An authorised attempt to obtain unauthorised access to a computer system, application, or data is known as ethical hacking. Replicating the tactics and behaviours of malevolent attackers is a necessary part of carrying out an ethical hack. By doing this, security flaws can be found and fixed before a malevolent attacker has a chance to take advantage of them.

Tools used in CEH v12

The realm of ethical hacking tools plays a pivotal role in safeguarding IT systems and networks from potential vulnerabilities. These tools are essential for uncovering weaknesses in operating systems, web applications, servers, and networks, thereby fortifying the defense against malicious intruders. As organizations increasingly recognize the importance of ethical hacking, a wide array of tools are at their disposal, available as open-source or commercial solutions.

Let’s delve into the top ethical hacking tools as per CEH v12 (Certified Ethical Hacker version 12), categorised according to the phases of ethical hacking:

1. Reconnaissance/Footprinting Tools:

The reconnaissance or footprinting phase serves as the initial step in ethical hacking, where white hat hackers gather as much information as possible to understand the target system or network. Here are some tools for this phase:

Recon-ng: Recon-ng is a comprehensive reconnaissance tool designed to facilitate open-source, web-based reconnaissance swiftly and comprehensively.

Angry IP Scanner: This tool scans ports and IP addresses, supporting Windows, macOS, and Linux. It is versatile, applicable to both local and internet-based networks.

Traceroute NG: A network path analysis tool, Traceroute NG is invaluable for identifying host names, packet loss, and IP addresses. It provides detailed analysis through a command-line interface.

2. Scanning Tools:

The scanning phase comes after reconnaissance, where the information gathered is utilized to search for vulnerabilities. Here are some essential tools for this phase:

Metasploit: Metasploit Framework, available as both free and open source or a paid product (Metasploit Pro), is a go-to tool for penetration testers and ethical hackers. It allows the creation and exploitation of codes against remote systems.

Nmap (Network Mapper): Nmap is a free network research tool that serves as both a security and port scanner. It is suitable for both small and large networks and is used to manage service upgrades, monitor host and service uptime, and inventory networks.

Nessus: Widely renowned as the world’s most popular vulnerability scanner tool, Nessus identifies severe flaws in various systems, making it a crucial asset for any security professional.

Nikto: Nikto is a web scanner tool that conducts checks and tests on multiple web servers to identify outdated software, potentially harmful CGIs or files, and other security concerns.

3. Gaining Access Tools:

After acquiring information from the reconnaissance and scanning phases, the hacker constructs a blueprint of the network. Tools in this phase are used to gain access:

Aircrack-ng: As Wi-Fi security becomes increasingly critical, Aircrack-ng equips ethical hackers with command-line tools for testing and evaluating Wi-Fi network security.

L0phtcrack: L0phtCrack is used to audit and recover passwords used on networks, ensuring they are robust, frequently changed, and resistant to cracking.

Ophcrack: Ophcrack is a free Windows password cracker that relies on rainbow tables. It features a graphical user interface and is effective on various platforms.

Hashcat: Hashcat, known as the world’s fastest and most advanced password recovery tool, supports multiple attack methods for over 300 high-performance hashing algorithms.

4. Maintaining Access Tools:

In this phase, hackers who have gained access decide to maintain it for potential future exploitation. They use tools to gain control over rootkits and trojans for further network attacks. The key tools are:

PoshC2: Built primarily in Python 3, PoshC2 offers a modular structure that allows users to include their own modules and tools, enhancing flexibility.

Rootkits: Rootkit tools intercept and modify common OS operations, making information reported by infected devices unreliable.

PowerSploit: PowerSploit, an open-source offensive security framework with PowerShell components, facilitates various penetration testing activities like code execution, persistence, anti-virus evasion, recon, and exfiltration.

5. Clearing Tracks Tools:

Once access is gained, hackers vanish to avoid detection. They tamper with log files, delete cache and cookies, and close open ports. The tools used in this phase include:

Netcat: Netcat reads and writes data via TCP or UDP network connections, serving as a powerful back-end tool for various applications. It’s also a network debugging and research tool.

Burp Suite: Burp Suite is a graphical tool for assessing the security of web applications.

Other Miscellaneous Tools:

Apart from the categorized tools, ethical hackers have a set of miscellaneous tools at their disposal:

Wireshark: Wireshark is an excellent tool for examining data packets and conducting in-depth examinations of standard protocols. It provides analysis results that can be exported in various file formats.

Msfvenom: Msfvenom, consisting of msfpayload and msfencode, is a versatile tool for creating payloads on multiple platforms, including Android, Windows, Unix, Nodejs, and Cisco.

THC Hydra: This tool is a proof-of-concept code that allows security experts to demonstrate the ease of gaining unauthorized remote access to a system.

SQLMap: SQLMap is an open-source penetration testing tool that automates the detection and exploitation of SQL injection vulnerabilities and database systems.

For those eager to explore the exciting world of ethical hacking, the CEH v12 certification training program at TSAARO Academy provides a robust learning framework. With comprehensive training and hands-on lab experience, it equips individuals to excel in the ethical hacking domain. Explore the TSAARO Academy’s CEH v12 certification program to embark on your ethical hacking journey.