Home Linux 15 Top Kali Linux Tools For Advanced Penetration Testing

15 Top Kali Linux Tools For Advanced Penetration Testing

Are you looking for the best Kali Linux tools? If yes, you have stumbled upon the right webpage. In this article, I am going to cover a list of the best Kali Linux tools.

So, without any further ado, let’s get started –

Kali Linux Tools – What do we know?💁

Kali Linux is one of the most popular and widely used operating systems for penetration testing and hacking. Even though it got popular amongst the general audience when they saw Kali Linux was practically used in the Mr. Robot series, it is not designed for general purposes.

Kali Linux is designed for people in the cybersecurity, analysis, and hacking industry, such as network analysts, penetration testers, hackers, and more.

Kali Linux is originally a Debian-derived Linux distro developed by Mati Aharoni and Devon Kearns, and currently, all the development of this tool is being managed by Offensive Security. However, due to its open-source nature, you can find many tweaked versions of Kali on the internet. You can even modify Kali to make it completely yours.

Kali Linux is such a popular operating system among hackers and security professionals because it has more than 600 pre-built penetration testing tools that can make the penetration testing process much faster. These tools not only let you automate the process and save time but also capture accurate essential data.

These tools can be categorized in a wide range of categories such as information gathering, wireless attacks, vulnerability analysis, web app penetration, exploitation tools, sniffing & spoofing tools, password attacks, and more. You can find the detailed list of these tools on Kali Linux’s official website.

One best thing about Kali Linux is that when you install it on your computer, it gets a very clean installation with very basic tools and a terminal. Even though there are over 600 tools, you won’t find them when you install Kali Linux. It happens so that your computer won’t get heavy with tools you won’t ever use.

Once you have installed Kali, you can use Kali Linux Metapackages to install a set of tools that you want to use. For example, if you are into wireless security and want tools to assess wireless security, you can install Kali and then use the kali-linux-wireless meta package only.

That said, if you are a beginner, you won’t need all of the Kali Linux tools installed on your system. This is the purpose of writing this article. This article has covered some of the best Kali Linux tools you can use, regardless of what metapackages they belong to.

So, here we go –

Best Kali Linux Tools – Our Top Pick👌👌

1. Nmap

Nmap, aka Network Mapper, is one of the most popular Kali Linux tools you can use. It is quite popular because it allows you to discover hosts and services on any computer network. Nmap does this by sending packets and then analyzing the responses it receives.

Best Kali Linux Tools
Nmap Provides Information on:

Nmap offers dozens of amazing features, including host discovery, port scanning, TCP/IP stack fingerprinting, version detection, and more. It even lets you write scripts to add more features, such as service detection, vulnerability detection, and more.

With such functionalities, Nmap can be used in various areas such as security auditing, identifying open ports, network mapping, network inventory, network asset management, finding and exploiting vulnerabilities, and more. It is a highly configurable tool, and you can make it completely yours with customized scripts.

Another good thing about Nmap is that it is not only available for Kali Linux. It is a Linux utility tool and can be installed on most Linux distros. On top of that, you can also find the ported versions of Nmap for Windows, macOS, and BSD.

How To Use Nmap in Kali Linux – A Practical Guide.
How Nmap really works // And how to catch it // Stealth scan vs TCP scan // Wireshark analysis

2. Lynis

Next, we have Lynis on our list. Like Nmap, Lynis is not limited to Kali Linux only and is available for macOS and Unix-based operating systems.

It can also be used on a variety of systems, such as Raspberry Pi, QNAP storage devices, IoT devices, etc. Sadly, it is not available for Windows, but let’s not talk about that since here we are talking only about the best Kali Linux tools.

Lynis is an open-source tool that came into existence in 2007 and can be used to serve different purposes such as security auditing, penetration testing, system hardening, vulnerability detection, compliance testing such as PCI, HIPAA, and more.

It can be used by a variety of professionals such as developers, testers, system administrators, security auditors, and more.

The scanning done using Lynis is modular and opportunistic. It thoroughly scans the components and tests them for vulnerabilities. There are over 300 security tests that you can perform using Lynis. The best thing is that these tests can be done with no dependencies, and the more system components it finds, the more thorough the auditing will be.

For example, let’s say you are using Nginx and want to scan and test it using Lynis. In the initial stage, Lynis will perform a thorough scan designed for Nginx, but it may discover SSL/TLS or other configurations during the scan. It will add additional steps to test that newly discovered configuration in that situation.

15 Top Kali Linux Tools For Advanced Penetration Testing

However, these scans can be tailored, and you can disable some specific tests. You can script some tests on your own to run self-created tests.

Besides that, you can use plugins to add additional test types that can help you collect additional and customized system information.

