List of Top Ethical hacking tools Best hacking tools for Cybersecurity professionals

100 Top Hacking Tools and Ethical Hacking Tools | Download Them Here!

July 27, 2023
| David Tidmarsh
| Ethical Hacking

Ethical hacking (also called white-hat hacking) is a type of hacking in which the hacker has good intentions and the full permission of the target of their attacks. Ethical hacking can help organizations find and fix security vulnerabilities before real attackers can exploit them.

If you’re interested in ethical hacking, the good news is that there’s a wealth of hacking tools you can use to learn the trade. This article will go over dozens of the top hacking tools and ethical hacking tools so that you can get started exploring.

Are Hacking Tools the Same as Ethical Hacking Tools? Do Hackers Also Use Ethical Hacking Tools?

The difference between hacking and ethical hacking isn’t the tools used but their motivations. Ethical hackers seek to help organizations fix their security vulnerabilities, while malicious hackers seek to exploit them for personal gain. Therefore, malicious hackers can use ethical hacking tools, and ethical hackers can use malicious hacking tools. In fact, some ethical hacking tools were originally developed by malicious hackers.

Why Are Ethical Hacking Tools Important?

Ethical hacking tools are essential for several reasons:

  • They aid in risk management by helping organizations understand which parts of their IT ecosystem are most valuable and attractive to attackers.
  • They improve organizations’ compliance with data security and privacy regulations such as HIPAA and GDPR.
  • They strengthen organizations’ cybersecurity posture by offering insights into how to address security vulnerabilities, leading to fewer security incidents and reduced costs of cyberattacks.

How Are Ethical Hacking Tools Useful for Cybersecurity Professionals?

Ethical hacking tools are a crucial resource in the fight against malicious actors and cyber attacks. By using ethical hacking tools, IT security professionals can identify flaws in computer systems, applications, and networks before malicious actors discover them. If you are searching for the best hacking tools and ethical hacking tools, we have curated and categorized some of the best options based on the functionality they offer.

Network Scanning Tools

  • Nmap: A free and open-source network scanner tool. Nmap supports various scan types and protocols, including TCP, UDP, SYN, and more.
  • Angry IP Scanner: A free and open-source IP address scanner. Users can scan IP addresses and ports, receiving basic information about each host.
  • Zenmap: A free and open-source Nmap GUI interface. Zenmap offers a visual interpretation of Nmap results, letting you manipulate and interpret Nmap scans more easily.
  • Advanced IP Scanner: A free IP scanner tool. Advanced IP Scanner offers features like remote shutdown and wake-on-LAN.
  • Fping: A free and open-source ping tool for network diagnosis. Fping sends ICMP pings to multiple hosts simultaneously to help diagnose network problems.
  • SuperScan: A free multi-functional port scanner. SuperScan offers features such as host discovery and trace routing.
  • Unicornscan: A free and open-source TCP and UDP port scanner. Unicornscan uses asynchronous scanning techniques, letting users scan large networks more quickly and efficiently.
  • Netcat: A free and open-source network utility tool. Netcat can be used for a wide variety of tasks, including port scanning, file transfer, and remote command execution.
  • NetScanTools: A network diagnostic toolkit with free and paid versions. NetScanTools includes utilities for pings, traceroutes, DNS lookups, and more.
  • Nessus: A paid vulnerability scanner for network analysis. Nessus helps identify security vulnerabilities with comprehensive network scans, providing users with detailed reports.

