10 Best Penetration Testing Tools: Functions and Features

Penetration testing is an important activity in cyber security. It ensures that businesses do not fall prey to mass attacks due to vulnerabilities hidden within their systems. Regardless of the shape and size of your internet-facing business, it is recommended that you enlist the help of professional pentesters at least once a quarter to keep a clean security posture. But there are always questions like which is the best penetration testing tool, which vendor to trust, or what certification to get. Do not worry, we have answers.

What is penetration testing?

Penetration testing is the process of launching a hacker-like attack on a target system to find vulnerabilities that could be exploited by real attackers. The goal is not to crash the system or steal data, but to find and report holes in the system's defenses.

There are two types of penetration tests: black box and white box. In a black-box test, the pentester does not have any prior knowledge of the system. They must rely solely on what they can discover through public information sources such as the company website, job postings, and the like. In a white-box test, the pentester has full knowledge of the system. This includes access to source code, network diagrams, and more.

Most penetration tests are a mix of both black-box and white-box testing. The tester will start with public information to get an idea of the system, then move on to more detailed knowledge if it is available.

Why is penetration testing important?

The importance of penetration testing for business has three aspects.

  1. finding and closing security gaps
  2. Attaining compliance with industry regulations
  3. Building trust among customers

A good pentest partner will help you with all three.

How often should I do penetration testing?

The best practice is to do penetration testing at least once a quarter. This way you can find and fix vulnerabilities before they are exploited. Many companies wait until they have been breached before they start thinking about security, but by then it is too late.

Top 10 best penetration testing tools for your business

Astra Pentest: A comprehensive tool for vulnerability assessment and penetration testing with an intuitive vulnerability management dashboard, continuous testing, and compliance reporting features.

Key features of Astra Pentest

  • CI/CD integration for continuous automated testing
  • Scan behind the logged-in pages
  • 0 false positives ensured by manual pentesters
  • Detection of business logic errors and payment manipulation hacks
  • In-call remediation support from security experts

Nessus: A vulnerability scanner that can identify and assess the security of systems. It is available in both free and paid versions.

Key features of Nessus

  • Agentless scanning
  • Comprehensive reporting
  • Integration with third-party tools
  • Remote scanning
  • Scheduled scans.

Netsparker: A web application security scanner that can automatically find and report vulnerabilities

Key features of Netsparker

  • Automatic detection of vulnerabilities
  • Reporting of false positives
  • Integration with bug trackers
  • Dedicated desktop and cloud-based versions

Acunetix: A web application security scanner that includes a wide range of features such as SQL injection and XSS detection.

Key features of Acunetix

  • SQL injection detection
  • XSS detection
  • Crawling of website content
  • Reporting of false positives
  • Dedicated desktop and cloud-based versions

Wireshark: A network analysis tool that can be used for troubleshooting, analysis, software, communications protocol development, and education.

Key features of Wireshark

  • Capturing of live data from multiple networks
  • Analysis of data with filters
  • Graphical representation of data
  • Exporting data in multiple formats

Metasploit: A framework for developing and executing exploit code. It is available in both free and paid versions.

Key features of Metasploit

  • Exploit development
  • Remote system exploitation
  • Payload creation
  • Integration with third-party tools

Burp Suite: A web application security testing suite that includes a number of different tools such as an intercepting proxy, a web application scanner, and more.

Key features of Burp Suite

  • Intercepting proxy
  • Web application scanner
  • Repeater tool
  • Intruder tool
  • Extensibility through plugins

OWASP ZAP: A web application security scanner that is available in both free and paid versions.

Key features of OWASP ZAP

  • Interactive user interface
  • Automatic crawling of websites
  • Active and passive scanning
  • Reporting of false positives

Shodan: A search engine for finding devices and systems connected to the internet.

Key features of Shodan

  • Device identification
  • Service identification
  • Vulnerability assessment

Nikto: An open-source web server scanner that can be used to identify potential problems such as outdated software versions.

Key features of Nikto

  • Fast scanning speed
  • Low false positive rate
  • Can scan behind firewalls

As you can see, there are many different types of penetration testing tools available, each with its own unique features. The best way to find the right tool for your business is to partner with a reputable pentesting company that has experience with a variety of tools and can help you choose the best one for your needs.


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Varsha Paul

Marketing Spcialist, Astra Security

@varshapaul
Varsha Paul is a marketing specialist at Astra Security. She is a keen security enthusiast, loves playing with data, and has a passion for writing about technology.
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