Lynis: How to find vulnerabilities and harden a system

3. Fierce

Fierce is a great, semi-lightweight tool for network mapping and port scanning. It is often used for locating non-contagious IP addresses and hostnames on a network. The best thing about Fierce is that it is far simpler to use than IP scanners and DDoS tools, making it a perfect Kali Linux tool for beginners.

Fierce is mainly designed to help corporate networks by allowing them to discover possible targets on their network system so that they can fix the issue before it causes any significant loss.

This Kali Linux tool is capable of scanning domains within a couple of minutes, making it a perfect tool to scan for vulnerabilities in a large computer network.

15 Top Kali Linux Tools For Advanced Penetration Testing
Run a default scan against the target domain (-dns example.com)

Some of the best features of Fierce include its ability to perform reverse lookups for a specified range, internal and external IP range scanning, examining DNS records, performing an entire Class C scan, nameserver discovery, and more. These are some reasons Fierce is a highly regarded tool amongst the Whitehat community.

Despite being such a powerful and effective tool, its working is quite simple. Once you have defined the target network, it will run several tests on the selected domains and retrieve all the valuable information. You can later use this information to analyze vulnerabilities and exploitations.

DNS Bruteforcing And Subdomain Enumeration With Fierce & Nmap

4. OpenVAS

OpenVAS, aka Open Vulnerability Assessment Scanner, is a fully featured vulnerability scanner developed by a team who is also responsible for one of the most famous vulnerability scanning tools, Nessus. However, unlike Nessus, OpenVAS is licensed under the GPL license, meaning it is free to use.

The best thing about OpenVAS is that it is capable of doing both authenticated as well as unauthenticated with various internet and industry protocols.

Currently, the OpenVAS engine comes with over 50K network vulnerability tests which can be used to perform any type of vulnerability and bug scans, even on a large scale.

Best Kali Linux Tools 3

In addition to that, it allows you to write your own vulnerability test and integrate it into OpenVAS. This Kali Linux tool can be very helpful for testing and exploring local and remote network vulnerabilities as it allows you to scan ports and map networks.

In addition to that, it supports the OpenVAS transfer protocol and fully integrates with SQL databases. You can easily export all your test results in a variety of file formats, including HTML, LateX, XML, and more. The tool is available for both Linux and Windows platforms.

5. Aircrack-ng

Aircrack-ng is one of the most popular and my favorite Kali Linux tools suite that allows you to assess the Wi-Fi network for its security and vulnerabilities. This suite consists of four major tools that include a packet sniffer, WEP and WPA PSK cracker, analyzing tool, and a hash capturing tool.

Unlike other tools that we mentioned in this list so far, Aircrack-ng is not only used to scan wireless networks and assess vulnerabilities but can also be used to attack the Wi-Fi network.

It allows you to perform various attacks such as dictionary attacks, replay attacks, de-authentication, fake access points, and more attacks that use packet injections.

15 Top Kali Linux Tools For Advanced Penetration Testing

Besides that, Aircrack-ng can also help you capture packages and decipher decryption keys. If you manage to decipher decryption keys, you can decrypt wireless traffic, which can give you access to a lot of stuff. Aircrack-ng is a CLI tool, allowing you heavy scripting to use it as per your needs.

It is primarily a Kali Linux tool but also works on Windows, macOS, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, Solaris, and other platforms.

This tool supports all modern wireless attacks, and therefore, if you are into a network or wireless security, I highly recommend making Aircrack-ng a part of your Kali Linux tools stack.

Advanced WiFi Scanning with Aircrack-NG

6. Nikto

Nikto, aka Nikto2, is an open-source web server scanner that lets you perform vulnerability tests on web servers to scan for various types of items such as dangerous files, programs, outdated versions of software, and more. This Kali Linux tool can also help you scan for server configuration errors and other vulnerabilities.

The best thing about Nikto is that it is completely a free and open-source Kali Linux tool, allowing you to modify it further if you want.

15 Top Kali Linux Tools For Advanced Penetration Testing

In addition, it is also one of the tools that are frequently updated with the testing capabilities for the latest discovered vulnerabilities. This makes it a perfect choice for scanning web servers so that you can protect them against attacks.

Currently, Nikto has a database of over 6700+ known web server-related vulnerabilities and lets you scan your web servers against them. Besides that, Nikto supports version checks for over 1250 web servers and can be used on almost any web server such as Apache, Nginx, LightSpeed, Lighttpd, and more.

It further supports host-based authentication, proxies, SSL encryption, and more. Once your scan is completed, you can export the test results in a variety of file formats, including CSV, TXT, HTML, XML, and others. It is written in Perl and can be used as a complementary tool to OpenVAS and other vulnerability scanners.

7. Wireshark

Next, we have Wireshark on our list. It is an open-source network protocol analyzing tool that supports Linux, Windows, OS X, and BSD platforms.