Vulnerability Scanning Tools

  • OpenVAS: A free and open-source vulnerability scanner. OpenVAS can perform comprehensive security assessments and performance tuning.
  • Acunetix: A paid web application vulnerability scanner. Acunetix offers advanced scanning techniques and comprehensive reporting to identify more than 7,000 vulnerabilities in web applications.
  • Qualys Cloud Platform: A paid cloud-based vulnerability management platform with a 30-day trial. Qualys provides continuous monitoring and visibility across networks, web applications, and endpoints in an IT ecosystem.
  • Nexpose: A paid comprehensive on-premises vulnerability scanner with a 30-day trial. Nexpose scans and identifies vulnerabilities in network assets, databases, web applications, and even virtualization and cloud infrastructure.
  • SAINT Security Suite: A paid security scanner and penetration testing tool with a free trial. SAINT includes features for vulnerability management, configuration assessment, penetration testing, incident response, and reporting.
  • Nikto: A free and open-source web server scanner and tester. Nikto can check for more than 6,000 potentially dangerous files and programs on web servers, as well as outdated servers and other problems.
  • GFI LanGuard: A paid network security scanner and tool for endpoint protection and patch management with a demo. GFI LanGuard can scan networks to identify vulnerabilities, manage patches, and ensure compliance with security standards.

Password Cracking Tools

  • John the Ripper: A free and open-source password cracker tool for auditing and recovery. John the Ripper supports hundreds of hash and cipher types, including Unix, Windows, macOS, WordPress, database servers, filesystems, archives, and more.
  • Hashcat: A free and open-source advanced password recovery tool. Hashcat calls itself “the world’s fastest password cracker” and provides advanced features such as distributed cracking networks.
  • Cain and Abel: A free password recovery tool for Windows computers. Cain and Abel use techniques such as brute force, dictionary, and cryptanalysis password attacks.
  • RainbowCrack: A free and open-source hash cracker tool using rainbow tables. RainbowCrack is available for Windows and Linux and supports GPU acceleration using NVIDIA and AMD GPUs.
  • Aircrack-ng: A free and open-source suite of Wi-Fi network security tools. Aircrack-ng includes utilities for monitoring, packet capture, attacking, testing, and cracking Wi-Fi passwords.
  • Hydra: A free and open-source parallelized network login cracker tool. Hydra can crack dozens of protocols, including Cisco, HTTP(S), ICQ, IMAP, MySQL, Oracle, SMTP, and more.
  • THC Hydra: A free and open source “proof of concept” password cracker tool. THC Hydra is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux and supports protocols such as FTP, SMTP, and HTTP-GET.
  • Medusa: A free and open-source fast, massively parallel password-cracking tool. Medusa can perform brute-force password testing against multiple hosts or users simultaneously.
  • L0phtCrack: A free and open-source password auditing and recovery tool. L0phtCrack supports attack techniques, including dictionary and brute-force attacks and rainbow tables

Exploitation Tools

  • Metasploit: A penetration testing framework with free and paid versions. Metasploit is a Ruby-based, modular tool that comes preinstalled on the Kali Linux distribution.
  • Burp Suite: A paid web application security testing tool, Burp Suite comes with features for both automated dynamic web scanning and tools to enhance manual vulnerability testing
  • Canvas: A paid penetration testing and vulnerability assessment tool. Canvas is available for Windows and Linux and supports more than 800 exploits.
  • Core Impact: A paid penetration testing and vulnerability assessment tool with a free trial. Core Impact can run automated rapid penetration tests and provides a library of exploits for testers.
  • Social-Engineer Toolkit (SET): A free and open-source penetration testing framework for social engineering attacks. Users can perform attacks via Java applets, credential harvesting, SMS spoofing, and much more.
  • BeEF: A free and open-source browser exploitation penetration testing tool. BeEF can integrate with Metasploit and uses attack vectors to target different web browsers and contexts.
  • PowerSploit: A free and open-source penetration testing framework containing PowerShell scripts and modules. The PowerSploit toolkit contains exploits for code execution, script modification, data exfiltration, and more.
  • SQLMap: A free and open-source SQL injection vulnerability testing tool. SQLMap allows users to fetch data from a SQL database, access the underlying file system, and run operating system commands.
  • Armitage: A free and open-source graphical cyber attack management tool. Armitage helps red team members visualize their targets and provides recommendations for exploits and attacks.
  • Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP): A free and open-source web application security scanner and testing tool. ZAP provides features for automating web security and offers an extensive library of community add-ons.

