Security Audit

17 Best Penetration Testing Tools/Software of 2022 [Reviewed]

Updated on: November 1, 2022

17 Best Penetration Testing Tools/Software of 2022 [Reviewed]

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.

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.

Best 17 Penetration Testing Tools of 2022

Introduction

Amidst the evolution of work environments, rapid changes in technology, and the 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 loopholes can exist anywhere across your digital platforms, making getting hacked just a matter of time for you. And that is what makes a pen testing tool so important.

Name of the toolServicesKey features
Astra's PentestVulnerability Assessment & Penetration Testing3000+ Tests, Continuous scanning, CI/CD integration, zero false positives, compliance monitoring.
NMAPNetwork ScanningCreate inventory of network devices, port scanning, mapping large networks
MetasploitVulnerability probing and weakness detection1677 exploits organized over 25 platforms, 500+ payloads, Encoders, post-exploit code
WireSharkProtocol analysis, network monitoringCapture and analyze network traffic, capture live data from Ethernet, LAN, USB, etc. Inspect protocols
Burp SuiteWeb application security testingWeb crawler, proxy, repeater, sequencer, and a wide set of tools.
NessusVulnerability AssessmentTests for more than 65K vulnerabilities, Integrates with Tenable products, regularly updated for new threats
NiktoVulnerability ScannerScans for 7000 dangerous programs and multiple portals
IntruderVulnerability ScannerPowerful testing engine designed for bank and governmental organizations
W3afWeb Application Pentest ToolPython based tool with a great graphical interface
SQLmapAutomated Pentesting Tool, SQL Injection AttacksExploits SQL injection flaws
Zed Attack ProxyOpen-Source Pentest ToolOWASP based tool available for Linux, Windows & Mac.

Top 11 Best Penetration Testing Tools of 2022 [Reviewed]

Let’s learn a bit more about some of the best penetration testing software. We will start with an awesome penetration testing platform and throw in an assorted list of pen testing tools, network security tools, and other forms of security testing software.

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 efforts towards making the penetration testing platform self-serving are constant and yet they manage to always be available and on point with support. Astra has made visualizing, navigating, and remediating vulnerabilities as simple as running a search on Google.

On Astra’s penetration testing platform, 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 pen 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.

Pros

  • Provides gap analysis.
  • Rescanning is a must after remediation.
  • Provides publicly verifiably certificate.
  • Ensures zero false positives.
  • Detects business logic errors and scans behind the logins.

Cons

  • Could have had more integrations.
  • Does not provide free trials.

Also Read: What is Automated Penetration Testing? Difference between Automatic & Manual Pentesting Software

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

Get your web app audited with Astra’s Continuous Pentest Solution

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. This is a great suite for network pen testing.

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 does NMAP help in Security Audits?

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

Pros

  • Open-source and therefore easily available and verifiable.
  • Easy to navigate.
  • Lots of networking features.

Cons

  • Need extensive knowledge to use.
  • Limited scanning range.
  • Used by malicious hackers as well as security experts.

Also Read: Top 5 Software Security Testing Tools You Should Know About | Security Testing Software – 5 Things to Understand Before You Choose One

3. Metasploit

Metasploit is used by both hackers and security professionals to detect systematic vulnerabilities. It is a powerful framework that 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, and Static payloads.

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

Pros

  • Open-source penetration testing tool.
  • Easy to use.

Cons

  • Difficult to learn.
  • Needs prior knowledge for easy navigation.

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

4. WireShark

WireShark is a famous open-source penetration testing 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 pentest 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.

Pros

  • Freely available application.
  • Analyzes traffic in real-time.

Cons

  • Doesn’t provide real-time alerts for any intrusions.
  • Capable of analyzing information but not sending it.

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

Get your web app audited with Astra’s Continuous Pentest Solution

Also Read: Continuous Penetration Testing: The Best Tool You’ll Find in 2022 | Why Firewall Penetration Testing is Essential to Your Security Strategy

5. Burp Suite

Burp Suite is a range of security penetration testing 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.

Pros

  • Has both open-source and commercial editions.
  • User-friendly interface.

Cons

  • Requires better integrations.
  • The commercial product is pricey.
  • The free version has lesser features.

Also Read: 7 Best API Penetration Testing Tools And Everything Related

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 with the rest of the Tenable product portfolio. 

Pros

  • Has a free version.
  • Accurate identification of vulnerabilities.

Cons

  • The free version does not have a lot of features.
  • the commercialized version can be expensive.

Also Read- Best Tenable Alternative and Competitor

7. Nikto

This open-source penetration testing software is capable of conducting detailed tests on web servers with a capacity to identify nearly 7000 malicious files and applications.

