17 Top-Notch Penetration Testing Tools (2021 Update)


There is a bunch of penetration testing tools available on the internet. This article brings to you the 15 most coveted, critically acclaimed, and best penetration testing tools.
What is penetration testing?
Cyber attacks can happen at any point in time. To be on the safer side you need to know thoroughly about the loose ends of your software defense. Penetration testing unravels the vulnerabilities of your software so that you can tighten it later.
Following Penetration Testing Tools are Covered in this Blog.

      1. Netsparker
      2. Coreimpact
      3. Metasploit
      4. W3AF
      5. Nessus
      6. Cain & Abel
      7. Accunetix
      8. Probe.ly
      9. Wiresharker
      10. Kali Linux
      11. Burpsuite
      12. Zedattackproxy(ZAP)
      13. Openvas
      14. Sboxr
      15. Webscarab
      16. nmap
      17. Hashcat

1. Netsparker
Netsparker is perhaps the most accurate penetration testing tool. It automatically identifies vulnerabilities in both web API and applications.

  • Considered as a pioneer in web application security
  • NETSPARKER eliminates the need for the penetration tester to manually sit and test different vulnerabilities.
  • All the real vulnerabilities are brought into the limelight just with a simple scan and it is capable of finding vulnerabilities like cross-site scripting, SQL injection, and so on. You can simply download and install it from the internet.
  • Can easily integrate with CI/CD and other systems in software development, in short, a fully customizable workflow can be created
  • Verified bugs are automatically posted to the bug tracking system

2. Core impact
It is one of the oldest penetration testing tools present in the market. The range of exploits in this penetration testing tool is impeccable.

  •  Core Impact has Metasploit exploits, automated wizard processes, PowerShell commands, etc. Exploits written by Core Impact are commercial grade and widely used in both companies and security consultancies. The price of this tool is on the higher side but you get exactly what you are paying for.
  • Has the ability to replicate attack across systems, devices, and applications
  • Security posture can be validated by methods used by dreaded cyber-criminals
  • An up-to-date library on leading threats
  • Programmable self-destruct capability so that no loose end will be left behind
  • The reporting feature of the tool can be used for compliance validation
  • Can be used for network testing
  • Can capture information shared between a real user and the website

Also Read: Top 10 Automation Testing Tools 2020

3. Meta sploit
It is one of the most prevalent and advanced penetration testing tools for penetration testing. It has a set of exploits that can enter a system bypassing its security. If the exploit successfully enters the system, a payload is run which basically provides a framework for testing.


  • This is a commercial product; therefore you have to purchase it after the free trial if you want access to all the features. Metasploit is compatible with Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X.
  • There are modules that can send a sequence of commands that can focus on a particular type of vulnerability
  • Metasploit can be used to gain as much information to learn about the weakness of a software system.
  • Has a database that can store system log, host data, and evidence
  • A multi-function payload module

4. W3AF
This is a free penetration testing tool and to be frank, does a great job. It has a bunch of useful features like fast HTTP requests, injecting payloads, various HTTP requests, and so on.

  • The user interface of W3AF is compatible with Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. Unlike other tools, this one is free to download and use.
  • Has web and proxy servers that can be easily integrated into the code of the software
  • Helps in sending lightning speed HTTP request owing to the surplus of extension
  • Various type of logging methods such as Console, Text, CSV, HTML, and XML
  • Be it any part of the HTTP request, W3af can inject any type of payload

5. Nessus
Nessus is a very capable vulnerability scanner with a website scan, IP scan, and has a sensitive data search specialist module. All these functionalities are built into Nessus and help in finding vulnerabilities in the system, capable of handling all testing environments.

  • Up-to-date database that’s updated on a daily basis
  • Can be used to expose scalability
  • (Nessus Attack Scripting Language) NASL is used as the scripting language
  • Nessus can identify an FTP server on a non-standard port, or even a web server running on  port 8080
  • The tool can make services like HTTPS, SMTP look like SSL so that they can be injected into a PKI-type environment.

6. Cain & Abel
This is the perfect tool for decoding passwords and network keys. Cain & Abel accomplishes this by using different methods like network sniffing, cryptanalysis attacks, cache uncovering, dictionary, and routing protocol analysis. This is a free tool but is only available for Windows operating systems

  • Can crack WEP(Wired Equivalent Privacy)
  • VoIP conversations can be recorded
  • LSA (Local Security Authority ) can be dumped
  • Password related issue can be resolved

7. Acunetix
It is a full-fledged, fully automatic vulnerability scanner capable of scanning over 4500 different types of vulnerabilities.

