IP packets in creative ways to determine what hosts are available on the network, what services (application name and version) those hosts are providing information about, what operating systems (fingerprinting) and what type and version of packet filters/ firewalls are being used by the target.

Nmap is a console based tool available in different Linux flavors that also comes with its GUI version Zenmap for the ease of use.


The Metasploit is a vulnerability exploitation tool that can be considered as a ‘collection of hacking tools and frameworks’ that can be used to execute various tasks. It is widely used by cyber security professionals and ethical hackers and is essential for any cyber security guy.

Its best-known open source framework, a tool for developing and executing exploit code against a remote target machine. Metasploit is essentially a security framework that provides the user with critical information regarding known security vulnerabilities and helps to formulate penetration testing and IDS testing plans, strategies and methodologies for exploitation.

John the Ripper:

John the Ripper is a popular password cracking pentesting tool that is most commonly used to perform 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. This tool can also be used to perform a variety of alterations to dictionary attacks.

Another similar tool like John the Ripper is THC Hydra. The only difference between John the Ripper and THC Hydra is that the John the Ripper is an ‘offline’ password cracker while THC Hydra is an “online” cracker.

THC Hydra:

THC Hydra is a hugely popular password cracker and has a very active and experienced development team. Essentially THC Hydra is a fast and stable Network Login Hacking Tool that will use a dictionary or brute-force attacks to try various password and login combinations against a log-in page. When you need to brute force crack a remote authentication service, Hydra is often the tool of choice. It can perform rapid dictionary attacks against more than 50 protocols, including Telnet, FTP, HTTP, HTTPS, smb, several databases, and much more.

THC Hydra is a fast network logon password cracking tool. When it is compared with other similar tools, it shows why it is faster. New modules are easy to install in the tool. You can easily add modules and enhance the features. It is available for Windows, Linux, Free BSD, Solaris and OS X.


The OWASP Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP) is an easy to use integrated penetration testing tool for finding vulnerabilities in web applications. It is designed to be used by people with a wide range of security experience and as such is ideal for developers and functional testers who are new to penetration testing as well as being a useful addition to an experienced pen testers toolbox.

ZAP is a popular tool because it does have a lot of support and the OWASP community is an excellent resource for those that work in 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 is a very popular tool in networking. It is the network protocol analyzer tool which lets you check different things in your office or home network. You can live capture packets and analyze packets to find various things related to the network by checking the data at the micro-level. This tool is available for Windows, Linux, OS X, Solaris, FreeBSD and other platforms.

WireShark has been highly developed, and it includes filters, color-coding and other features that let the user dig deep into network traffic and inspect individual packets. If you would like to become a penetration tester or work as a Cyber Security practitioner, then learning how to use Wireshark is a must.


The Aircrack is a wireless hacking tool that is renowned because of its effectiveness in password cracking. It 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). It is useful to know that 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.

It is a highly recommended tool for those who are interested in wireless hacking. For wireless auditing and penetration testing, learning aircrack is essential.


Ethical Hacking Training – Resources (InfoSec)

Maltego is a digital forensic tool that is used to deliver an overall cyber threat picture to the enterprise or local environment in which an organization operates. The focus of Maltego is analyzing real-world relationships between information that is publicly accessible on the Internet. This includes foot-printing Internet infrastructure as well as gathering information about the people and organization who own it.

Maltego provides results in a wide range of graphical layouts that allow for clustering of information, which makes seeing relationships instant and accurate. This makes it possible to see hidden connections, even if they are three or four degrees of separation apart.

Cain and Abel:

Cain & Abel is a password recovery tool for Microsoft Operating Systems. It allows easy recovery of various kinds of passwords by sniffing the network, cracking encrypted passwords using Dictionary, Brute-Force, and Cryptanalysis attacks, recording VoIP conversations, decoding scrambled passwords, recovering wireless network keys, revealing password boxes, uncovering cached passwords and analyzing routing protocols.

Cain & Abel has been developed in the hope that it will be useful for network administrators, teachers, security consultants/professionals, forensic staff, security software vendors, professional penetration tester and everyone else that plans to use it for ethical reasons.

Nikto Website Vulnerability Scanner:

Nikto is another classic ‘Hacking Tool’ that a lot of pentesters like to use. It is an Open Source (GPL) web server scanner which performs comprehensive tests against web servers for multiple items, including over 6500 potentially dangerous files/CGIs, checks for outdated versions of over 1250 servers, and version specific problems on over 270 servers. It also checks for server configuration items such as the presence of multiple index files, HTTP server options, and will attempt to identify installed web servers and software. Scan items and plugins are frequently updated and can be automatically updated.

Interestingly, Nikto can also check server configuration items such as the presence of multiple index files, HTTP server options, and the platform will also try to identify installed web servers and web applications. Nikto will get picked up by any semi-decent IDS tool, so it is useful when conducting a white-hat/ white-box pentest.

The list of hacking tools is not limited to those discussed above; preference varies organization to organization. However, these are the most recommended tools that are preferred by the professionals. Moreover, all these tools come bundled in pentesting Linux distro’s such as Kali Linux or BackBox, so it is certainly recommended that you install an appropriate Linux hacking box to make your life easier – not least because repositories are updated automatically.