Top 15+ Cyber Security Tools (2024 Ultimate Guide)

Cyber Security Tools

The right arsenal of cyber security tools can make your work more efficient, systems more secure, and life generally easier. With no shortage of tools on the market, we decided to list some of our favorites for you to try out.

We’ve broken these down by category, including networking, offensive, OSINT, defensive, and forensic/reverse engineering tools. See what they’re about, why we like them, where to get them, and some accompanying courses to learn how to get going.

We hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

Top Cyber Security Tools

Networking Tools

The following networking tools are used mainly to map and scan networks.

Nmap

Nmap

Nmap, short for "Network Mapper," is a free and open-source tool utilized for network mapping, port discovery, and security assessments. Mostly used for network discovery and security auditing, there are very few systems/sysadmins that don't find it useful for tasks such as network inventory and monitoring host and service uptime.

Why we like Nmap:

  • Effective port detection and more: Efficiently identifies open ports, and network structure and supports comprehensive mapping, enabling a complete analysis of potential vulnerabilities.
  • Versatile information collection: Nmap collects important information about active hosts that is useful for vulnerability assessment.
  • Reliable security checks: The robust features make it a reliable choice for ethical hackers/security professionals.
  • Adaptability in cyber security practices: Nmap's adaptability makes it valuable for various cyber security practices, from penetration testing to network monitoring.

Nmap is available to download for free on GitHub.

Wireshark

Wireshark

Wireshark is a network protocol analyzer, an application that captures packets from a network connection, such as from your computer to your home office or the internet, in real time. It is a fundamental security assessment tool, allowing you to easily examine data, view unencrypted traffic, and identify network bottlenecks.

Why we like Wireshark:

  • Comprehensive protocol support: The extensive protocol compatibility allows you to inspect a variety of network communications for thorough security assessments.
  • User-friendly interface: Wireshark's natural interface simplifies the complex task of packet analysis and makes it accessible to a wide range of users (especially beginners).
  • Powerful filtering capabilities: Potent filtering options allow Wireshark to focus precisely on specific data, increasing threat detection efficiency.
  • Essential for troubleshooting: Wireshark is an important troubleshooting tool that helps you identify and resolve network problems by providing a detailed view of data exchange.

Wireshark is available to download for free on wireshark.org.

Offensive Tools

Next, we’ll talk about offensive tools created to find and exploit vulnerabilities in various systems and devices.

Metasploit

Metasploit

Metasploit is a very powerful penetration testing tool that can be used by both criminals and ethical hackers. Created for the purpose of ethical hacking and security assessments, Metasploit helps professionals identify vulnerabilities and exploit them. With a huge collection of exploits, payloads, and third-party modules, it allows for controlled and targeted penetration testing and, since it’s open-source, it can be easily customized and used with almost every operating system.

Why we like Metasploit:

  • Versatile exploitation framework: Metasploit's huge collection of exploits allows for a wide range of security testing.
  • Payload customization: The ability to customize payloads gives you flexibility in customizing attacks to your specific scenarios, improving precision in ethical hacking practices.
  • Exploit development and research: Its platform supports exploit development and research, making it a fundamental tool for security researchers exploring new vulnerabilities and attack types.
  • Accessible interface: Metasploit's beginner-friendly interface makes it approachable for both experts and those new to ethical hacking.

Metasploit is available to download for free on metasploit.com

Aircrack-ng

Aircrack-ng

Aircrack-ng, is a powerful and complete suite to assess WiFi security. Made for ethical hackers, it specializes in assessing the vulnerabilities of wireless networks. From packet capture to password cracking, Aircrack-ng equips cyber security professionals with the tools needed to improve the security of WiFi-connected devices/machines.

Why we like Aircrack-ng:

  • Packet capture ability: Thanks to its strong packet capture feature, Aircrack-ng makes it easier to conduct in-depth analysis to identify vulnerabilities in WiFi communications.
  • Password cracking capabilities: Aircrack-ng makes it possible for ethical hackers to improve the strength of WiFi passwords by finding and testing new ways to crack passwords.
  • Platform independence: Aircrack-ng's cross-platform support gives you versatility, allowing you to use its functionalities on various operating systems.
  • Community support and updates: An enthusiastic community helps Aircrack-ng's continuous improvements while keeping the tool up-to-date.

Aircrack.ng is available to download for free on aircrack-ng.org

Burp Suite

Burp Suite

Burp Suite is a powerful application designed for WebApp security testing. Its impressive capabilities in scanning, crawling, and analyzing web applications for vulnerabilities make it a vital tool for ethical hackers and security professionals.

Why we like Burp Suite:

  • Advanced crawling: Burp Suite's advanced crawling features provide a detailed map of a web application's structure, making targeted vulnerability assessments complete.
  • Robust reporting: The tool generates detailed reports, simplifying the process of communicating vulnerabilities and their potential impact.
  • Real-time analysis: Burp Suite allows for real-time analysis of requests and responses, helping quickly identify and mitigate security issues.
  • Community edition: While Burp Suite Premium is great, the community edition is maintained, free, and complete with all the necessary features that make Burp Suite one of the most used web app analyzing tools in the world.