Packet Sniffing and Spoofing Tools

  • Wireshark: A free and open-source network protocol analyzer and packet capture tool. Wireshark allows users to inspect hundreds of protocols and dozens of file formats.
  • tcpdump: A free and open-source command-line network packet analyzer. Users can specify a particular filter to search for packets that match this description
  • Ettercap: A free and open-source comprehensive suite for man-in-the-middle attacks. Ettercap offers both a command-line and GUI interface and includes features such as live packet sniffing and content filtering.
  • Bettercap: A free and open-source fork of the Ettercap project and so-called “Swiss Army knife” for network attacks. Bettercap can be used on Wi-Fi networks, Bluetooth connections, and 2.4GHz wireless devices
  • Snort: A free and open-source intrusion detection and prevention system. Users can define rules in Snort that indicate malicious network activity and search for packets that match these rules.
  • Ngrep: A free and open-source network packet analyzer that uses grep-like patterns. The ngrep tool supports many different protocols across a wide range of interface types.
  • NetworkMiner: A free and open-source network forensic analysis tool. NetworkMiner can extract files, images, emails, passwords, and more from network traffic in PCAP files.
  • Hping3: A free and open-source command-line packet crafting and analysis tool. The hping3 tool can send custom ICMP/UDP/TCP packets for use cases such as testing firewalls or network performance.
  • Nemesis: A free and open-source packet crafting and injection tool, Nemesis supports many different protocols and can be used for Layer 2 injection on both Windows and Linux systems.

Wireless Hacking Tools

  • Wifite: A free and open-source automated wireless network auditing tool. Wifite uses tools such as Aircrack-ng and Reaver to test WEP and WPA-encrypted wireless networks.
  • Kismet: A free and open-source wireless network detector, sniffer, and IDS. Kismet can run on Windows, macOS, and Linux and tests connections such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Zigbee, and RF
  • Reaver: A free and open-source brute-force attack tool for WPS. Reaver takes between 4 and 10 hours on average to recover a plaintext WPA/WPA2 passphrase.
  • Fern Wi-Fi Cracker: A free and open-source wireless security audit and attack tool for Linux. Fern can help crack and recover WEP/WPA/WPS keys and supports other network-based attacks.
  • Bully: A free and open-source WPS brute-force attack tool. Bully is written in the C programming language and offers improved memory and CPU performance compared with Reaver.
  • CoWPAtty: A free and open-source brute-force WPA2-PSK password cracking tool. CoWPAtty can help users identify weak passphrases that generate the pairwise master key (PMK).
  • InSSIDer: A free Wi-Fi network scanning and troubleshooting tool. InSSIDer provides information about Wi-Fi network configuration and the impact of nearby Wi-Fi networks on performance.

Web Application Hacking Tools

  • Skipfish: A free and open-source web application security reconnaissance tool for Kali Linux. Skipfish crawls a website to generate an interactive sitemap and then performs a number of security checks
  • Grendel-Scan: A free and open-source automated web application scanning tool. Grendel-Scan also supports features for manual security testing.
  • Vega: A free and open-source web vulnerability scanner and testing platform. Vega can search for security flaws such as SQL injection, cross-site scripting, and exposure of sensitive data.
  • WebScarab: A free and open-source web application vulnerability testing tool. WebScarab is written in Java and offers a modular set of interface components that users can swap in and out.
  • IronWASP: A free and open-source web application security testing platform. IronWASP provides a number of pre-built plugins and also allows users to create their own.

