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SecTools.Org: Top 125 Network Security Tools

For more than a decade, the Nmap Project has been cataloguing the network security community's favorite tools. In 2011 this site became much more dynamic, offering ratings, reviews, searching, sorting, and a new tool suggestion form. This site allows open source and commercial tools on any platform, except those tools that we maintain (such as the Nmap Security Scanner, Ncat network connector, and Nping packet manipulator).

We're very impressed by the collective smarts of the security community and we highly recommend reading the whole list and investigating any tools you are unfamiliar with. Click any tool name for more details on that particular application, including the chance to read (and write) reviews. Many site elements are explained by tool tips if you hover your mouse over them. Enjoy!

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Tools 1–25 of 125 next page →

(14) ★★★★★ Wireshark (#1, 1)

Wireshark (known as Ethereal until a trademark dispute in Summer 2006) is a fantastic open source multi-platform network protocol analyzer. It allows you to examine data from a live network or from a capture file on disk. You can interactively browse the capture data, delving down into just the level of packet detail you need. Wireshark has several powerful features, including a rich display filter language and the ability to view the reconstructed stream of a TCP session. It also supports hundreds of protocols and media types. A tcpdump-like console version named tshark is included. One word of caution is that Wireshark has suffered from dozens of remotely exploitable security holes, so stay up-to-date and be wary of running it on untrusted or hostile networks (such as security conferences). Read 25 reviews.

Latest release: version 1.10.5 on Dec. 19, 2013 (3 months, 4 weeks ago).

(1) ★★★★★ Snort (#5, 2)

This network intrusion detection and prevention system excels at traffic analysis and packet logging on IP networks. Through protocol analysis, content searching, and various pre-processors, Snort detects thousands of worms, vulnerability exploit attempts, port scans, and other suspicious behavior. Snort uses a flexible rule-based language to describe traffic that it should collect or pass, and a modular detection engine. Also check out the free Basic Analysis and Security Engine (BASE), a web interface for analyzing Snort alerts.

While Snort itself is free and open source, parent company SourceFire offers their VRT-certified rules for $499 per sensor per year and a complementary product line of software and appliances with more enterprise-level features. Sourcefire also offers a free 30-day delayed feed. Read 2 reviews.

Latest release: version 2.9.6.0 on Jan. 23, 2014 (2 months, 3 weeks ago).

(1) ★★★★★ John the Ripper (#10, unchanged)

John the Ripper is a fast password cracker for UNIX/Linux and Mac OS X.. Its primary purpose is to detect weak Unix passwords, though it supports hashes for many other platforms as well. There is an official free version, a community-enhanced version (with many contributed patches but not as much quality assurance), and an inexpensive pro version. You will probably want to start with some wordlists, which you can find here, here, or here. Read 3 reviews.

Latest release: version 1.8.0 on May 30, 2013 (10 months, 3 weeks ago).

(1) ★★★★★ Kismet (#11, 4)

Kismet is a console (ncurses) based 802.11 layer-2 wireless network detector, sniffer, and intrusion detection system. It identifies networks by passively sniffing (as opposed to more active tools such as NetStumbler), and can even decloak hidden (non-beaconing) networks if they are in use. It can automatically detect network IP blocks by sniffing TCP, UDP, ARP, and DHCP packets, log traffic in Wireshark/tcpdump compatible format, and even plot detected networks and estimated ranges on downloaded maps. As you might expect, this tool is commonly used for wardriving. Oh, and also warwalking, warflying, and warskating, etc. Read 1 review.

Latest release: version Kismet 2011-03-R2 on April 11, 2011 (3 years ago).

(2) ★★★★★ OpenSSH/PuTTY/SSH (#12, 2)

SSH (Secure Shell) is the now ubiquitous program for logging into or executing commands on a remote machine. It provides secure encrypted communications between two untrusted hosts over an insecure network, replacing the hideously insecure telnet/rlogin/rsh alternatives. Most UNIX users run the open source OpenSSH server and client. Windows users often prefer the free PuTTY client, which is also available for many mobile devices, and WinSCP. Other Windows users prefer the nice terminal-based port of OpenSSH that comes with Cygwin. There are dozens of other free and proprietary clients to consider as well. Read 2 reviews.

(2) ★★★★★ Hping (#15, 9)

This handy little utility assembles and sends custom ICMP, UDP, or TCP packets and then displays any replies. It was inspired by the ping command, but offers far more control over the probes sent. It also has a handy traceroute mode and supports IP fragmentation. Hping is particularly useful when trying to traceroute/ping/probe hosts behind a firewall that blocks attempts using the standard utilities. This often allows you to map out firewall rule sets. It is also great for learning more about TCP/IP and experimenting with IP protocols. Unfortunately, it hasn't been updated since 2005. The Nmap Project created and maintains Nping, a similar program with more modern features such as IPv6 support, and a unique echo mode. Read 2 reviews.

