Security Audit

The Best Penetration Testing Tools – All You Need to Know

Updated on: January 7, 2022

The Best Penetration Testing Tools – All You Need to Know

The annual cost of cybercrime will be $10.5 trillion for companies worldwide by the year 2025. Add the 125% increment in the global incident volume of cyberattacks to that and the cyber threat landscape starts to look really bleak. Amidst the evolution of work environments, rapid changes in technology, and adoption of new processes, cyber security often takes a back seat.

It needs to change. Companies need more focused efforts in the information security space. It has to become more than just an IT issue – part of the business-culture. Security loop holes can exist anywhere across your digital platforms, making getting hacked just a matter of time for you.

You need security experts at the top of their game, using the best penetration testing tools to find and remove security vulnerabilities in your systems.

What is Penetration Testing?

Penetration testing is a security exercise where security experts search your systems for vulnerabilities using the processes a hacker would. And then attempt to exploit some of those vulnerabilities in order to find out their severity, and the risk they pose to the organization.

With the right pentesting team and the best penetration testing tools, it can be an incredible measure to assess and strengthen an organization’s security posture.

What Sets a Penetration Test Apart From a Vulnerability Assessment? 

Vulnerability Assessment is an essential part of Penetration Testing. It is usually an automated procedure that unearths the possible vulnerabilities in a website, network, or application. It is fast, accurate, and machine learning driven exercise, that gives you a surface level understanding of your security posture.

Penetration Testing takes it further. Pentesters use a hacker like approach to manually find hidden vulnerabilities and exploit certain vulnerabilities to learn more about them – how easy it was to exploit, whether the attacker was able to attain a privilege escalation, whether it allows a persistent backdoor, etc.

What Makes Penetration Testing Important?

  • You get a comprehensive understanding of your organization’s security posture which is simply not possible with just a Vulnerability Scan.
  • You come to truly understand the risk posed by the vulnerabilities. It helps you appreciate the ROI of security exercises.
  • Security experts who conduct a pentest of your systems are the best people to help you fix the vulnerabilities.
  • It becomes easier for the management to spend on security when they have a clearer understanding of the threat scenario.
  • The hacker like approach of a pentester helps you understand how your current security measures would fare against a potent threat.
  • There are multiple security regulations that require you to conduct frequent penetration testing, so the matter of compliance is always there.

Penetration Testing is a repetitive procedure. You have to make it a practice, ideally a part of your software development life cycle if that is part of your business. A pentest certificate is only valid until your next feature update, or a new vulnerability is found. It is frustrating in that way. but with the right people wielding the Best Penetration Testing Tools, it becomes a breeze.

 Enough of testing your patience! Here it is.

List of the Best Penetration Testing Tools

1. Astra Pentest

Astra Security’s product, the Astra Pentest is guided by one principle – making the pentest process simple for the users. Astra’s constant efforts towards making the solutions self serving and yet being always available and on point with support is quite surprising. Astra has made visualizing, navigating, and remediating vulnerabilities as simple as running a search on Google.

The user gets a dedicated dashboard to visualize the vulnerabilities, read the CVSS scores, get in touch with the security personnel and access remediation support.

penetration testing compliance by Astra

Features That Put Astra on top of the list of the best Penetration Testing Tools

  • 3000+ tests to uncover all vulnerabilities along with free re-scans.
  • Comprehensive remediation guidance with video POCs in-call assistance.
  • Interactive dashboard making it super easy to navigate through vulnerability reports.
  • Round the clock chat support.
  • Login recorder to make scanner authentication simpler for users.
  • Globally acknowledged certification.

Over the past year Astra has added names like ICICI, UN, and Dream 11, to their already impressive roster of clients which included Ford, Gillette, and GoDaddy, among others.

It is one small security loophole v/s your entire website / web application

Get your web app audited & strengthen your defenses!
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Starting from $349

2. NMAP

NMAP is short for Network Mapper. It helps you map a network by scanning ports, discovering operating systems, and creating an inventory of devices and the services running on them. 

NMAP sends differently structured packets for different transport layer protocols which return with IP addresses and other information. You can use this information for host discovery, OS fingerprinting, service discovery, and security auditing. 

NMAP is a powerful tool with the capability of mapping a very large network with thousands of ports connected to it.

How NMAP helps in Security Audits?

NMAP allows security administrators to create an inventory of all devices, and operating systems, and applications connected to a network, it makes it possible for them to point out the probable vulnerabilities.

For instance, if an application running on a network is deemed vulnerable, the network administrators can spot it using NMAP and take the needful steps to update or replace the application.

3. Metasploit

Metasploit is used by both hackers and security professionals to detect systematic vulnerabilities. It is a powerful framework which also contains portions of fuzzing, anti-forensic, and evasion tools.

It is easy to install, works on a range of platforms, and is quite popular among hackers. That is part of the reason why it is an important tool for Pentesters as well.

Metasploit currently includes nearly 1677 exploits along with almost 500 payloads that include Command shell payloads, Dynamic payloads, Meterpreter payloads, Static payloads.

With listeners, encoders, post-exploit code, Metaspoit is a very powerful tool for ethical hacking.

4. WireShark

WireShark is a famous open source tool primarily used for protocol analysis. You can monitor network activities at a microscopic level using this tool. What makes it one of the best penetration testing tools is the fact that thousands of security engineers across the world contribute to its improvement.