It is a great tool that lets you easily understand what’s happening inside your network at the microscopic level. This is one of the reasons it is widely popular amongst government agencies, educational institutions, and commercial and non-profit enterprises.

It is an open-source tool, meaning it is completely free. This project was originally introduced by Gerald Combs in 1998, and till now, thousands of people have contributed to this project.

So far, the team has introduced hundreds of deep inspections of protocols that can be done in no time, and more and more protocols are being added.

The best thing about Wireshark is that it offers a graphical user interface that makes it easy to apply filters and organize and manage captured data.

The GUI makes it less intimidating for beginners and allows them to analyze captured data. There is also a text-based version of Wireshark named tshark that offers similar functionalities but with a text-based UI.

Wireshark decryption supports various protocols such as IPsec, Kerberos, ISAKMP, SSL/TLS, WPA/WPA2, WEP, and SNMPv3. The GUI also supports coloring rules, making the analysis process much easier and faster.

On top of that, all the scan results can be exported in various file formats such as XML, CSV, plain text, PostScript, and more.

What Is Wireshark? | What Is Wireshark And How It Works? | Wireshark Tutorial 2021 | Simplilearn

8. WPScan

WordPress is one of the most popular and widely used CMS platforms. This CMS platform is open-source and is trusted by millions of developers across the globe. WordPress is so reliable as a CMS that even the White House uses it to host its official website.

Such massive popularity also attracts attackers and hackers. Therefore, conducting frequent audits of WordPress websites is essential, and WPScan can help you with that.

It is a free, non-commercialized WordPress security scanner tool that allows security professionals and website developers to scan their sites for security vulnerabilities.

WPScan is a CLI tool that uses a database of over 28,992 WordPress vulnerability tests and scans your websites against them.

It also helps you identify weak passwords associated with any of your registered users. It simply runs a brute force to see which account can be compromised using a dictionary attack.

15 Top Kali Linux Tools For Advanced Penetration Testing

With the help of this Kali Linux tool, you can scan your WordPress website’s theme and plugin files, databases, and more. On top of that, it receives frequent updates directly from WPvulndb.com, which keeps this tool updated with all known WordPress vulnerabilities.

9. Skipfish

Next, we have Skipfish on our list. Skipfish is similar to WPScan as it helps you scan web applications for vulnerabilities, but unlike WPScan, Skipfish isn’t only focused on WordPress. Instead, it can help you scan almost all types of web-based applications very easily for vulnerabilities.

Skipfish is quite a powerful and very fast Kali Linux tool capable of running up to 500 requests per second against internet-based targets, over 2000 requests per second on LAN, and up to 7000 requests against local instances. This shows how powerful this tool is.

This Kali Linux tool performs repeating crawling and dictionary-based tests on your website URLs and creates a digital map of security checks performed so far and their results. Once the scan completes, Skipfish produces a final report which can be assessed by security professionals to ensure the security of their web application.

Best Kali Linux Tools 6
Using the given directory for output (-o 202), scan the web application URL (http://192.168.1.202/wordpress)

Skipfish can be used to scan your web application against various high-risk flaws that include server-side query injection, explicit SQL-like syntax in GET or POST parameters, server-side shell command injection, format string vulnerabilities, and more.

10. CMSMap

CMSMap is another web-app scanning tool for Kali Linux, but unlike WPScan and Skipfish, it mainly focuses on the top four most popular CMS platforms, including WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, and Moodle. It is one of the most popular CMS vulnerability detection tools.

The thing that I like about CMSMap is that it is completely open-source, unlike WPScan, and is written in Python. This makes it a perfect choice for automating the process of vulnerability and loopholes scanning in any of these CMS platforms.

On top of that, due to its open-source nature, you can modify the source code and make this tool completely yours with custom scripts.

CMSMap runs multiple scans for all known threats, which makes it a handy tool for detecting security flaws. In addition, it can also be used to run brute force attacks to see how strong your passwords are. You can even launch exploits using this tool once it finds any vulnerability.

Basically, CMSMap is not just a tool to identify security flaws but can also be used to attack targets. It supports SSL encryption and verbose mode to debug known issues. Once it generates a report, you can export it in a text file to further analyze it.

11. Metasploit Framework

Metasploit Framework is one of the most popular and widely used penetration testing frameworks. It is a Ruby-based framework used to create, test, and execute exploits against remotely located hosts. This Kali Linux tool is released under a BSD-style license, meaning you will have access to the tool.

Metasploit offers an open-source tool that is freely available for all users and can be modified as they want. Besides that, there is a commercial version of the tool that comes with some additional in-built features such as network discovery, basic exploitation, integration via remote API, a bunch of automation and infiltration features, and more.