Latest release: version hping3-20051105 on Nov. 5, 2005 (8 years, 5 months ago).

(1) ★★★★★ Scapy (#20, 8)

Scapy is a powerful interactive packet manipulation tool, packet generator, network scanner, network discovery tool, and packet sniffer. Note that Scapy is a very low-level tool—you interact with it using the Python programming language. It provides classes to interactively create packets or sets of packets, manipulate them, send them over the wire, sniff other packets from the wire, match answers and replies, and more. Read 2 reviews.

Latest release: version 2.2.0 on Feb. 28, 2011 (3 years, 1 month ago).

(2) ★★★★★ Ping/telnet/dig/traceroute/whois/netstat (#21, 8)

While there are many advanced high-tech tools out there to assist in security auditing, don't forget about the basics! Everyone should be very familiar with these tools as they come with most operating systems (except that Windows omits whois and uses the name tracert). They can be very handy in a pinch, although more advanced functionality is available from Hping and Netcat. Read 3 reviews.

(1) ★★★★★ THC Hydra (#22, 7)

When you need to brute force crack a remote authentication service, Hydra is often the tool of choice. It can perform rapid dictionary attacks against more then 30 protocols, including telnet, ftp, http, https, smb, several databases, and much more. Like THC Amap this release is from the fine folks at THC. Other online crackers are Medusa and Ncrack. The Nmap Security Scanner also contains many online brute force password cracking modules. Read 2 reviews.

Latest release: version 7.3 on May 23, 2012 (1 year, 10 months ago).

(1) ★★★★★ OSSEC HIDS (#27, 29)

OSSEC HIDS performs log analysis, integrity checking, rootkit detection, time-based alerting and active response. In addition to its IDS functionality, it is commonly used as a SEM/SIM solution. Because of its powerful log analysis engine, ISPs, universities and data centers are running OSSEC HIDS to monitor and analyze their firewalls, IDSs, web servers and authentication logs. Read 2 reviews.

Latest release: version 2.7.1 on Nov. 20, 2013 (4 months, 3 weeks ago).

(2) ★★★★★ QualysGuard (#42, 31)

QualysGuard is a popular SaaS (software as a service) vulnerability management offering. It's web-based UI offers network discovery and mapping, asset prioritization, vulnerability assessment reporting and remediation tracking according to business risk. Internal scans are handled by Qualys appliances which communicate back to the cloud-based system. Read 2 reviews.

Latest release: version 6.18 on Feb. 25, 2011 (3 years, 1 month ago).

(1) ★★★★★ Tor (#53, 6)

Tor is a network of virtual tunnels designed to improve privacy and security on the Internet by routing your requests through a series of intermediate machines. It uses a normal proxy server interface so that ordinary Internet applications like web browsers and chat programs can be configured to use it. In addition to helping preserve users' anonymity, Tor can help evade firewall restrictions. Tor's hidden services allow users publish web sites and other services without revealing their identity or location. For a free cross-platform GUI, users recommend Vidalia. Remember that Tor exit nodes are sometimes run by malicious parties and can sniff your traffic, so avoid authenticating using insecure network protocols (such as non-SSL web sites and mail servers). That is always dangerous, but particularly bad when routing through Tor. Read 1 review.

Latest release: version 0.2.4.21 on Feb. 28, 2014 (1 month, 2 weeks ago).

(2) ★★★★★ Yersinia (#59, 7)

Yersinia is a low-level protocol attack tool useful for penetration testing. It is capable of many diverse attacks over multiple protocols, such as becoming the root role in the Spanning Tree (Spanning Tree Protocol), creating virtual CDP (Cisco Discovery Protocol) neighbors, becoming the active router in a HSRP (Hot Standby Router Protocol) scenario, faking DHCP replies, and other low-level attacks. Read 2 reviews.

Latest release: version 0.7.1 on Jan. 26, 2007 (7 years, 2 months ago).

(1) ★★★★★ SolarWinds (#62, 16)

SolarWinds has created and sells dozens of special-purpose tools targeted at systems administrators. Security-related tools include many network discovery scanners, an SNMP brute-force cracker, router password decryption, a TCP connection reset program, one of the fastest and easiest router config download/upload applications available and more. Read 1 review.

(5) ★★★★★ Secunia PSI (#68, new!)

Secunia PSI (Personal Software Inspector) is a free security tool designed to detect vulnerable and out-dated programs and plug-ins that expose your PC to attacks. Attacks exploiting vulnerable programs and plug-ins are rarely blocked by traditional anti-virus programs. Secunia PSI checks only the machine it is running on, while its commercial sibling Secunia CSI (Corporate Software Inspector) scans multiple machines on a network. Read 5 reviews.

Latest release: version 2.0 on Jan. 10, 2011 (3 years, 3 months ago).