  • Detects outdated versions of1250 servers
  • Has full HTTP support
  • Customized reports are available based on templates
  • Can scan numerous server ports 

Pros

  • It is freely available to the public for use.
  • Available in Kali Linux.

Cons

  • Does not have a community platform.
  • Does not have a GUI.

Also Read: API Penetration Testing: What You Need To Know

8. Intruder

Intruder is a pentest tool efficient in finding the loopholes and vulnerabilities that lie within web applications. 

  • Enterprise-grade security testing tool
  • Security scanning features that can be made use of at bank and government levels

Pros

  • Easy to navigate.
  • Readily manageable alerts.

Cons

Check Out: Best Intruder Alternative | Detectify vs Intruder Features Comparison

9. W3af

W3af is a framework for web application pentesting and auditing. 

  • Helps enhance any pentesting platform with its given guidelines
  • Developed with the help of Python
  • Identifies nearly 200 different web app flaws
  • Can also scan session-protected pages
  • Comes with a graphical interface

Pros

  • Easy-to-use for beginners
  • Available freely.

Cons

  • False positives are a possibility.
  • GUI can be difficult to navigate.

10. SQLmap

Yet another freely available pentesting tool, SQLmap automates the process of finding threats and attacks associated with SQL injections. 

  • Powerful testing engine
  • Capable of running multiple injection attacks
  • Supports servers like MySQL, Microsoft Access, IBM DB2, and SQLite

Pros

  • Open-source pentesting tool.
  • Finds SQL injections of various types using automated methods

Cons

  • No GUI.

11. Zed Attack Proxy

Zed Attack Proxy or else known as ZAP is an open-source penetration testing software offered by OWASP. 

  • Available for Windows, Linux, and Macintosh
  • Can detect a variety of vulnerabilities within web apps.
  • Easy to navigate user interface
  • Beginners-friendly pentesting platform
  • Supports a lot of pentesting activities

Pros

  • Maintained by OWASP and is freely available.
  • Easy to learn.
  • Eligible for beginner and security experts alike.

Cons

  • Hard to set up the tool.
  • Not convenient compared to other tools.
  • Some features require extra plugins.

You have gone through the list of the best pentest tools for 2022. How about learning a bit about the different categories of tools that a pentester uses to conduct a test?

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

Get your web app audited with Astra’s Continuous Pentest Solution

Penetration Testing- Definition, Importance, and Differences

Penetration testing is a security exercise where security experts search your systems for vulnerabilities using the processes a hacker would. Vulnerabilities found then undergo various attempts at exploitation 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.

Related: A Curated List of Top Pentest Tools in US

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 pen test 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 pen tester 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 good pentesting software, it becomes a breeze.

Also Read: Top 6 Web Pentest Tools You Should Not Miss in 2022

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 a fast, accurate, and machine learning-driven exercise, that gives you a surface-level understanding of your security posture.

Penetration testing takes it further. Pen testers 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.

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 penetration testing 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 intercepting 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 a bit.

Astra Pentest – Making Security Super Simple

Astra has had a pretty impeccable record so far as a security testing 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

Also Read: Top Penetration Testing Services & Providers – Comparison with Reviews

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

Get your web app audited with Astra’s Continuous Pentest Solution

To Conclude

It is time for you to act. You have browsed through a list of the pentest tools that listed some of the top tools like Astra Pentest.

Choosing Astra Pentest for your penetration testing needs 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.

FAQs

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. Learn about the pentest tools that you should try!

Which are the Best Penetration Testing Tools?

Some of the best penetration testing tools are Astra’s Pentest, Metasploit, NMap, Burp Suite, and Nessus.

Why choose Astra pentest?

1250+ tests, adherence to global security standards, an intuitive dashboard with dynamic visualization of vulnerabilities and their severity, security audit with simultaneous remediation assistance, and multiple rescans, are the features that give Astra an edge over all competitors.

This post is part of a series on penetration testing, you can also check out other articles below.

Chapter 1. What is Penetration Testing
Chapter 2. Different Types of Penetration Testing?
Chapter 3. Top 5 Penetration Testing Methodology to Follow in 2022
Chapter 4. Ten Best Penetration Testing Companies and Providers
Chapter 5. Best Penetration Testing Tools Pros Use – Top List
Chapter 6. A Super Easy Guide on Penetration Testing Compliance
Chapter 7. Average Penetration Testing Cost in 2022
Chapter 8. Penetration Testing Services – Top Rated
Chapter 9. Penetration Testing Report

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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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