Metasploit Demo of MS17-010 EternalSynergy + EternalRomance + EternalChampion

There is no doubt that the commercial tool is great for penetration testing, but that doesn’t mean you cannot do much with the open-source version of Metasploit.

It offers you access to a bunch of security tools that can be used for testing, such as finding targets, launching scans, exploiting security flaws, collecting available data, and more.

The free version of Metasploit Framework is quite powerful, and arguably, I can say that it is one of the best security auditing and penetration testing tools that are freely available. Along with Kali Linux, Metasploit can be installed on other Linux distributions as well as Windows computers.

12. John the Ripper

John the Ripper is one of the most popular multi-platform cryptography testing tools. It is available for a total of 15 different platforms, including Linux, Unix, Windows, macOS, and OpenVMS. It is released under GNU General Public License along with a proprietary version.

For most people, the free version of this Kali Linux tool is going to be more than sufficient. However, if you want additional features such as support for additional hash types such as DES-based Unix crypt(3), bigcrypt, Kerberos AFS DES-based hashes, and more, the proprietary version might be a worthy choice.

That said, the free version of John the Ripper is quite powerful as it combines several password crackers and breaking programs into a single package. Further, it can auto-detect hash types and includes a highly configurable cracker that can be run against several encrypted password formats.

The most common password cracking methods of John the Ripper include dictionary attacks and brute force attacks. Besides that, it automatically changes the decryption method, as per the detected algorithm, which makes the entire process automatic.

In addition, John the Ripper lets you define custom letters and words for building a list for dictionary attacks. Similarly, it lets you configure brute force rules.

Passwords: Am i a joke to you?

13. Kismet Wireless

Next, we have Kismet Wireless on our list. This is an awesome Kali Linux tool that can be used to detect wireless networks and devices, sniffing, wardriving, and wireless intrusion detection. Kismet Wireless works best with Wi-Fi interfaces, Bluetooth interfaces, SDR hardware such as RTLSDR, as well as other specialized capture hardware.

The best thing about Kismet Wireless is that it can be used for almost any wireless card that supports raw monitoring mode. Besides that, it can be used to sniff traffic from 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, and 802.11n networks.

It is a multi-platform tool and runs flawlessly on Linux, macOS, OpenBSD, FreeBSD, and other platforms. It can also be used in the Windows platform, but only one supported hardware is available for Windows as a packet source.

Some of the best features of Kismet Wireless include its ability to run in passive mode, easy and fast detection of wireless clients and their access points, intrusion detection system, network logging, channel hopping, and scan wireless encryption level of any given access point.

Wireless Hacking #5 (Kismet Lab)

14. Social Engineering Toolkit

Social Engineering is one of the most common and widely used techniques in information security. This technique exploits human errors to gain their personal information, such as their contact number, location, and more which can help you in various ways.

This Social Engineering Toolkit actually helps you kickstart and automate this process. It is an open-source python-based penetration testing framework originally written by David Kennedy, the founder of TrustedSec.

This Social Engineering Toolkit allows you to launch various types of attacks, such as Wi-Fi AP-based attacks that allow you to redirect or intercept packets from various users who are using our Wi-Fi network. Besides that, you can also launch SMS and email attacks that trick your victim into entering their account credentials.

This toolkit also makes it easy to create web-based attacks such as DNS spoofing and phishing. Lastly, it lets you create payloads very easily. It also lets you integrate with other third-party modules, making it one of the most configurable and best social engineering tools for Kali Linux.

Phishing attacks are SCARY easy to do!! (let me show you!) // FREE Security+ // EP 2

15. BeEF

Next, we have BeEF on our list. BeEF stands for Browser Exploitation Framework, and it is a very powerful tool that allows you to scan browser vulnerabilities and flaws which can be used to exploit the host. BeEF uses JavaScript, making injecting codes to vulnerable pages easier.

Unlike other security tools, BeEF mainly looks for browser-side vulnerabilities. Once it finds exploitability, it lets you create beachheads that can be used to launch directed command modules and further attack the system of the victims.

BeEF RESTful API Demo

Some of the main features of BeEF include Metasploit integration, interprocess communication & exploitation, host & network reconnaissance, history gathering & intelligence, and browser plugin detection. You can have BeEF on your Linux or macOS machine. However, it is not available for Windows OS.

Closing Comments

There you have it – a list of the best Kali Linux tools.

Kali Linux is arguably the best operating system for hacking and penetration testing. It offers a massive collection of tools that makes it easier to test, hack, and perform almost any task related to digital forensics.

Whether you are planning to be a hacker, security professional, or just a normal person who wants to save himself from getting hacked, Kali Linux is the way to go.

Even though you can perform most of the tasks without using any Kali Linux tools, these tools can help you automate the most time-consuming processes in hacking or penetration testing. In addition, these tools will also help you increase your efficiency and save a lot of your time and effort.