(5) ★★★★★ Nagios (#69, 2)

Nagios is a system and network monitoring application. It watches hosts and services that you specify, alerting you when things go bad and when they get better. Some of its many features include monitoring of network services (SMTP, POP3, HTTP, NNTP, ICMP, etc.), monitoring of host resources (processor load, disk usage, etc.), and contact notifications when service or host problems occur and get resolved (via email, pager, or user-defined method). Read 6 reviews.

Latest release: version 4.0.3 on Feb. 28, 2014 (1 month, 2 weeks ago).

(4) ★★★★★ Netsparker (#75, new!)

Netsparker is a web application security scanner, with support for both detection and exploitation of vulnerabilities. It aims to be false positive–free by only reporting confirmed vulnerabilities after successfully exploiting or otherwise testing them. Read 4 reviews.

Latest release: version 1.8.3.3 on Feb. 10, 2011 (3 years, 2 months ago).

(1) ★★★★★ Argus (#78, 5)

Argus is a fixed-model Real Time Flow Monitor designed to track and report on the status and performance of all network transactions seen in a data network traffic stream. Argus provides a common data format for reporting flow metrics such as connectivity, capacity, demand, loss, delay, and jitter on a per transaction basis. The record format that Argus uses is flexible and extensible, supporting generic flow identifiers and metrics, as well as application/protocol specific information. There is also another open source network monitoring program named Argus. Read 1 review.

Latest release: version 3.7 on Feb. 1, 2013 (1 year, 2 months ago).

(2) ★★★★★ OpenBSD PF (#79, 22)

Like Netfilter and ipfilter on other platforms, OpenBSD users love PF, their firewall tool. It handles network address translation, normalizing TCP/IP traffic, providing bandwidth control, and packet prioritization. It also offers some eccentric features, such as passive OS detection. Coming from the same guys who created OpenBSD, you can trust that it has been well audited and coded to avoid the sort of security holes we have seen in other  packet  filters. Read 2 reviews.

Latest release: version 5.3 on May 1, 2012 (1 year, 11 months ago).

(1) ★★★★★ Nipper (#81, new!)

Nipper (short for Network Infrastructure Parser, previously known as CiscoParse) audits the security of network devices such as switches, routers, and firewalls. It works by parsing and analyzing device configuration file which the Nipper user must supply. This was an open source tool until its developer (Titania) released a commercial version and tried to hide their old GPL releases (including the GPLv2 version 0.10 source tarball). Read 1 review.

Latest release: version 1.3.

(2) ★★★★★ NoScript (#85, new!)

NoScript is an add-on for Firefox that blocks JavaScript, Java, Flash, and other plugin content (allowing you to selectively re-enable them for certain sites). It also offers cross-site scripting protection. This is mainly designed to keep web users safe, but security testers can also use the add-on to see what scripts a site is using. One caution is that the NoScript author Giorgio Maone has been caught inserting hidden code into NoScript which disabled users' ad-blocking software so that ads would still show up on the NoScript web site. He did post a lengthy apology. Read 3 reviews.

Latest release: version 2.6.8.13 on Jan. 22, 2014 (2 months, 3 weeks ago).

(3) ★★★★★ Samurai Web Testing Framework (#87, new!)

The Samurai Web Testing Framework is a live linux environment that has been pre-configured to function as a web pen-testing environment. The CD contains the best of the open source and free tools that focus on testing and attacking websites. Samurai includes many other tools featured in this list, such as WebScarab, ratproxy, w3af, Burp Suite, and BeEF. Read 4 reviews.

Latest release: version 0.9.9 on Aug. 13, 2011 (2 years, 8 months ago).

(4) ★★★★★ Firebug (#89, new!)

Firebug is an add-on for Firefox that provides access to browser internals. It features live editing of HTML and CSS, a DOM viewer, and a JavaScript debugger. Web application security testers appreciate the ability to see what's happening behind the scenes of the browser. Read 4 reviews.

Latest release: version 1.11.4 on May 23, 2013 (10 months, 4 weeks ago).

(2) ★★★★★ KeePass (#92, new!)

KeePass is a password manager. It stores many passwords which are unlocked by one master password. The idea is to only have to remember one high-quality password, and still be able to use unique passwords for various accounts. It has a feature to automatically fill in passwords in web forms. Read 2 reviews.

Latest release: version 1.26 on July 12, 2013 (9 months, 1 week ago).

(1) ★★★★★ DirBuster (#112, new!)

DirBuster searches for hidden pages and directories on a web server. Sometimes developers will leave a page accessible, but unlinked; DirBuster is meant to find these potential vulnerabilities. This is a Java application developed by OWASP. Read 1 review.

Latest release: version 2.0-RC1 on March 3, 2009 (5 years, 1 month ago).

Tools 1–25 of 125 next page →

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