10 Best Hacking Tools for Windows, Linux and OS X – 2018 Edition
Technology and hacking, in particular, is a dynamic field with new innovations and tools being released almost every day. If you are a security researcher, pentester or a system admin, you need to have a precise set of tools and apps on your PCs/laptops to find the hidden vulnerabilities and plug them.
We have compiled this list of best hacking tools of 2018 with their description and download links. You can read about them and learn how to use them.
Please note that this article is for educational purpose only and Techworm does not promote any malicious practices.
Nmap is a well-known free and open source tool for hackers. This software is primarily used for security audits and network discovery. Thousands of system admins all around the world use Nmap for network inventory, check for open ports, manage service upgrade schedules, and monitor host or service uptime. As a tool, it makes use of raw IP packets in ways to determine the hosts available on the network, what services (application name and version) are these hosts providing information about, operating systems, type/version of filters/firewalls, etc.
This is one of the most popular pentesting framework around for exploiting (utilising network weakness for making a “backdoor”) vulnerabilities (Weak Points) on Network. Those unfamiliar with it can consider it as a ‘collection of hacking tools and frameworks’ – useful to carry out a range of tasks. It’s the tool of choice for cyber-security professionals and ethical hackers. Metasploit is basically a computer security project that provides users with information regarding known security vulnerabilities, which can be vital as well as help in creating penetration testing and IDS testing plans, strategies and methodologies for exploitation.
The Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP) is now one of the most popular OWASP projects. This hacking and pentesting tool with its easy UI finds vulnerabilities in web applications. ZAP is a popular tool owing to the support it enjoys and thus makes it an excellent choice for those that work in the domain of cyber-security. ZAP provides automated scanners as well as various tools that allow you to discover security vulnerabilities manually. When used as a proxy server it allows the user to manipulate all of the traffic that passes through it, including traffic using https. It can also run in a ‘daemon’ mode which is then controlled via a REST Application programming interface. If one is able to understand and master this tool, it could be advantageous to one’s career as a penetration tester.
This is one of the most 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 including Brute Force and Rainbow attacks.
Usually abbreviated to just Cain – this is highly popular hacking tool that finds many mentions across tutorials. Cain & Abel is a password recovery tool that is mostly used for Microsoft Operating Systems. It allows easy recovery of various kind of passwords by sniffing the network (capturing some of the data packets), cracking encrypted passwords using dictionary, brute-force (generation of hashes out of words and then comparison of encrypted hash with the generated one, this method takes less time than dictionary attack method) and cryptanalysis attacks. The program does not exploit any software vulnerabilities or bugs that could not be fixed with little effort. It covers some security aspects/weakness present in protocol’s standards, authentication methods and caching mechanisms.
Wireshark is a free and open source packet analyser used for network troubleshooting, analysis, software and communications protocol development, and education. In simpler words, it captures data packets in real-time and then displays in a readable format (verbose). The tool (platform) has been highly developed and it includes filters, color-coding and other features that lets the user dig deep into network traffic and inspect individual packets. If you intend to follow pentesting or cyber-security as a career choice, then learning Wireshark is an absolute necessity.
For those of you who need to penetrate and audit wireless networks, you’ve just found your new best friend. The Aircrack suite of Wifi (Wireless) hacking tools are legendary because they are very effectively when used in the right hands. For those new to this wireless-specific hacking program, Aircrack-ng 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). 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.
THC Hydra is hugely popular cracking tool and has a very active and experienced development team. This tool usually works in unison with John the Ripper. Essentially, THC Hydra is a fast and stable Network Login Hacking Tool that will use dictionary or brute-force attacks to try various password and login combinations against an log in page. This hacking tool supports a wide set of protocols including Mail (POP3, IMAP, etc.), Databases, LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol), SMB, VNC, and SSH (Secure Shell used by VPN softwares).
Although, it is not a complete hacking tool as such, Maltego works within a digital forensics sphere and is quite helpful in data breach incident response. Maltego has been designed as a platform to deliver an overall view of cyber threats to the local working environment of an organization. One of the main reasons for Maltego’s popularity is it’s unique perspective in offering both network and resource based entities to aggregate information available throughout the web.
Nikto is an open source (GPL) web server scanner that is able to identify and detect vulnerabilities in web servers. The system searches against a database of over 6,800 potentially dangerous files/programs when scanning software stacks. Like other scanners, Nikoto also scans for outdated (unpatched) versions of over 1,300 servers, and version specific problems on over 275 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.