Metasploit Framework for Enterprise Vulnerability and Penetration Testing

 How To Use The Metasploit Framework For Penetration Testing

April 27, 2023
| Penetration Testing

If you’re responsible for enterprise security, you know that vulnerability and penetration testing are critical to keeping your organization safe. The Metasploit Framework is one of the most popular tools for performing these tests, and it’s packed with features that can help you find vulnerabilities and fix them. Here we’ll look at how to use the Metasploit Framework for enterprise vulnerability and penetration testing. We’ll also explore some of the features that make it so powerful.

What is Metasploit?

Metasploit is a free and open-source tool that helps security professionals test the security of systems. It can find vulnerabilities in systems and then exploit them. Metasploit runs on Linux, Windows, and OS X.

  • Metasploit is made up of two main areas: the Framework and the Console. The Framework is a collection of tools and libraries that can create or modify exploit code.
  • The Console is a graphical user interface (GUI) that makes it easy to use the Framework. (Docs.rapid7.com, n.d. -b)

The Metasploit Framework includes hundreds of different Exploit Modules. These modules can exploit vulnerabilities in systems. Each module includes information about the specific vulnerability that it exploits. Metasploit also includes Payload Modules, which can create custom payloads for specific purposes.

Metasploit can be utilized for both positive or negative applications, making it is crucial to understand how the program works to prevent potential misuse. (Petters, J., 2020).

How is Metasploit Used, and What Are Some Features?

Metasploit is a versatile open-source toolkit that helps security professionals assess vulnerabilities in their systems. It can launch attacks, test defenses, research new exploitation techniques, and it is a versatile tool that can be adapted to fit the needs of any user. (Kennedy et al., n.d.)

Metasploit has many features that make it a valuable tool for security professionals. Some of the most popular features include:

  • The ability to exploit a wide range of vulnerabilities, including those that are unpatched or not yet publicly known
  • A large and active community of users who contribute new modules and share their expertise
  • A comprehensive database of exploits, payloads, and auxiliary modules
  • A robust framework that allows for easy customization and extensibility
  • A wide range of platform support, including Windows, Linux, and OS X (Petters, J., 2020)

Despite its many features and benefits, Metasploit does have some limitations. Some of the most notable limitations include the following:

  • The learning curve can be steep for newcomers.
  • It can be difficult to keep up with the rapid pace of development.
  • Some features require a paid subscription. (Wallarm., n.d.)

Overall, Metasploit is a powerful tool that can be of immense help for security professionals. While it has some limitations, its many features make up for them.

Modules in Metasploit

Metasploit Modules are code packages that exploit a vulnerability, perform an attack, or otherwise carry out a specific task. Payload modules generate and deliver a payload to a target system. Auxiliary modules are for tasks such as reconnaissance, scanning, and denial of service attacks. (Offensive Security, nd)

There are seven types of modules in Metasploit:

  • Payloads are the components of an exploit that allow you to control a system once it has been compromised.
  • Evasion modules help you avoid detection by anti-virus software and other security measures.
  • Auxiliary modules provide additional functionality, such as password guessing and denial-of-service attacks.
  • Encoders are used to transform payloads into a format that is difficult for security systems to detect or decode.
  • Exploits are modules that exploit vulnerabilities in systems.
  • Nops are filler code that can be used to pad out an exploit or increase its chances of success.
  • Post modules are used to run commands on a compromised system or gather information about a target. (Engineering Education (EngEd) Program, n.d.)

The Metasploit Framework is constantly being updated with new modules, so check back often for the latest and greatest ways to make your hacking more efficient and effective.

Steps In Using Metasploit Framework / How to Work with Metasploit

Before we get started, there are a few things that you should know. First, Metasploit Framework is not a tool that is used by itself. It requires other tools to function properly. Second, Metasploit Framework is not intended for beginners. It is a complex tool only for experienced penetration testers or security professionals.

  • First, you’ll need to download and install the Metasploit framework. Once you have the framework installed, you’ll need to launch it. This can be done from the command line or from within your graphical user interface. (Docs.rapid7.com, n.d. -b)
  • Once Metasploit is up and running, you’ll see the main interface. From here, you can select the type of exploit you want to use. There are a number of different types of exploits, each designed to attack a different type of system. For our purposes, we’ll be using an exploit that targets Windows systems.
  • When you’ve selected the type of exploit you want to use, it’s time to select your target. Metasploit comes with a number of built-in targets, or you can specify your own. For our example, we’ll be targeting a Windows system that has the IP address 192.168.1.1. (Docs.rapid7.com, n.d. -a)
  • Now that you have your target selected, it’s time to select your payload. The payload is the code that will be executed on the target system once the exploit is successful. Metasploit comes with a number of different payloads, but for our purposes we’ll be using a reverse shell payload. This payload will give us a remote shell on the target system, allowing us to run commands and take over the system. (Docs.rapid7.com, n.d. -c),
  • Once you’ve selected your payload, it’s time to select your attack vector. The attack vector is the method by which the exploit and payload will be delivered to the target system. Metasploit comes with a number of built-in attack vectors.
  • Now that you have your attack vector and payload selected, it’s time to launch the attack. This is simply clicking on the “exploit” button in the Metasploit interface.

EC-Council’s Certified Penetration Testing Professional (CPENT) certification is a must-have for any professional looking to get into the field of penetration testing. The coursework for this certification trains professionals in Metasploit, which is an essential tool for anyone looking to conduct ethical hacking or penetration testing. You’ll learn how to assess networks for vulnerabilities, exploit systems using Metasploit, and much more. Upon completion of this course, you’ll be able to sit for the CPENT exam and earn your certification.

The CPENT certification is also valuable for those who want to pursue a career in information security, as it demonstrates a commitment to continued learning and professional development. If you’re interested in getting certified, be sure to check out EC-Council’s website for more information

Sources

Docs.rapid7.com. (n.d. -a). Manual Exploitation | Metasploit Documentation. https://docs.rapid7.com/metasploit/manual-exploitation/

Docs.rapid7.com. (n.d. -b). Metasploit Framework | Metasploit Documentation. https://docs.rapid7.com/metasploit/msf-overview/

Docs.rapid7.com. (n.d. -c). Working with Payloads | Metasploit Documentation. https://docs.rapid7.com/metasploit/working-with-payloads/

Engineering Education (EngEd) Program. (n.d.). Getting Started with the Metasploit Framework. Section. https://www.section.io/engineering-education/getting-started-with-metasploit-framework/

Kennedy, D., O’gorman, J., Kearns, D., & Aharoni, M. (n.d.). Metasploit The Penetration Tester’s Guide. https://olinux.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Metasploit-The-Penetration-Tester-s-Guide.pdf

Offensive Security. (nd). Metasploit Modules and Locations. https://www.offensive-security.com/metasploit-unleashed/modules-and-locations/

Petters, J. (2020, March 29). What is Metasploit? The Beginner’s Guide. Www.varonis.com. https://www.varonis.com/blog/what-is-metasploit

Wallarm. (n.d.) What is Metasploit? How to Use It? https://www.wallarm.com/what/metasploit

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