Burp Suite is available to download for free on portswigger.net

OWASP ZAP

OWASP ZAP

OWASP ZAP is a powerful cyber security tool designed to detect security vulnerabilities in web applications, crawl websites, brute-force password logins, and intercept and alter various requests from your client to the website being tested.

Why we like OWASP ZAP:

  • Active community support: With an active community, OWASP ZAP receives regular updates and improvements.
  • Intercepting proxy: Its intercepting proxy feature allows real-time inspection and modification of requests.
  • Detailed reporting: OWASP ZAP provides detailed reports to the help in vulnerability remediations and prevention.
  • Constant evolution: OWASP ZAP stays ahead with evolving security challenges and best practices, updated every year.

OWASP ZAP is available to download for free on zaproxy.org

Bettercap

Bettercap

Bettercap is a versatile, open-source and user-friendly cyber security tool. It is specifically cre­ated for network exploration, se­curity assessments, and pene­tration testing. Ethical hackers and pentesters can use it for various purposes, such as network mapping, se­ssion hijacking, and man-in-the-middle attacks.

Why we like Bettercap:

  • Comprehensive network mapping: Bettercap gives detailed insights into network structures, helping its users in vulnerability identification.
  • Session hijacking capabilities: Its ability to intercept and manipulate network sessions is a powerful feature for security testing.
  • Active development: Regular updates and a strong community contribute to its continuous improvement.
  • Man-in-the-middle attacks: Bettercap's robust MITM capabilities are invaluable for testing network security.

Bettercap is available to download for free on bettercap.org

OSINT Tools

This next one is an essential Open-Source Intelligence tool that every researcher must know.

Maltego

Maltego

Maltego is a powerful cyber security tool that allows users to gather and analyze open-source­ intelligence, making it essential for investigations and research. Thanks to its user-friendly inte­rface, Maltego helps visualize and understand­ complex data, allowing you to see how one piece leads to another.

Why we like Maltego:

  • Robust visualization: The tool's visualization features help users better understand the larger picture by presenting difficult data relationships in a clear and organized way.
  • Comprehensive open-source intelligence: Various data sources are integrated into Maltego, providing a complete view for investigative purposes.
  • Customizable workflows: Maltego allows users to create customized workflows, by customizing the investigative process to each user’s specific needs.
  • Collaborative capabilities: Maltego supports collaboration, enabling teams to work together on intelligence and threat analysis.

Maltego is available to download for free on maltego.com

Defensive Tools

Defensive tools are a must have in your lab, so check out these.

Snort (Network Intrusion Detection & Prevention System)

Snort (Network Intrusion Detection & Prevention System)

Snort is a powerful Open-Source “Network Intrusion Detection & Prevention System” (NIDPS) that identifies and mitigates potential security threats. It excels in real-time analysis and packet logging on networks. Snort's versatility makes it a go-to choice for sysadmins.

Why we like Snort:

  • Advanced real-time analysis: Snort's advanced real-time analysis makes sure users identify potential security threats as soon as possible, permitting an immediate response.
  • Packet logging: With thorough packet logging, Snort gives a detailed overview of network activity, helping in the detection and analysis of potential intrusions.
  • Customizable rules: Snort's customizable rules allow users to tailor their security measures, enabling a flexible and custom approach to threat prevention.
  • Alert system: Snort, once set up by the user, instantly generates alerts when threats are detected on networks.

Snort is available to download for free on snort.org

pfSense

pfSense

pfSense is a versatile open-source firewall and router distribution based on FreeBSD. It offers a robust and customizable solution for improving network security. Its features, such as VPN support, traffic shaping, and intrusion detection, are fundamental for any router/firewall. Its user-friendly interface makes pfSense perfect for home and enterprise use.

Why we like pfSense:

  • Powerful firewall: pfSense has a powerful firewall that lets users easily enable advanced security configurations, allowing almost anyone to manage it.
  • VPN capabilities: The tool supports various VPN protocols, improving secure remote access.
  • Intrusion Detection System (IDS): pfSense uses an IDS for active threat detection.
  • User-friendly interface: Its intuitive interface makes it accessible for users with different levels of technical expertise.

pfSense is available to download for free on pfsense.org

ClamAV

ClamAV

ClamAV is an open-source antivirus tool famous for its valid malware detection capabilities. Since it’s cross-platform, it’s mostly used on mail servers, providing real-time scanning and automatic updates to protect systems from most known threats. 

Why we like ClamAV:

  • Exceptional malware detection: ClamAV uses a strong real-time scanning engine, continuously updated with the latest malware signatures, ensuring an instant detection of a wide range of viruses.
  • User-friendly interface: Its design makes ClamAV accessible to beginners and experienced users, giving it simpler direct navigation and configuration.
  • ClamScan: ClamScan (or ClamD) provides an option for blocking file access until it has been scanned for malware, preventing the execution of any infected file by mistake.
  • Efficient resource utilization: ClamAV is designed to operate with minimal system resources, ensuring efficient performance without compromising the speed of the user's device.

