All it takes for a malicious hacker to hack into a whole system is to find just a single security vulnerability. In today’s world, hackers are continuously trying to find and exploit security flaws to gain access to valuable data. Penetration testers can take cybersecurity to a whole new level by using these windows penetration testing software and tools to test your systems in the case of an attack. These software options are quick to install on any laptop with enough power to run these security tools. Penetration testing is more important than ever and these tools make it much easier to do.
What's Penetration Testing?
Keeping up with the latest cyber threats looks like a never-racing race. Defending and securing your web network from any security vulnerabilities has become more challenging since remote hackers are always introducing new cybersecurity risks. To beat hackers, one must find the vulnerabilities in your websites or web apps or hire ethical hackers to do it before they do.
Web penetration testing is essential in the current environment, and the most reliable solution is to scan all your websites, web applications, and web services to search for weaknesses with pentesting tools to prevent future malicious attacks. That’s why penetration testing has become an essential part of all comprehensive web security programs.
Also known as a pen test, penetration testing is a simulated attack on computer systems or whole IT infrastructure. This exposes the weaknesses in operating systems, network devices, web applications, websites, and other web services that lead to security breaches. The basic idea is to uncover and then secure vulnerabilities before malicious attackers exploit them.
Cybercriminals hack systems using DDOS attacks, phishing scams, ransomware attacks, and many other tactics. When it comes to IT systems, a vulnerability could be common misconfigurations that allow access without any controls in place. A weak password is an example of a common vulnerability.
Penetration testing aims to provide organizations a detailed view of their security posture by stimulating attacks conducting by real-world cybercriminals. Any organization ranging from local or state governments, police departments and corporations will find penetration testing a key to having a secure system.
Here we cover some of the most useful tools to do penetration testing on Windows systems and networks.
Netsparker is a scalable and fully integrated web application security solution that has reporting tools and specific workflows. Thanks to many enterprise features, this single platform discovers and catalogs all the business web apps created. You can scan any type of modern, custom, or legacy web apps and get results in just a few hours regardless of the technology it uses.
Netsparker automatically proves and verifies vulnerabilities like cross-site scripting and SQL injection that save security experts’ time. It lets you confirm the state of mission-critical web applications and get formal proof via the Proof-Based ScanningTM technology. Netsparker finds vulnerabilities and generates HIPAA, PCI DSS, and ISO 27001 compliance reports for various purposes and complete visibility.
Netsparker provides a full vulnerability assessment and management solution. When made part of your SDLC, it scans the app after every code change. If Netsparker finds a problem, it can create an issue in the issue tracker and assigns it to the developers by sending a notification. After the fix, it rescans the same web application to ensure safety and security. This industry-leading web app security system seamlessly integrates with your agile software development pipeline.
It’s easy-to-use even if you’re not a security professional. It’s available as desktop-based software and is a multi-user cloud-based service that has already helped many renowned companies worldwide like NASA, Skype, Microsoft, Samsung, etc. Netsparker is by far one of the best penetration testing tools out there, especially for those worried about SQL injection issues.
Metasploit is another powerful and world-renowned penetration testing tool. It verifies vulnerabilities, manages them, and enhances security awareness, so you always stay one step ahead when it comes to web assets.
This Metasploit Framework is an open-source version designed for those who require manual exploitation and some essential command-line interface. It’s a strong combination of tools and utilities to make exploit development and system administration more manageable. For security researchers and developers, the framework version is recommended.
For more serious users like IT security teams, you can use the Metasploit Pro fully-featured commercial version. There’s a 14-day trial version available with wizards, smart exploitation, testing reports, automated workflow, and many more automated and infiltrate features.
Started in 1998 by Gerald Combs, this project continued to excel globally and is now a widely-used network protocol analyzer. Wireshark penetration tool allows you to see what's happening to your web networks at a very microscopic level to find all possible vulnerabilities and is also an excellent packet analyzer.
It offers a rich and reliable feature set that provides an in-depth, thorough inspection of current protocols and those added. In addition to online live capture, Wireshark has an offline analysis feature as well. Thanks to the three-pane packet standard browser, it’s a multiplatform system that runs on Linux, Windows, macOS, NetBSD, Solaris, and more. For intuitive and quick analysis, you can apply coloring rules to the packet list.