What WireShark allows you to do

  • Capture and analyze network traffic
  • Inspect protocols
  • Troubleshoot network performance issues.
  • Decrypt protocols
  • Capture live data from Ethernet, LAN, USB, etc.
  • Export output to XML, PostScript, CSV, or plain text

It is important to note that WireShark is not an Intrusion Detection System or IDS. As a protocol analyzer it can help you visualize malformed packets but it cannot raise an alarm if there is any malicious activity on the network.

5. Burp Suite

Burp Suite comes with a range of tools that are very useful for ethical hackers, pentesters, and security engineers. Let us explore some of the tools included in Burp Suite.

  • Spider: It is a web crawler used for mapping the target application. You can create an inventory of all the endpoints, monitor their functionalities, and look for vulnerabilities with Spider.
  • Proxy: A proxy is placed between the browser and the internet to monitor, and modify the in transit requests and responses.
  • Intruder: It runs a set of values through an input point and lets you analyze the output for success, failure and content length.

These aside the suite includes Repeater, Sequencer, Decoder, Extender, and some other add on tools.

Burp Suite has both a free community edition and a commercial edition.

6. Nessus

Nessus aims to simplify vulnerability assessments and make remediation more efficient. It works on a variety of platforms and comes with a range of features.

  • You can test your systems for 65k vulnerabilities with Nessus.
  • Allows efficient vulnerability assessment.
  • Nessus keeps adding new plugins to protect you from new threats.
  • Integrates easily to the rest of the Tenable product portfolio. 

You have gone through the list of the best Penetration Testing Tools. How about learning a bit about the different categories of tools that a Pentester uses to conduct a test?

Read also: 16 Pentest Tools To Help You Find Security Vulnerabilities in a Website 

Categories of Penetration Testing Tools

Each step of the Pentest process requires a specific category of tools. Be it gathering information about the target website, scanning for vulnerabilities, or exploiting those vulnerabilities, every task requires certain capabilities. Here are the most important ones.

Read also: Breaking Down the Pentest Process – A 5 Step Guide

Port Scanners

Ports help you distinguish between different sources of traffic on a network. Port scanners send packets to identify open ports and thus uncover vulnerabilities.

Vulnerability Scanners

A vulnerability scanner, as we have already discussed, is usually an automated tool that searches your website, application, or network for known vulnerabilities. The scanner reports the vulnerabilities along with their CVSS score.

Network Sniffers

Network administrators can use Network sniffers to monitor network traffic and find vulnerabilities. It is used by hackers too in a similar capacity.

Intercept Proxy

An intercept proxy lies between the client side browser and the internet and intercepts the traffic. It can monitor, modify, or alter the requests and responses.

Now, that you have a fair understanding of the various kinds of tools used by Pentesters and also an idea of the best Penetration Testing tools, let us look back at the top of our list for bit.

Astra Pentest – Making Security Super Simple

Astra has a had a pretty impeccable record so far as a Pentest tool. Astra’s focus on user experience and speed of support is phenomenal to say the least.

You get a comprehensive Penetration test within 10 days or even sooner depending on the scope of the test. And the quality of remediation support they provide while maintaining that sort of speed of delivery is pretty hard to match. 

Astra’s Pentest report comes with detailed guidelines for developers and includes video POCs to help them reproduce and fix the vulnerabilities. And you get free rescans after the remediation, so, that too is pretty neat.  

best penetration testing tools

To Conclude

It is time for you to act. You have browsed through a list of the best Penetration Testing tools. That means, you are a step closer to creating a secure environment for your business as well as your customers. Take this forward. Talk to a security expert. Learn what your organization lacks in terms of cyber security and take the necessary measures.

Want to know more or have a quick questions? Talk with our engineers! 🙂

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FAQs

  1. How much time does it take to complete a Pentest?
    It may take 4-10 days to complete a penetration test depending upon the scope of the test. The re-scans after fixing the vulnerabilities may take half the time taken by the initial test.
  2. How much does a pentest for web applications cost?
    The cost of penetration testing for web applications is between $700 and $4999 per scan depending on the scope of the test and the number of scans.
  3. Do I get free re-scans after the vulnerabilities are fixed?
    Yes, you get up to three rescans based on the plan you are on. You can avail these re-scans within 30 days of the initial scan completion.

What is Penetration Testing?

Penetration testing is a security exercise where security experts search your systems for vulnerabilities using the processes a hacker would. And then attempt to exploit some of those vulnerabilities in order to find out their severity, and the risk they pose to the organization.

  • How much time does it take to complete a Pentest?
  • It may take 4-10 days to complete a penetration test depending upon the scope of the test. The re-scans after fixing the vulnerabilities may take half the time taken by the initial test.
  • How much does a pentest for web applications cost?
  • The cost of penetration testing for web applications is between $700 and $4999 per scan depending on the scope of the test and the number of scans.
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    Saumick Basu

    Saumick is a Technical Writer at Astra Security. He loves to write about technology and has deep interest in its evolution. Having written about spearheading disruptive technology like AI, and Machine Learning, and code reviews for a while, Information Security is his newfound love. He's ready to bring you along as he dives deeper.
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