Tools required for ethical hacking in Kali Linux?

Kali Linux, formerly BackTrack Linux, is an open-source Debian-based Linux distribution that aims to perform advanced Penetration Testing and Security Auditing. Kali Linux includes hundreds of tools that can be used to tackle various information security tasks such as Penetration Testing and Security Research. Kali Linux is an open-source multiplatform solution that is freely accessible to professionals and hobbyists in information security.

Kali Linux was officially released on the 13th of March 2013 as a complete rebuild of BackTrack Linux, adhering completely to Debian development standards.

One of the most advantageous features of Kali Linux is its hundreds of pre-installed tools that can be used for various cybersecurity-related tasks. Kali Linux includes over 600 tools for cybersecurity and penetration testing. Offensive Security constantly updates the Kali distro.

The rise in Kali Linux’s popularity amongst cybersecurity professionals is because it includes many tools and is free. It has become a vital part of the cybersecurity industry.

Let us go over the list of tools required for ethical hacking in Kali Linux that will be extremely helpful to you as a cybersecurity professional or student.

1. Metasploit Framework

Cybercriminals and ethical hackers can use the Metasploit framework to find systemic vulnerabilities in networks and servers. It is open-source and can be customized to fit any operating system.

Metasploit allows pen testers to use either pre-made or custom code and then introduce it into a network to find weak spots. Another flavor of threat hunting is Metasploit. Once flaws have been identified and documented, this information can be used to address systemic weaknesses and prioritize solutions.

Metasploit Framework

4shadoww, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Metasploit now contains more than 1677 exploits across 25 platforms, including Android, PHP, Java, Python, and more. It also includes nearly 500 payloads.

Metasploit provides (7) types of modules which include:

  • exploits
  • payloads
  • auxiliary
  • encoders
  • post
  • nops
  • evasion

2. Wireshark

Wireshark is an extremely popular network protocol analyzer application that captures packets over a network connection such as your computer to your home or the internet.It is the most widely used packet sniffer.

ethical hacking in Kali Linux

Wireshark Team, GPL <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Wireshark performs three functions, just like any other packet sniffer.

  1. Packet Capture: Wireshark listens in real-time to network connections and then grabs whole streams of traffic, possibly thousands at a given time.
  2. Filtering: Wireshark can slice and dice all this random live data with filters. Filters allow you to get the information you want.
  3. Visualization: Like any packet sniffer, Wireshark allows you to get right in the middle of a network packet. You can also visualize entire conversations or network streams.

Cybersecurity professionals use Wireshark to view suspicious transactions, trace connections and identify bursts in network traffic.

3. Nmap

Network Mapper (or Nmap) is an open-source tool that allows network discovery and vulnerability scanning. Network administrators use Nmap to discover what devices are running on their networks, find available hosts, and determine security risks.

Nmap can be used for monitoring single hosts or large networks with hundreds of thousands of devices.

Nmap has grown over the years to be extremely flexible. It sends raw packets to system ports, gathering information. It listens for replies and determines if ports are open, close, or filtered by firewalls.

Tools required for ethical

nmap 4.03 guessing the operating system of a Linux 2.6.15 and an ADSL router 3Com OfficeConnect 812 Author: myself (Daniel Clemente). License: GFDL

Nmap checks a network for hosts or services. Once a network is found, Nmap sends information to the hosts and services that then reply. Nmap interprets the responses and creates a network map. The created map includes information about each port, who is using it, how they connect to the firewall, what is making it through, and any security concerns.

Nmap uses a complex set of scripts to communicate with all parts of the network. These scripts are communication tools between network components and human users. Nmap’s scripts are capable of network discovery, vulnerability detection, backdoor detection, and vulnerability exploitation. Nmap is a powerful piece of software. However, it requires a lot of background knowledge to use properly.

Internet security companies can use Nmap to scan a system for vulnerabilities that hackers could exploit. It is free and open-source, making it one of the most popular tools for scanning networks for vulnerabilities and open ports.