All the collected network data is then browsed via TShark TTY-mode utility or by GUI. What’s great about Wireshark is that it features the industry’s most potent display filters. Plus, you can export output reports as CSV, XML, plain text, or Postscript.
Network mapper or Nmap is a free and open source service for network security and auditing that’s easy to use. Named as the “Security Product of the Year” in various journals and movies, Nmap is flexible to support all advanced techniques used for mapping networks loaded with routers, firewalls, IP addresses, and similar obstacles. Thanks to the TCP+UDP scanning mechanisms and detection versions, it supports almost all operating systems.
Though it has a rich advanced feature set, beginners can simply start as a target host. Nmap is available in both advanced GUI and basic command-line versions. This Network mapper project’s primary goal is to provide an advanced tool to users for making their networks more secure. It utilizes raw IP packets in an advanced way to explore network services, application version and name, operating system, and other characteristics.
Although it’s free to download, the full source code is distributed under license. Designed for rapidly scanning large networks, it also works great for single hosts. Nmap suite also includes Zenmap results viewer, data transfer flexible system, Ndiff scan compare, Ncat debugging tool, redirection, Nping response analysis, and packet generation. This security auditing tool is perfect for network discovery.
The Burp Suite by PortSwigger offers a leading range of security penetration testing tools for better cybersecurity. This Web vulnerability scanner helps you fight cybercrime and keep hackers at bay by verifying more than 100 generic and invisible vulnerabilities.
We can use Burp Suite to intercept HTTP requests going out via web browsers, apps, and services. In addition to the scanning module, you can use that as an intruder, proxy, and decoder.
The community is available in 3 different packages for hobbyists and researchers while offering essential manual tools. The professional version provides both advanced and essential manual toolkit with a scanning feature for penetration testers and security specialists. The third Enterprise is the powerful automated package with unlimited scalability and CI integration that offers web protection for development teams and organizations.
Burp Suite is a trusted online security tool, available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, is a must have tool you need to add to your list of security tools.
John the Ripper is a fantastic free and open-source password recovery and security auditing tool for operating systems. This password-cracking tool supports all cipher and hash types. Since most ethical hackers use this tool widely to test brute force attacks, security testers use it as a penetration tool to crack and check password strength.
This lets security specialists recognize a weak password to improve cybersecurity. You can use this hacking tool to find an insecure password in your system and broaden the security. All you have to do is install the program for free and run it on your system. John the Ripper has become a must-have pentesting tool for windows.
It’s getting difficult for security practitioners and penetration testers on the frontline to keep pace with attackers. Nessus is a vulnerability assessment solution built for security experts, IT security consultants, ethical hackers and even beginner pentesters. With more than 20 years of experience, Nessus offers more comprehensive and fast vulnerability scanning. It helps security specialists to identify and fix vulnerabilities that include software flaws, malware, missing patches, and wrong configurations.
It offers pre-configured scan templates for various scenarios, and customizing a default template is easy and straightforward. As different environments don’t have similar scanning needs, Nessus provides many ways for accurate scanning and results. With over 100,000 plug-ins to access vulnerabilities, it offers the broadest and most in-depth vulnerability coverage. Furthermore, the ability to perform configuration assessments against over 400 benchmarks across 60 device types will undoubtedly meet all your compliance and assessment needs.
Penetration test types
Penetration tools offer insight into how to improve your cybersecurity organization. However, not all windows penetration test tools are equal. Using traditional legacy methods like CVSS score alone to prioritize risk can waste a lot of time on vulnerabilities that are not an immediate risk. This leads to losing focus on issues that require urgent attention. The solution to this is a vulnerability assessment and management tool that uses the latest technologies.
By separating a small % of vulnerabilities that pose critical risks, you can focus on the most urgent threats that might affect important web assets. This allows the security team to save time and proactively defend against attacks.
Pen testing has distinct subtypes. Application penetration testing generally focuses on web applications and websites. Infrastructure network pen testing refers to exploiting security flaws in a network system that includes computers, databases, routers, switches, servers, IoT devices, etc. A hacker would look for an insecure password, unpatched system, or general flaws in security practice.
Penetration testing tools do more than just check your system. They are a critical starting point to improve cyber defense of a windows web application, network or windows program. A quality pentesting tool provides a deep understanding and insight into your overall security system and helps prioritize and eliminate found security vulnerabilities.