Penetration testing tools

Top 12 Penetration testing tools in 2023

Penetration testing (Pen Testing /Pen Test) means conducting authorized hacking of applications so that the threats can be detected in advance and can be taken to the concerned developers. These simulated attacks will help the organization to locate the vulnerabilities and protect the data. This is a non-functional type of testing. The person who is doing the testing is the Penetration tester aka ethical hacker. When it comes to penetration, there are some penetration testing tools. 

Top Penetration Tools

Here is the list of Top penetration tools available:

  • Wireshark: Open source network troubleshooting tool that is easy to install previously known as Ethereal. Basically a network protocol -analyzer is popular for providing minute details on network protocols. This includes the data about the source and the destination protocols, decryption, packet information, etc. It supports operating systems(Windows, Linux, FreeBSD and Solaris). Some of the features are Offline analysis, and VoIP analysis (Rich VoIP examination). The output can be exported to XML, CSV, or even simple text, PostScript, and Supports a barcode scanner. A major drawback of this tool is that there is no Intrusion detection system, so the tool cannot raise any alarm on any malicious activity.

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  • PortSwigger Burp Suite: Vulnerability scanning tool used in security and testing solutions. This is designed to save time spent by providing a faster approach to software security. This is done through automated scanning of the portfolios. The application has features like a repeater, intruder, and intercepting proxy. This has a free version called the community edition, but the pro edition is expensive. It provides manual and automated pentesting. In addition to the basic functionality, it also contains advanced options such as spider, repeater, decoder, and comparer. We can configure it in Mozilla, windows, and chrome browsers. We can even use the tool to modify the raw HTTP before sending the request to the server which can act as a proxy between the user and the web application.


  • Kali Linux: It is an open-source free system for security professionals, penetration testers and ethical hackers. It is based on Debian and supports tasks such as Penetration Testing, Security Research, Computer Forensics and Reverse Engineering. Tools listing, Metapackage and version tracking are the penetration tools present in Kali Linux. In fact, over 600 penetration tools are there. It will allow you to create the backup and upturn agenda that fit your needs. It is the best tool available for packet sniffing and injecting. Some of the features are it is one of the best network tools, backtrack supports KDE and Gnome also have pre-loaded tools for LAN and WLAN sniffing, and password cracking. Also, backtrack will incorporate some of the tools like Wireshark and Metasploit. Support for various languages can be customized.

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  • Inviciti: Formerly known as Netsparker, web application security automated scanner that will identify the vulnerabilities such as SQL injection, XSS and cross-site scripting in web applications and web APIs now owned by Summit Partners. By empowering security teams with the most unique DAST + IAST scanning capabilities on market, the tool allows complicated scenarios to be handled by the organization. It supports the operating system such as Windows and also Windows Server. Some of the features are vulnerability detection with proof-based scanning technology, Scanning 1000 web applications in 24 hours, setting scans to run Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Manual testing, SDLC integration, REST API support, and Anti CSRF token support. It is a commercial tool.


  • Intruder: It is a cloud-based vulnerability scanner that helps in the detection of online vulnerabilities. It will constantly scan a client’s system for vulnerabilities. Intruder security check includes detecting missing patches, configuration issues and the web app issues like SQL injection. It has highly safe scanning functionalities that can be useful at the bank and government levels. It has easily manageable alerts and is easy to navigate. Some of the features of the intruder are threat coverage over 10,000 security checks, automatic analysis and prioritization of the scan results, and proactive security monitoring. It supports compliance standards such as ISO 27001/27002, SOC 2, AWS, Azure and Google cloud connectors.