ClamAV is available to download for free on clamav.net

Forensics/Reverse Engineering Tools

Forensics and Reverse Engineering tools, essential for code analysis and debugging, are closing this comprehensive cyber security tool list.

Radare2

Radare2

Radare2 is a powerful open-source cyber security tool that provides a platform to work on for reverse engineers. It offers a wide set of features for disassembly, debugging, and data analysis, making it a versatile choice for security professionals and, especially, researchers.

Why we like Radare2:

  • Advanced debugging: Radare2 stands out for its solid capabilities in debugging with local native and remote debuggers, making it easy to find and fix bugs.
  • Cross-platform support: Its multi-platform support ensures that Radare2 remains a reliable choice for cyber security tasks regardless of your host system.
  • Active community: The tool benefits from an amazing community of users and developers, ensuring great development and support for everyone.
  • Plugins and extensions: Radare2 has a huge set of plugins and extensions. This feature allows users to customize the tool to their needs.

Radare2 is available to download for free on rada.re

OllyDbg

OllyDbg

OllyDbg is a widely known debugger that allows users to analyze binary code (only for Windows apps). It provides essential reverse engineering and debugging features, helping understand software behavior and security analysis.

Why we like OllyDbg:

  • Intuitive interface: OllyDbg has a really intuitive interface, making it accessible to anyone.
  • Dynamic analysis: Its dynamic analysis capabilities allow for real-time checkups of any program.
  • Scripting support: OllyDbg supports scripting languages (like Python and PowerShell), allowing users to automate tasks and increase their workflow easily.
  • Regular updates: Its developers maintain the tool, ensuring compatibility with the latest Windows PCs and with all the related security standards.

OllyDbg is available to download for free on ollydbg.de

Ghidra

Ghidra

Ghidra is a powerful open-source cyber security tool developed by the National Security Agency (NSA). It offers some really valid reverse engineering capabilities for security professionals. Its main purpose is to analyze and understand malicious software.

Why we like Ghidra:

  • Teamwork feature: Ghidra lets teams easily work together to analyze and figure out complicated code thanks to its cross-platform.
  • Amazing plugins: Ghidra can do many extra things thanks to its support for many plugins, like the Function Graph plugin in Ghidra, which allows users to visualize the control flow graph of a function.
  • Use it anywhere: Ghidra works on different operating systems, so you can use it wherever you need to.
  • Helpful community: Ghidra has a lively community where cyber security professionals share knowledge and help each other.

Ghidra is available to download for free on github.com

x64dbg 

x64dbg

x64dbg is an open-source, feature-rich debugger (for Windows only), allowing users to dissect, analyze, and reverse engineer software. With its set of capabilities/features, x64dbg has become the tool for cyber security professionals, enthusiasts, and researchers.

Why we like x64dbg:

  • Thorough debugging: You can go step by step through the code, mark places to stop and check, and look at the computer's memory.
  • Watching programs: x64dbg allows users to see how a program is running in real time.
  • User-friendly design: The friendly design of x64dbg makes it good for everyone, from people who just started to those who already know a lot.
  • Active community: x64dbg has a really vibrant community of people who use it. This means it's always getting better with updates and new things, while you can also learn a lot from what others share on x64dbg's forum.

x64dbg is available to download for free on sourceforge.net

dnSpy

dnSpy

dnSpy is a powerful open-source debugger and .NET assembly editor that allows users to disassemble, decompile, and debug .NET code. Its intuitive GUI and tools make it a simple yet effective solution for reverse engineering and understanding complex .NET applications.

Why we like dnSpy:

  • Comprehensive debugging: The tool has strong debugging capabilities, to understand the code better and solve bugs more easily.
  • Dynamic analysis: With real-time debugging features, users can dynamically check and analyze code execution.
  • Extensive compatibility: dnSpy supports various .NET assemblies, making it versatile for different projects.
  • Regular updates: The tool is maintained by the dnSpy team, which makes it a to-go .NET debugger and editor.

dnSpy is available to download for free on github.com

Conclusion: Summing up Our Cyber Security Tools List

In conclusion, navigating the intricate world of cyber security requires you to know a diverse arsenal of security tools. This comprehensive list has shown you the essential role played by Networking, Offensive, OSINT, Defensive, and Forensics/Reverse Engineering tools.

From the insights provided by Nmap to the offensive exploits and attacks that Metasploit is capable of, each tool serves a needed role in fortifying against and understanding cyber threats and vulnerabilities.

To learn the techniques and skills to make the most of these tools, as well as connect with mentors, access study and mastermind groups, receive a custom certification and career roadmap, and take top-quality courses and labs, consider becoming a StationX member today!

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  • Tommaso Bona

    Tommaso Bona is a skilled security professional from Italy, working as a Cybersecurity Specialist and Security Engineer. Proficient in Python and Bash, Tommaso shares his knowledge by crafting open-source pentesting tools freely available on his GitHub and helping others develop their abilities through his blog posts. You can reach him on his LinkedIn.

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