  • The best feature of this tool is that it can complete several tests automatically which sometimes takes hours to complete. The results generated on this tool are accurate and fast.
  • Acunetix supports all systems including JavaScript, HTML5, and CMS.
  • Can detect over 4500 vulnerabilities
  • Hidden inputs that haven’t revealed in  black-box scanning can be revealed
  • Javascript of websites and SPAs can be crawled
  • Ability to create management and compliance report
  • Can integrate with CI tools
  • Configurable workflow
  • Replication of e-mail injection attack

8. Probe.ly
Probe.ly not only finds vulnerabilities but also suggests a possible fix on it. The user interface of this tool is ridiculously intuitive and has all the necessary features for penetration testing.

  • Probe.ly is capable of finding out upward of a thousand different types of vulnerabilities including OWASP TOP10.
  • Guidance to fix the issue will also be provided by Probe.ly
  • Can integrate with other tools
  • Can do intrusive and non-intrusive scans
  • Available also as a plugin for integration with CI tools
  • Has the ability to generate scan result, compliance report and the coverage report

9. Wireshark
This is less of a penetration testing tool and more of a network analyzer. It is compatible with Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, FreeBSD, NetBSD, Solaris, and so on and so forth. Wireshark is free to download and install on all operating systems. All the information gathered by Wireshark is presented in a systematic manner on TShark utility.

  • Can inspect 100s of protocols
  • Detailed VoIP analysis
  • Offline analysis and live capture
  • Data that has been captured by Wireshark

10. Kali Linux
Kali Linux is developed and maintained by Offensive Security. It is an open-source tool which basically means that anyone can use it and add features to it.
Version tracking, tool listings, and meta-packages are integrated into Kali Linux for penetration testing.
Kali Linux is free to download and use on almost all operating systems.

  • Debian based Linux distribution
  • 600+ pre-installed tools designated for security research, penetration testing, web app testing, etc.
  • Multilingual support
  • Completely customizable

11. Burp Suite
This penetration testing tool has an intruder tool mainly for executing attacks. The intruder tool has limited functionality but all of its functions can be unlocked by purchasing it. This tool makes penetration testing very time efficient. Burp Suite is compatible with Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X.

  • Impeccable web vulnerability scanner
  • CI integration
  • Advanced manual tools
  • Can detect server-side vulnerabilities that are completely invisible
  • Pioneer in using OAST (out-of-band techniques)
  • Can perform  interactive application security testing (IAST)
  • Advanced web application crawler
  • Can perform javascript analysis

12. Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP)
ZAP is free to download and use. It basically scans web applications for vulnerabilities. There are different types of scanners integrated into the ZAP penetration testing tool.


  •  The main feature of ZAP is perhaps the proxy intercepting tool which is particularly useful in different test scenarios. is compatible with Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X.
  • Easy to integrate
  • Automated scanners
  • Both manual, as well as automated pen-testing, are used
  • Can mimic  activities of a hacker to expose the vulnerability
  • It will stand between a browser and a tester so that it can intercept and inspect messages

13. Open VAS 
Open vas is a vulnerability scanner that is capable of performing authenticated testing, unauthenticated testing, and various protocols (both high and low) Performance tuning, etc. Open VAS also has an inbuilt powerful language that can be used for performing any type of vulnerability test.

  • More than 50,000 vulnerability tests
  • A comprehensive vulnerability management solution
  • Open-source
  • Open VAS is controlled by the service layer

Over 30 DOM security issues can be traced out by Xbox. Python/Ruby capability makes Sboxr an impeccable tool

  • Ease of use
  • Can be used by DEV, QA as well as security teams
  • Detailed reporting
  • Good customer support

15. WebScarab
Used for analyzing application that uses HTTP and HTTPS protocol for communication. Since the tool is written in JAVA it’s portable to many platforms. It has several modes of operation as well as plugins.

  • Operates as an intercepting proxy
  • Review and modify requests
  • Can be used to intercept both HTTP and HTTPS communication
  • Primarily designed for those who can write codes

16. nmap
nmap is a free network discovery and security auditing software that’s widely used for managing service upgrade schedules, network inventory, and monitoring host or service uptime

  • Helps in mapping out networks filled with IP filters
  • Supports OS like, Linux, Microsoft Windows, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, Solaris, IRIX, Mac OS X, HP-UX, NetBSD, Sun OS, Amiga, etc.
  • Can be used to scan large network

17. Hashcat
One of the fastest password cracking software in existence and the first and only in-kernel rule engine.

  • Open-source
  • Multiple OS, device, platform, and hash support
  • Supports hex-salt and hex-charset
  • Has a built-in benchmarking system
  • Automatic performance tuning

The 15 above-mentioned penetration testing tools are the best in the business and will get the job done for you. The only thing you have to check out is the compatibility with your operating system.