  • Acunetix: It is a fully automatic penetration tool which can work from an external position or within the network. It scans HTML5, Java Script and Single page applications. Acunetix will review the authentic web applications that include the complex ones and various other issues fulfillment cases. It scans and detects over 4500 web vulnerabilities which include variants of SQL injection, and XSS and it is available on-premises and as a cloud answer. Acunetix supports operating systems ( Windows,macOS, Linux or as a SaaS package). It offers users to export the discovered vulnerabilities to issue trackers( Atlassian JIRA, GitHub, and Microsoft Team Foundation Server (TFS)). Some of the features are In-Depth crawl analysis, Detecting rate of vulnerabilities with low false positives, free network security scanning and manual testing tools. It can audit complex, authenticated web apps and issues compliance and management reports on a wide range of web and network vulnerabilities.


  • Indusface WAS: It offers manual penetration testing and automated scanning to detect and report vulnerabilities based on OWASP top 10 and SANS top 25. Indusface WAS is a Consultancy system that provides pen testing tools and a team of white hackers to do the testing. It is a non-intrusive cloud-based solution that provides daily monitoring for the web application, checking for system and application vulnerabilities. Some of the other features are a pause and resume feature, Manual PT and Automated scanner displayed in the same dashboard, seamless integration with the WAF, Scanner, Web application Firewall, and Set scans to run daily, it is available for Windows, Android and iOS, malware infection checking, the reputation of links in the website, broken links.


  • Hexway: Tool provides users with 2 workspace self-hosted environments made for penetration testing and vulnerability management. It is created to normalize and aggregate data from pentest tools to work with it in a faster and more convenient way. The tools include Burp, Metasploit, and Nmap. Some of the features have Custom branded docx reports, Issues knowledge base, API and team collaboration, Scan comparisons, a Tool that provides the PPTX reports, Set scans to run Daily, weekly or monthly, project dashboards, LDAP & Jira integration, checklist and pentest methodologies, looks like all security data in one place.


  • OWASP- ZAP: It is a non-profit organization aims on improving the security of software. It finds security vulnerabilities in web applications during the development and testing phase. OWASP- ZAP has multiple tools to pen-test various software environments and protocols. ZAP is a completely free-to-use, scanner and security vulnerability finder for web applications. It includes proxy intercepting aspects, scanners, and spiders. Some of the other features are R-Attacker, which executes XSS, SQL or OS Command injections, Passive scanner, Fuzzer, and Web socket support, Supports operating systems like (Windows,macOS, Linux, and Android), beginner-friendly pen-testing platform, attempts brute force contact to files and directories.


  • NordVPN: It secures internet browsing against 3 letter agencies and scammers. It has unlimited access to music and social media such that these programs never log IP addresses, or browsing history. Some of the other features are it has servers in 160 locations and 94 countries, Online protection using leak proofing and encryption, the tool supports Data breach scanners, IP scanning, Set scan monthly and Supports operating systems like (Windows,macOS, Linux, and Android).


  • Metasploit: Open source tool used by both hackers and security professionals to detect vulnerabilities. It has a portion of fuzzing, anti-forensic and evasion tools. It is based on the concept of “exploit”, it is actually a code that can surpass security measures. Its objective is to assist users in identifying where they are most vulnerable to cyber-attacks, and If entered, it runs the payload and hence creates a framework for penetration testing. Its usage is mainly on web applications, the networks and the platforms. When it comes to platforms, it includes Linux, Mac OS and Microsoft windows. Some of the features are manual brute forcing, support for both HTTP login scanner and FTP login scanner, provide baseline penetration testing reports, third-party trade-in, and network security.


  • W3af(Web application attack and audit framework): It has a vulnerability scanner and web application exploitation tools. W3af is developed in Python. It can also scan session-protected pages, it comes with a graphical interface and console user interface. It identifies the vulnerabilities like SQL injection, Cross -Site Scripting (XSS), and Unhandled application errors. Some of the features include HTTP requests, integration of web and proxy servers into code, User Agent faking, DNS cache, File upload using multipart, and cookie handling. It identifies nearly 200 different flaws in web applications. It is Free software that works on Linux and Apple Mac OS.


So the above-mentioned are some of the top penetration testing tools used by professionals for security testing. Whatever the tools used there should be a written agreement between the tester and the company/organization. The agreement is to clarify the points regarding data security. 

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