15 Best Ethical Hacking Tools & Their Uses – 2021

Before the availability of Ethical Hacking tools, only a handful of security professionals could perform penetration testing. Anyone can now report security incidents. You can scan, search, and find vulnerabilities in any company’s systems to make them more secure.

What are Hacking Tools?

Hacking tools are programs and scripts that allow you to find and exploit vulnerabilities in computers, web applications, servers, and networks. Many such tools on the market can be downloaded for ethical hacking. Some are free, while others require a commercial license.

Are Hacking Tools legal to use?

It is legal to use hacking tools for Whitehat hacking. Before attempting a penetration attack, it is essential to get written permission from the target website or make sure you own and manage the target environment. Any hacking attempt, no matter how well-intentioned, could land you in trouble if proper permissions have not been obtained.

15 Best Ethical Hacking Tools

1) Metasploit

Metasploit allows cyber-security professionals to use a variety of penetration testing tools to find remote software vulnerabilities. It can also be used as a platform for exploit module development.

The Metasploit Framework is one of the most well-known results of the Metasploit project. It was written in Ruby and allows you to develop, test, and execute exploits easily. It includes security tools that you can use to:

  • Evade detection systems
  • Perform security vulnerability scans
  • Remote attack execution
  • Networks and host enumeration

Metasploit has three versions of its software.

  • Pro: Ideal for professional penetration testing and IT security teams.
  • Community: Ideal for small companies and students studying information security.
  • Framework: Idea for app developers and security researchers.

These platforms are supported:

  • Mac OS X
  • Linux
  • Windows

2) Netsparker

Netsparker can scan your web applications for vulnerabilities and automatically detect SQL Injection and XSS. It can be used on-premises or as a SAAS solution.


  • The unique Proof-Based Scanning technology can detect vulnerabilities accurately.
  • Only minimal configuration is required. The scanner detects URL rewrite rules and custom 404 error pages.
  • REST API allows seamless integration with SDLC, bug tracking systems, etc.
  • Fully scalable solution. In just 24 hours, you can scan 1,000 web applications.

3) John The Ripper

John the Ripper has been one of the most sought-after password crackers in history. It is also one of the most trusted security tools to audit your operating system or test your password strength.

This password cracker can automatically detect the type of encryption in any password and change its password test algorithm accordingly. It is one of the most sophisticated password cracking tools available.

This ethical hacking tool uses brute-force technology to crack passwords and algorithms such as:

  • DES, MD5, Blowfish
  • Kerberos AFS
  • MD4, LDAP, and MySQL (using third party modules)

John The Ripper is also open-source, multi-platform, and fully accessible for Mac, Linux, and Windows.

4) Acunetix

Acunetix automates ethical hacking and mimics a hacker in order to stay one step ahead of malicious intruders. The web application security scanner scans HTML5, JavaScript, and Single-page applications. It can authenticate complex web apps and issue compliance and management reports about a variety of network and web vulnerabilities.


  • Scans for all versions of SQL Injection, XSS, and 4500+ additional vulnerabilities
  • Over 1200 WordPress plugin, theme, and core vulnerabilities detected
  • Rapid & Scalable – Crawls hundreds of thousands without interruptions
  • Integration with Issue Trackers and popular WAFs to assist in the SDLC
  • Available on Premises as well as in the Cloud.

5) Nmap

Nmap is an open-source security tool that infosec professionals use to audit and manage OS and network security on remote and local hosts. It is a popular tool in the hackers’ toolkit.

It is one of the oldest security tools, but it is still actively updated and receives improvements each year.

It is also known as one of the most efficient network mappers, and it is well-known for its speed and ability to deliver thorough results in any security investigation.


  • Audit device security
  • Remote hosts can be detected with open ports
  • Network enumeration and mapping
  • Find weaknesses in any network
  • Massive DNS queries can be launched against subdomains and domains

These platforms are supported:

  • Mac OS X
  • Solaris, OpenBSD, and Linux
  • Microsoft Windows

6) Traceroute NG

Traceroute NG allows you to analyze network paths. This software can identify hostnames, IP addresses, and packet loss. This software provides precise analysis via a command-line interface.


  • It provides both TCP and ICMP network path analysis.
  • Both IP4 and IPV6 support.
  • Notify you when there are path changes
  • Permits continuous probing of the network.

7) Wireshark

Wireshark is a free, open-source program that allows you to monitor network traffic in real-time. Wireshark’s sniffing technology is well-known for its ability to detect security issues in any network and for its ability to solve general networking problems.

You can sniff the network and intercept and interpret its results. This makes it easier to spot potential problems, such as low latency, threats, and vulnerabilities.


  • Analyzes for offline inspection saved
  • Packet browser
  • A powerful GUI
  • Rich VoIP analysis
  • Decompresses and inspects gzip files
  • Other capture file formats can be read, including Sniffer Pro and tcpdump(libpcap), Microsoft network monitor, Cisco Secure IDS log, etc.
  • Ethernet, IEEE 802.11, PPP/HDLC ATM, Bluetooth, USB Token Ring Frame Relay FDDI.
  • Protocol decryption can include but is not limited to IPsec, ISAKMP, and Kerberos as well as SSL/TLS, WEP, and WPA/WPA2
  • You can export your results to XML or PostScript, CSV, or plain text.

