Cybersecurity tools include a wide range of OS environments and applications that cybersecurity professionals might need to perform their jobs.
These tools don’t have the same functionality as enterprise-wide solutions like SIEM, which use a single product throughout the company at all times.
One person can use a cybersecurity tool to identify vulnerabilities in an organization’s networks, systems, and applications. Many vulnerabilities would not be detected and many security threats would continue to thrive without these tools.
Cybersecurity professionals can choose from a variety of tools to help them find the right tools for their particular needs. It is important to have a variety of tools. Different tools are best for different people. Someone less experienced might need a tool with minimal configuration while someone more experienced might want more customization options to detect more complex vulnerabilities.
Be careful: Never download or use any cybersecurity tools at work without permission. These tools should not be used against other networks or systems without their permission.
Categories of cybersecurity tools
The following are the most popular cybersecurity tools to find vulnerabilities in 2021:
- Security-centric Linux distributions. You need an OS to install them. These Linux distributions were designed to be used as a platform for cybersecurity tool usage. They are ideal for starting vulnerability scanning, penetration testing, and other tasks. These tools often have other cybersecurity tools already installed, which can help you save a lot of time.
- Network traffic visibility. There is a variety of tools that can give you some visibility into network traffic. There are packet sniffers that capture packets and traffic analyzers that explain the meaning of captured packets. Proxies have man-in-the-middle (MitM), access to certain traffic so they can monitor it and sometimes alter it.
- Vulnerability scanners. This group includes tools that can find hosts and determine which network ports are open. They also can identify software flaws or misconfigurations in OSes and applications. Many vulnerability scanner tools are focused on web server and web application vulnerabilities. Not only can vulnerability scanners find vulnerabilities but they also can issue exploits to exploit them.
- Exploitation Tools. These tools can launch cyber attacks. They are primarily used for penetration testing. Each tool is capable of executing a different set of attacks. You can also use some tools for testing security in non-production environments.
For cybersecurity professionals, more guidance in 2021
- Step-by-step guide
- How can you ensure cybersecurity for employees working remotely
- Cybersecurity training: How to create a solid plan
Highlighted open-source tools
There are many open-source and commercial cybersecurity tools, with more being released each day. Below is a list of open-source tools that will be essential in identifying vulnerabilities in 2021. Open source tools offer many benefits beyond being free software. You and other members of the community can inspect the source code and verify that it is valid and only does what it is supposed to. Some of these tools are old, while others are newer. Each tool has been highly valuable and useful in its own right, but they can also be combined.
1. Kali Linux
- Category: Security-centric Linux distribution
- Features: Linux’s OS is highly secured. It has network services disabled by default to reduce its visibility and attack surface. There are over 600 cybersecurity tools available.
- Use Case: Kali Linux was created for experienced Linux administrators and users who require a separate environment to conduct penetration testing. It is compatible with many different hardware platforms as well as containers and public cloud environments.
- Category: Network traffic visibility
- Features: Wireshark can capture and analyze network traffic to help you understand it. It can also analyze network traffic captured from other tools. Wireshark is equipped with hundreds of application and network protocols.
- Use Case: Wireshark (formerly Ethereal) is a utility that provides a foundational tool for everyone. It is suitable for all levels of users, including beginners who want to learn about network communications and experts who need to quickly identify protocols they don’t know or detailed information about communications.
3. Open Vulnerability Assessment Scanner, OpenVAS
- Category: Vulnerability scanner
- Features: OpenVAS is a vulnerability scanner. It includes more than 50,000 vulnerability checks and allows users to create custom checks. OpenVAS can scan for vulnerabilities in a variety of IT services and software, as well as lower-level operational technology (OT) such as industrial control systems. This is what makes OpenVAS stand out.
- Use Case: OpenVAS can identify many vulnerabilities in IT, OT systems, and networks. OpenVAS can identify the most recent vulnerabilities every day.
4. Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP).
- Category: Security scanner, visibility to network traffic
- Features: ZAP is a web-application vulnerability scanner. It acts as a proxy between your web browser, and a web app. It has full access to the communication of the web application, so it can analyze and scan for possible vulnerabilities.
- Use Case: ZAP can be used to test your web applications for exploitable flaws, as part of vulnerability scanning or software testing.
- Category: A testing tool for penetration
- Features sqlmap is a penetration test tool that targets database servers. It can also exploit vulnerabilities through other attacks. It can also crack passwords, increase privileges and copy databases tables.
- Use Case: SQLmap is typically used to perform penetration testing. It can give administrator-level access, so it is best to use sqlmap in nonproduction environments.