Last week we understudy the attackers’ weapons and tools in cyberspace. We also looked at what a cyber weapon looks like. Although we did not dive deep into the tools used by a cybercriminal, however, we were able to look at the operating system most cybercriminals will have to be able to carry out their criminal activities in cyberspace. We were able to explain some of the reasons the tool is very important for both cybercriminals and ethical hackers.
Today we will be digging deep into the Kali Linux operating system by studying ten (10) topmost tools that are required for effective penetration testing or hacking. Why most person prefers the kali Linux operating system is because the operating system comes with over 600 preinstalled application or tools, from which we will be reviewing the top most popular and used tools.
First on my list is Nmap. Nmap is the most popular tool that comes preinstalled in Kali-Linux OS. It has a command-line interface and a graphical user interface. The graphical user interface is called Zenmap. For the sake of the article, Nmap and Zenmap mean the same thing. The full mean of Nmap is network mapper and it is an open-source network scanner that was created by Gordon Lyon. Cybercriminals and ethical hackers use Nmap to scan IP addresses, discover the operating system, understand a network map, check for ports that are opened or closed on a certain IP address or system. It can also be used to check services that are running on certain ports and check if a certain IP address is live or not.
Nmap has an advanced feature known as Nmap Script Engine (NSE). The Nmap Script Engine expands the original objective of Nmap to accommodate new features without upgrading the tools. With the NSE, users are now able to gather more information regarding a system. The Nmap Script Engine has induced the possibility of systems and users enumeration, vulnerability check, and even brute-forcing.
Another tool that is also as popular as Nmap is the Metasploit Framework. The Metasploit framework was developed and maintained by Rapid7, a Boston, Massachusetts- based security company. It is a computer security tool used mainly for attack purposes and information gathering. It has different modules that function in different capacities. For example, the auxiliary module can be used for general checks and information gathering, while the exploit module can be used to exploit certain corresponding vulnerabilities against a remote system. Another module is the evasion module which is used mainly for evasion of security defense systems such as intrusion detection system, intrusion prevention system, firewalls, antivirus, etc. and the payload modules are a collection of scripts that ensures cybercriminals can interact with a remote system after a successful exploit.
Next is Wireshark, a network-based traffic monitoring and sniffing tool. This tool is also an open-source packet analyzer, used for troubleshooting of network, analyzing of network and communications protocol. With this tool, cybercriminals can sniff traffic on Local Area Network (LAN), Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN), GSM, Wifi, and Bluetooth. Once traffic is sniffed from an unencrypted connection, the criminals will be able to get important information from a target in clear or plain text. This information can be credentials or logging details, credit/debit card details, etc. The Wireshark comes preinstalled on Kali Linux, however, it can be installed on other operation systems, including the Windows operating system.
Moving forward, now that we are moving into a wireless generation where wireless Lan, MiFi, and wireless hotspots are becoming access route to internet connectivity, we must secure our wireless connection with the right credentials and technology. While we are trying our best to secure our wifi hotspot, cybercriminals are using tools like Aircrack-ng to crack passwords and credentials of WiFi hotspots. Aircrack-ng is a complete suite of tools to assess WiFi network security. It is used to sniff packets and detect credentials of Wifi Hotspot using any of the available standards such as WEP and WPA/WPA2-PSK. Beyond sniffing the packet, it can also crack passwords for WiFi with unknown credentials. Security professionals also use this same tool to audit wireless networks for better security.
Finally, among the top five (5) most popular tools that come preinstalled on Kali-Linux is the Social Engineering Tool Kit (SET). The product of this tool is well known by most email users because we receive emails that generally try manipulating us to reveal certain information that may be detrimental to our person or organization. The Social Engineering Tool is used mainly for phishing attacks, cloning of websites, generating of payloads that can be sent to targets, etc. This tool is a very important tool for credential harvesting by cybercriminals.
While these are the top five (5) tools I consider popular and comes preinstalled on Kali-Linux which is a Linux Operation system, there are so many more tools that are very important to both a computer security professional and cybercriminal as long as Kali-Linux is concerned. Sadly, most of the tools are available for free as open-source, this makes the fight against cybercrime very difficult, especially now that the country is navigating into a digital economy.