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List of 12 Top Penetration Testing Tools

3 min read
List of 12 Top Penetration Testing Tools

Penetration testing, more commonly called pentesting, is the practice of finding holes that could be exploited in an application, network or system with the goal of detecting security vulnerabilities that a hacker could use against it.

Here is a compilation of multiple forensic and penetration testing tools for applications, networks, and websites.

1. Nmap

Nmap is a very versatile tool developed to scan addresses (IPV6 included), this tool allows the users to gather a mass amount of information about the target quickly, information including open ports, + much, much more.
Nmap supports a large number of scanning techniques such as: UDP, TCP connect(), TCP SYN (half open), ftp proxy (bounce attack), ICMP (ping sweep), FIN, ACK sweep, Xmas Tree, SYN sweep, IP Protocol, and Null scan.

Official Site: Nmap

2. Wireshark

A very powerful network troubleshooting and analysis tool, 
Wireshark provides the ability to view data from a live network, and supports hundreds of protocols and media formats. 

Official Site: Wireshark

3. Cain and Abel

Cain and Abel is a revolutionary tool that provides many functions that are able to do various password retrieval jobs, cracking passwords, sniffing networks, and routing/analyzing protocols. This tool is Windows-only, unlike many other tools that exist, this is a pleasant twist to modern penetration testing and forensic tools.

Official Site: Cain & Abel

4. Metasploit

Metasploit, a very powerful network security and analysis tool, used often for penetration attacks, this tool has a clean interface and easily gathers the information that you seek.

Official Site: Metasploit

5. Ettercap

Ettercap is a suite for man in the middle attacks on LAN. It features sniffing of live connections, content filtering on the fly and many other interesting tricks. It supports active and passive dissection of many protocols (even ciphered ones) and includes many feature for network and host analysis. (Taken from their website)

Official Site: Ettercap

6. Nessus

The Nessus tool provides high-speed data discovery, asset profiling, configuration auditing, and vulnerability analysis of networks.

Official Site: Nessus

7. Havij

Havij is the most common and heard of testing tool for SQLI injection and many other web-based injection types. It fluently provides the site’s scan, admin look-up, password cracking, and database retrieval. It literally makes it a breeze to hack, and find, vulnerable websites.

Official Site: Havij

8. Kali

Kali is a widely popular bootable Live-CD of a Linux Distro. Kali offers a vast variety of penetration testing tools, along with those for network attacks, and supports many other forms of testing/attacking, for VOIP networks, Websites + more. The tool’s interface and design provides an easy to use layout.

Official Site: Kali Linux

9. W3af

W3af is an extremely popular, powerful, and flexible framework for finding and exploiting web application vulnerabilities. It is easy to use and extend and features dozens of web assessment and exploitation-plugins. In some ways it is like a web-focused Metasploit. (Taken from

Official Site: w3af

10. Helix

Helix is a live bootable Ubuntu CD, that contains a multitude of forensic tools involving cellphones, computers, file systems, images, and tied into its sheer power is a friendly and easy-to-use interface.

Official Site: Helix

11. Acunetix

Acunetix is a strong, and very popular website security tool. It provides many tools to test your website, (or others) for various injections. Acunetix WVS automatically checks your web applications for SQL Injection, XSS & other web vulnerabilities.

Official Site: Acunetix

12. Burp Suite

Burp Suite is an integrated platform for performing security testing of web applications. Its various tools work seamlessly together to support the entire testing process, from initial mapping and analysis of an application’s attack surface, through to finding and exploiting security vulnerabilities. (Taken from

Official Site: Burp Suite

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