List of Pentest Tools

Page last edited 309 days 3 hours ago by Phmadore

Those looking to get into hacking or simply interested in verifying their own security status may be interested to know what tools are presently available to them. What follows is an incomplete list of penetration testing tools. Please feel free to make any additions or corrections by creating an account and editing this page.


An outdated screenshot of Aircrack-ng on Windows courtesy of Wikipedia.
Aircrack-ng is a widely used tool for wardriving and wireless network security testing. It is a command-line program which enables the user to easily scan local wireless networks and dump information if it manages to crack a viable key. As more and more networks have WEP security by default, Aircrck-ng has become increasingly useful to those without their own internet connections.

For white hat purposes the tool can be used to ensure that a wireless network is as strong as it can be.

Aircrack-ng comes with several other tools that will be helpful, including airodump-ng, which scans for networks, and can optionally output the data to a local file. For beginning penetration testers, Aircrack-ng is presently a must-have tool. Luckily, like most, if not all, of the tools on this list, it will be free to acquire, modify, and use.


The author gathering the WEP key of a local neighbor with "Buyaown" as network SSID using aircrack-ng.

BackBox is another Linux distribution with similar aims as Kali Linux, but based on Debian derivative Ubuntu and using the XFCE desktop environment.

BackBox maintains an actively audited Launchpad repository which theoretically allows any users of the Ubuntu ecosystem to make use of the most up-to-date Linux-based security tools.

Kali Linux

Based on Debian, one of the oldest and most trusted Linux distributions, Kali Linux is an open source project that is maintained and funded by Offensive Security, a firm which holds the philosophy "only real way to achieve sound defensive security is through an offensive mindset and approach."

Like all good security tools, Kali is open-source, meaning you are free to audit the code as well as modify it for your own purposes. Kali's own documentation describes it as a "top-to-bottom rebuild of BackTrack Linux, adhering completely to Debian development standards."

Kali comes packed with the following utilities, all of which can be ported and used on other systems. Some of these tools are discussed independently elsewhere in this article.


Whonix Logo.png
Whonix is another security-focused Linux distribution built on Debian. Importantly, it is less focused on penetration testing and hacking, and more focused on user security and privacy.

Whonix uses two separate virtual images and has an interesting method of networking in which virtual network devices and Tor are used. One aspect where this is beneficial is that user applications are ignorant of the actual IP address of the device they're operating on, limiting the ability of man in the middle attacks and making packet sniffing significantly more difficult.

Whonix is compatible with Qubes, a popular operating system which focuses on managing division between users, devices, networking, and application in a way that provides maximum security.


One of the most referenced and oldest network analysis tools is Wireshark, which allows the user to know what is going on in a given network, in real-time. While many packages are encrypted these days, the tool can be useful for determining the presence of unauthorized devices, open ports, and so on. Here is what it looks like in action:

Wireshark is easy to use and, as shown, quick to learn. The project itself describes Wireshark as "the world's foremost network protocol analyzer. It lets you see what's happening on your network at a microscopic level. It is the de facto (and often de jure) standard across many industries and educational institutions. "

Wireshark is sponsored by Riverbed, a software development firm. It has been actively developed since 1998. Currently the project also offers products, including a WiFi analysis module called the AirpCap and a local network appliance called SteelCentral. These products are intended for professionals specialized in network security, but a hobbyist or hacker could certainly make use of them as well.

Installing Wireshark on most Linux distributions is a matter of keystrokes. For instance, in an Ubuntu-based environment, one need only type:

sudo apt-get install wireshark

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