4. Burp Suite

Burp Suite is a Java-based Web Penetration Testing Framework. It is a standard set of tools that information security professionals use to help them identify and verify vulnerabilities that could be affecting web applications.

Mvb71, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

It acts as a proxy, and all requests made by the browser through the proxy are passed through it. The Burp Suite allows the user to modify requests as needed as they pass through it. It is very useful for testing web vulnerabilities such as XSS and SQLi and other issues.

5. aircrack-ng

Aircrack-ng provides a comprehensive suite of tools for assessing WiFi network security.

Aircrack-ng, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

It covers different aspects of WiFi security.

  • Monitoring: Data capture from packets and export to text files. Third-party tools can further process the data.
  • Attacks: Deauthentication, replay attacks, fake access points, and other packet injection techniques.
  • Testing: Test WiFi cards and driver capabilities (capture, injection).
  • Cracking: WEP PSK and WPA PSK (WPA 1 and 2).

6. Netcat

Netcat, also known as ‘nc’ or ‘Swiss Army Knife’ is a network utility that can be used to read or write from TCP sockets and UDP sockets via a straightforward interface. Netcat is a reliable ‘back-end device.’ It can be easily or directly driven by scripts and programs. Netcat is a popular tool amongst network administrators, programmers, and pen-testers because it offers a rich feature set for network investigation and debugging.


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The program also allows you to transfer files across the network without needing an FTP server, HTTP, or another service that allows data transmission. Netcat enables you to copy large and small files, even full partitions, very quickly.

7. John The Ripper

John the Ripper is a password cracking tool that is pre-installed on Kali Linux. It is designed to crack passwords using dictionary attacks, brute force encrypted passwords, perform password strength tests.

It was originally developed for Unix but can be used on many platforms.

John The Ripper

Амгаланзул, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

It supports many common encryption technologies for Windows and UNIX-based systems. It automatically detects the encryption of the hashed data, compares it with a large plain text file that contains popular passwords, and stops it when it finds a match.

John The Ripper also has its own wordlists with common passwords for more than 20 languages. These wordlists give it thousands of password options from which to generate hash values that can be used to guess the target password. The out-of-the-box wordlists of passwords are often effective because most people choose simple passwords.

8. sqlmap

sqlmap, an open-source penetration testing tool, automates detecting and exploiting SQL injection flaws on database servers. It has a powerful detection engine and many unique features that make it the ultimate penetration testing tool. Other features include database fingerprinting, data fetching from the databases, accessing the underlying file systems, and running commands on the operating system via outside-of-band connections.

Abhishek Morkhade, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

It is one of the most powerful tools for performing SQL injection attacks. It automates both the testing of SQL injection parameters and the exploitation of vulnerable parameters. It’s a powerful tool because it automatically detects the database. We only need to give a URL to verify that the parameter in the URL is vulnerable.

9. Autopsy

Autopsy is a digital forensics platform that is used by the military, law enforcement, and corporate investigators to investigate what happened on a computer. It can also be used to retrieve photos from your camera’s card memory.

10. Social Engineering Toolkit

Social Engineering Toolkit

Piunixwu, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

The Social-Engineer Toolkit, also known as SET, is an open-source penetration testing framework designed for social engineering attacks. SET offers various attack vectors that allow the user to create a convincing attack in a fraction of time. These tools manipulate users into the attack vector by taking advantage of expected human behavior.


Kali Linux is a feature-rich tool with tons of free tools. As a beginner, you may find the variety of available tools a little overwhelming. Take your time and learn the tools. Try to focus on one tool at a time and slowly work your way up.

Never use Kali Linux tools against systems that aren’t authorized. You can practice your skills on a variety of legal systems. Our program provides students with detailed, step-by-step instructions on installing and configuring a safe platform to practice all their hacking skills.

All of the tools you require as a beginner are available for free. Learning cybersecurity requires a significant investment of time and effort.

Hope you liked this article on the Tools required for ethical hacking in Kali Linux.

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