Wireshark supports over 2000 network protocols and is compatible with all major operating systems, including:

  • Linux
  • Windows
  • Mac OS X
  • FreeBSD and NetBSD.

8) SolarWinds Security Event Manager

SolarWinds Security Manager can help you improve your computer security. This program can detect and monitor threats, protect your network, and set security policies. SolarWinds allows you to easily keep track of log files and receive alerts when anything suspicious occurs.


  • This network security software includes integrity monitoring.
  • This SIEM tool is the best and most useful. It allows you to manage your memory sticks storage.
  • It features a simple user interface and dashboard.
  • SolarWinds includes integrated compliance reporting tools.
  • It features a central log collection.
  • This tool is faster to detect and respond to threats.

9) OpenVAS

OpenVAS, also known as the “Nessus,” is an open-source network scanner that detects remote vulnerabilities on any host. It is a well-known network vulnerability scanner and is very popular with system administrators, DevOps professionals, and infosec professionals.


  • Web-based interface with powerful features
  • Over 50,000 Network Vulnerability Tests
  • Multiple simultaneous host scanning
  • Ability to stop, pause, and resume scanning tasks
  • False-positive management
  • Scheduled scans
  • Statistics and graphics generation
  • You can export your results as plain text, XML, or HTML.
  • Powerful CLI available
  • Fully integrated with Nagios monitoring program

Its web-based interface makes it easy to run on any operating system. However, a CLI can also be used and works well with Linux, Unix, and Windows operating systems.

There is a free and commercial version of this program.

10) Burp Suite

Burp Suite can be used to perform Security Tests on web applications. The various hacker tools are seamlessly integrated to support the whole pen testing process. This covers everything from initial mapping to analysis of the attack surface for an application.


It’s one of the most powerful hacking tools, able to detect more than 3000 vulnerabilities in web applications.

  • Open-source and custom-built software can be scanned
  • A simple to use Login Sequence Recorder permits automatic scanning
  • With built-in vulnerability management, you can review vulnerability data.
  • You can quickly provide a wide range of technical and compliance reporting
  • With 100% accuracy, detect critical vulnerabilities
  • Automated crawling and scanning
  • It is one the most powerful hackers tools, with advanced scanning features for manual testers
  • Innovative scanning logic

11) Nikto

Nikto, another favorite in the hackers’ toolkit, is well-known for being part of the Kali Linux Distribution. Fedora and other popular Linux distributions already have Nikto in their software repositories.

This security tool can scan web servers and run different tests against remote hosts. The command-line interface is very simple and makes it easy to conduct vulnerability testing against any target.


  • Detect default installation files for any OS
  • Software applications that are no longer supported by the system can be detected.
  • Runs XSS vulnerability testing
  • Launches dictionary-based brute-force attacks
  • You can export your results as plain text, CSV, or HTML files
  • Intrusion detection system evasion using LibWhisker
  • Integration with Metasploit Framework

12) Ettercap

Ettercap can be used as an ethical hacking tool. It allows active and passive dissection and includes features that allow for network and host analysis.


  • It is one of the most useful hacker tools, as it supports both active and passive dissections of many protocols
  • includes ARP poisoning feature that allows you to sniff on switched LANs between two hosts
  • While maintaining a live connection, characters can be injected into a server or client.
  • Ettercap can sniff an SSH connection in full-duplex
  • It is one of the most powerful hacker tools, allowing you to sniff HTTP SSL secure data even if the proxy is used.
  • You can create custom plugins with Ettercap’s API.

13) SQLMap

sqlmap is a Python-based cyber-security tool that allows security researchers to run SQL code injection tests against remote hosts. SQLMap allows you to detect and test and report various SQL-based vulnerabilities.

It offers SQL injection techniques that include:

  • UNION query-based
  • Blind that is time-based
  • boolean-based blind
  • Error-based
  • stacked queries
  • Out-of-band


  • Multiple database server support
  • Automated code injection capabilities
  • Password hash recognition
  • Dictionary-based password cracking
  • User enumeration
  • Password hashes
  • View user privileges and database information
  • Database user privilege escalation
  • Information about the dump table
  • Remote SQL SELECTS

14) Aircrack

Aircrack has been rated as one of the most reliable and ethical hacking tools on the market. It can crack vulnerable wireless connections. This hacking tool uses WEP WPA2 and WPA2 encryption keys.


  • Supported cards/drivers:
  • All OS and Platforms Support
  • New WEP attack: PTW
  • Supports WEP dictionary attack
  • Supports Fragmentation attack
  • Significantly improved tracking speed 

15) Maltego

Maltego can be used to gather intel and data reconnaissance, while you are performing your first analysis of your target.

It can also be used to determine and correlate relationships between names, numbers, emails addresses, companies, organizations, and profiles on social networks.

It can be used in conjunction with online resources such as Whois data, DNS records, and social networks.


  • GUI-based interface
  • Up to 10.000 entities can be analyzed per graph
  • Extended correlation capabilities
  • Real-time data sharing
  • Generator for correlated data graphics
  • Export graphs to GraphML
  • Generate entity lists
  • You can copy and paste information

This application is compatible with Windows, Linux, Mac OS, and Mac OS. Java 1.8 and higher is required.


Hacking is changing rapidly, and automated tools make ethical penetration testing faster, more reliable, and easier. Reporting and penetration testing are now crucial in identifying security flaws within remote or local software. This allows company owners to prevent these vulnerabilities from spreading all over their network.

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