Forensic Tools

  • EnCase: Paid software for digital forensics and incident response software. EnCase processes files quickly and efficiently and supports a wide range of computers and mobile devices.
  • Autopsy: A free and open-source digital forensics platform. Autopsy supports computer hard drives and smartphones and can be extended through several add-on modules
  • SIFT: A free and open-source toolkit for forensic analysis and triage. SIFT includes support for dozens of file systems and images and offers tools for incident response.
  • FTK: Paid forensic investigation software with a demo. FTK allows users to create full-disk forensic images and handles various data types.
  • X-Ways Forensics: Paid forensic software with advanced file carving. X-Ways Forensics is a high-performance, resource-efficient tool that is fully portable on a USB drive.
  • Helix3 Pro: A paid incident response and forensic live CD. The Helix3 Pro can make forensic images of all internal devices and physical memory across Windows, macOS, and Linux.
  • Foremost: A free and open-source Linux-based file recovery tool for forensic analysis. Foremost is intended for law enforcement purposes but supports other use cases.
  • Scalpel: A free and open-source fast file carver based on Foremost for digital forensics. Scalpel is more efficient than Foremost and supports Windows, macOS, and Linux devices.
  • The Sleuth Kit: A free and open-source library of digital investigation software. The Sleuth Kit allows users to investigate disk images and analyze volume and system data
  • CAINE: A free and open-source Linux-based digital forensics environment. CAINE offers a user-friendly graphical interface and provides dozens of tools and integrations with other software.

Social Engineering Tools

  • King Phisher: A free and open-source phishing campaign toolkit. King Phisher helps users simulate real-world phishing attacks and includes features such as embedded email images, credential harvesting, and website cloning.
  • Maltego: A powerful OSINT and link analysis tool with free and paid versions. Maltego features integrations with dozens of data sources, including Mandiant, Censys, PolySwarm, Splunk, and many more.
  • Wifiphisher: A free and open-source rogue access point framework for Wi-Fi security testing. Wifiphisher lets users run man-in-the-middle and web phishing attacks to capture user credentials and spread malware.
  • ReelPhish: A free and open-source automated tool for two-factor authentication phishing. ReelPhish is developed by Mandiant and supports multi-page authentication techniques
  • Evilginx: A free and open-source man-in-the-middle attack framework. Evilginx can be used to steal users’ login credentials and session cookies, allowing the tool to bypass two-factor authentication.
  • Ghost Phisher: A free and open-source wireless and ethernet phishing tool. Ghost Phisher supports features such as webpage hosting, credential logging, Wi-Fi access point emulation, session hijacking, and more.
  • GoPhish: A free and open-source phishing toolkit for organizations. GoPhish can run on Windows, macOS, and Linux and lets users quickly and easily spin up phishing attacks.
  • Credential Harvester Attack: A free and open-source tool in the Social-Engineer Toolkit (SET) for credential theft. The Credential Harvester tool clones a legitimate website and steals users’ login information and passwords.

Miscellaneous Tools

  • OpenSSL: A free and open-source security toolkit for SSL and TLS cryptography. OpenSSL is widely used by Internet servers for secure network communications
  • Pcredz: A free and open-source tool for extracting different credential types from packet capture files. Pcredz includes support for a wide variety of protocols and logs all credentials to a single file for easy access.
  • Mimikatz: A free and open-source tool for extracting passwords and other credentials from Windows memory. Mimikatz can also perform credential theft attacks such as pass-the-hash and pass-the-ticket.
  • Sysinternals Suite: A free collection of Windows system utilities from Microsoft for debugging and security analysis. The Sysinternals Suite includes more than 80 tools for working with Windows systems.

Learn the Top Hacking Tools with C|EH

This article has briefly gone over some of the best hacking software & tools—so how do you learn to use them? If you’re interested in ethical hacking, enrolling in a program such as EC-Council’s CEH certification is an excellent idea. This ethical hacking course covers over 3500 hacking tools and teaches you how to use many of these essential tools in real-world ethical hacking scenarios.

About the Author

David Tidmarsh is a programmer and writer. He’s worked as a software developer at MIT, has a B.A. in history from Yale, and is currently a graduate student in computer science at UT Austin.

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