The best hacking tools for Windows

Staying ahead of the curve is usually a good strategy in any area of life. Also in cybersecurity. Today we are going to introduce you to the best free Windows hacking tools, which are the same ones used by attackers and have a clear goal: test your own networks and computers before they do so without your permission and you lose control of your IT infrastructure.

IT security threats have the technology industry on edge. Breaches and information leaks in large and small companies are constant, as well as attacks on organizations or administrations responsible for vital infrastructure and the cyber cold war that experts talk about continues to rage. It is normal that investments in cybersecurity continue to increase and managed security solutions (by third-party specialists) are gaining ground.

The section on home client machines and local area networks that concerns us in this article is not much better. In addition to the Ransomware which has become the leading global threat affecting any operating system, platform or device, there is no shortage of ransomware campaigns. phishing which use impersonation and in general any means of introducing malware in increasingly numerous, sophisticated, dangerous and massive attacks, seeking economic benefit, data theft and control of computers.

In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in a new era of hybrid work, which may be convenient for employees and businesses, but poses an additional security challenge in home environments that are generally less protected than business or administrative environments. Keeping safe from viruses, Trojans and specimens from all walks of life and for all platforms, not to mention the rise of misinformation, malware, and other malicious software, is a challenge. fake news and in general the manipulation of information, which some analysts consider to be another problem of information security, is key.

But there is a problem with staying secure: cyber criminals are ahead of users, companies and companies specializing in security solutions. In this scenario, it is a good idea to get ahead of them by testing your IT infrastructure with the same applications they use and, always understanding that the objective is to test equipment and networks for which you are authorized.

Hacking for Windows

Hacking for Windows Get ahead of the ‘bad guys’!

While there are general measures to take against phishing or ransomware, suitable as general protection for all types of users, and also actions against malware if you unfortunately end up infected, there is another strategy in cybersecurity used by system administrators and more advanced users: get ahead of it all by testing your own computers.

Using these tools is not easy. It requires time, caution in their use and some knowledge of how a computer network works. However, their advantages are remarkable, as they allow us to to identify which areas are the “weak points” of the network. and remedy them before they are discovered and exploited by the “bad guys”.

Beyond the big commercial developments, which we can’t even access even by paying because they are reserved for large companies, agencies and governments, these tools are commonly used in hacking (by good guys and ‘bad guys’) for vulnerable network analysis. We remind you of some of the most used ones, all of them free to use and some of them open source. We focus on those available for Windows as the most attacked and vulnerable system, although most of them are suitable for Linux, macOS and other systems.

At this point we must make due considerations: use them at your own risk and ONLY to check your own network. and not for others for which you are not authorized, which is morally and legally prosecutable. Also for educational uses, always with access permission.

Nmap

We start with one of the great references in network testing. Widely used by system administrators, this Network Mapper is used to perform penetration test and identify open ports or running services. It provides the response of computers to a ping, and in general, allows auditing the security of a network and possible vulnerabilities.

Its popularity became such that we have seen it running in quite a few movies, such as The Matrix Reloaded or Battle Royale as an example. Free and open source, Nmap runs on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X.

Nessus

Originally open source, it later became proprietary software, but remains free for home users with seven-day trial. Self-publishes itself as the vulnerability scanner The most popular vulnerability scanner on the Internet, used by more than 27,000 organizations worldwide. Nessus scans for open ports and attempts attacks with various known exploits.

For auditing uses on your own home network, you should disable the “unsafe test” option to avoid corrupting the system. It runs on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, and can be run on a home computer, in the cloud or in a hybrid environment.

Wireshark

A de facto standard that has been with us for more than twenty years and that the older ones will remember as Ethereal. It is used equally in companies, educational systems or homes as a packet grabber (sniffer)designed for network analysis and troubleshooting, software and communications protocol development.

It allows to visualize user activity on the network and captured “strange” traffic related to e.g. a Trojan. It works over Ethernet, IEEE 802.11 or PPP networks and the captured data can be queried through a graphical user interface or a command line terminal. Wireshark is free and open source, available for Windows, macOS, Linux, FreeBSD and others.

John the Ripper

This open source application is widely used in penetration testing and security assessments. A password retriever high profile password retriever for PCs, servers, disks, etc., that supports hundreds of encryption and hashing types. It also employs dictionary and brute force attacks for faster results.

It is available for free for Linux and macOS. The Windows (or Android) version is called ‘Hash Suite’ and has been developed by one of the main contributors to John the Ripper.

Aircrack-ng

It is a tool for auditing wireless networkswhich monitors the security of Wi-Fi networks, tests driver compatibility and allows intense scripting. As a cracking method (not for ‘catching’ the neighbor’s wifi…) it takes seconds to discover WEP encrypted networks and also ends up getting WPA/WPA2-PSK ones.

It allows to achieve a comprehensive evaluation of the security of wireless networks, with replay attacks, deauthentication, fake access points and others through packet injection. It allows transferring the obtained data to text files and maintains a very active community. It works on command line, but there are several GUIs that use it. Open source and freely available.

Ettercap

One of the most complete applications for detecting attacks man-in-the-middle in the home network or on any LAN. It is an infiltration technique widely used by cybercriminals as we saw in major attacks such as Logjam, the critical vulnerability affecting the TLS protocol, which allows connections to be downgraded to a 512-bit encryption export grade in order to decrypt communications.

Ettercap runs on all major operating systems and you can download it from their website.

Nikto2

It is a web server scanner which scans over 6,700 potentially dangerous files or programs and 1,250 web servers. It also checks server configuration items, such as the presence of multiple index files, HTTP server settings, and will attempt to identify installed web servers and software. Scanning items and plug-ins are updated frequently and can be updated automatically.

Useful considering that hackers have turned their retina to web servers as a method of network entry, taking advantage of insecure WordPress implementations or obsolete Apache servers. Nikto2 is free and open source and can be downloaded from its repository on GitHub.

Metasploit

A penetration testing framework that focuses on vulnerability verification and security assessment. It functions as a platform for the development and execution of exploits.with an integrated database containing a large collection of exploits, payloads and shellcode.

The tool can be used to develop exploit codes against remote targets and has an active user community that provides constant updates and support. It is command-line only and is available from their site.

Cain & Abel

It is a tool of password recovery for Windows operating systems. It allows recovering various types of passwords using dictionary, brute force, cryptanalysis attacks, recording VoIP conversations, or recovering wireless network keys.

Beyond its password recovery capability it was developed to be useful to network administrators, security consultants or professionals and can be used to evaluate the security of our network. The development is discontinued, but it still works and you can download it from various Internet sites.

Burp Suite

This tool allows you to automatically identify various website vulnerabilities. Automates custom attacks and bug lookups to scan modern web applications with fewer requests. It allows custom configuration to scan for a particular type of them and offers protections against ZERO-day vulnerabilities and supports detection of bugs such as asynchronous SQL injection and blind SSRF.

It requires significant system resources and is not one of the easy ones for beginners, but it’s all a start. It is available on their web site, free of charge in trial version.

We end here with this selection of hacking tools for Windows (which are valid for most systems) and that can serve as an approach for those who want to get started in ‘ethical hacking’. The goal should always be educational, morally responsible, to test our own equipment and improve the security of networks and PCs.

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