Which are the best Windows pentesting tools?
If you check out the most popular online ethical hacking communities and forums, you’ll realize one thing…
Most of them ethical hackers and pentesters talk about their favorite Linux pentesting tools. This Linux bias might lead you to think that penetration testing cannot be done on a Windows machine or that there a no great pentesting tools for Windows.
That cannot be further from the truth.
I have been doing penetration testing for a few years and work with all the 3 most popular operating systems for hacking: Windows, Linux and Mac.
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In this post today, we are going to look at the top Windows pentesting tools in 2021.
Technically, we’ll be looking at the Linux tools that also work on Windows.
Most of the tools I will be mentioning here are free and open source.
If you want some great materials for learning how to use these Windows pentesting tools, these online penetration testing tutorials will get you started.
While free and open source Windows pentesting tools are great, you might enjoy great vendor support if you go for the paid alternatives.
By using these Windows pentest tools, you’ll be able to perform your ethical hacking tasks just as you’d do on a Mac or Linux machine.
Let’s get started.
Wireshark is one of the most popular free and open source Windows pentesting tools in 2021.
It enables you to analyze network protocols and network traffic at a micro level.
Using this pentest tool for Windows, you can know what is going on in your organization network by capturing the network packets, decrypting them and viewing the actual content.
Wireshark even makes analyzing network traffic easier by filtering, ordering and organizing them through a GUI.
However, in order to be able to use this tool adequately, you need to learn about network protocols so that you can analyze and understand the data obtained.
Nmap, which stands for Network Mapper, is another very popular Windows penetration testing tool that is used for information gathering.
If you follow the correct network pentesting checklist, you’ll use Nmap at the information gathering stage before you model your attack.
It enables you to get insights into the host IP address, all hosts on the network and the services they offer, the server software and version numbers they run, among other network information that is important for penetration testing.
Nmap also comes built-in with firewall evasion and spoofing features.
This is a must have tool if you want to take your Windows pentesting skills to the next level.
Netsparker is also one of the top Windows pentesting tools for web application penetration testing.
Through this pentest tool for Windows, you’ll be able to detect SQL injections, XSS and other vulnerabilities in your web applications.
Because it is able to detect and verify vulnerabilities on your network using proof-based scanning technology, you won’t spend a lot of time to manually verify for false positives.
It is also popular because you can integrate it into any test or development environment in Windows.
Netsparker is available either as a Windows software or as a SAAS online.
4. Burp Suite
Burp Suite is a Windows penetration testing tool that is popular among web application penetration testers.
It comes with a combination of tools out of the box that work seamlessly together to deliver the best pentest results.
If you want a complete list of other web security tools, check out my other article on the best web pentesting tools for pentesters.
Burp Suite starts by first mapping the application’s attack surface before proceeding to exploit its security vulnerabilities.
Apart from being an easy to use Windows pentest tool, it enables you to combine both manual and automated techniques for a better pentest experience.
It can detect over 3,000 vulnerabilities with close to 100% accuracy.
Nikto is a Windows based tool for pentesting web applications.
It enables you to run a full web server scan in order to detect any security vulnerabilities or loopholes.
Through this Windows hacking tool, you’ll be able to detect unsecure files, outdated server software as well as server misconfigurations that are easily exploitable.
Nikto pentesting tool is free and open source with a great community behind it.
Just like Burp Suite, it is able to detect 6,000+ server vulnerabilities with very low false positive outcomes.
6. Metasploit Framework
Metasploit is a popular Windows based penetration testing tool that is built using the Ruby programming language.
It is a collection of various testing tools and frameworks that can be used to perform various exploitation tasks.
Using the Metasploit framework, you’ll be able to gain very critical information about the security vulnerabilities of a target machine.
You can then use this information to model a thorough attack plan using the correct pentesting methodology.
Because it is a very popular Windows pentest tool, it has a huge collection of free learning materials to get you started.
In fact, I would say it is a must have tool if you are serious about a career in Windows penetration testing.
Nessus is another popular web scanner, just like Nmap, that runs on the Windows operating system.
It is one of the most potent vulnerability scanners available that you must watch out for.
You’ll use it to perform compliance checks, to scan for sensitive data, IP addresses and websites with a view to finding the potential weak spots.
In order to start using Nessus, all you need to do is feed in the IP address of your target and then launch the scanner.
Even though it is a paid tool, there is free version of this Windows hacking tool that is freely available for personal use.
It also gives you the option to download a detailed scan report in various formats for further analysis.
8. John the Ripper
John the Ripper is a Windows penetration testing tool that is often used for password cracking.
It is free and open source and is capable of cracking even the most complicated passwords.
You can also use John the Ripper for detecting password strength and encryption type on a Windows machine.
It has a very smart password cracking algorithm that is able to detect the encryption type and switch to the appropriate password hacking function automatically.
This Windows password cracking tool uses brute force technology to break passwords with different encryption algorithms like MD4, MD5, Kerberos, Hash LM etc.
9. THC Hydra
THC Hydra is another very popular open source Windows hacking tool, just like John the Ripper.
It uses brute for attack, just like JTR, to brute force attack remote authentication servers.
In fact, it is one of the best Windows pentesting tools for cracking passwords for any kind of server environment.
Even though it is available for use on Windows operating system, THC Hydra is also available for use on other operating systems like Linux and Mac.
I would consider it a must have password cracking tool if your want to become a professional penetration tester today.
10. Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP)
ZAP, which stands for Zed Attack Proxy, is a pentesting tool for Windows that’s used for auditing the security of a web application.
It can help you detect security vulnerabilities in your web application while still in development mode.
ZAP is a great automated testing tool though it can also be used for manual testing by experienced testers.
It works by standing as a middle man between the browser and the web application where it intercepts and moderates transmitted messages.
This Windows ethical hacking tool has great crawling features that are up to speed with the latest web technologies like AJAX spiders and web socket support.
It’s also available for Linux and Mac.
SQLMap is a free and open source Windows pentest tool that helps in automating SQL injection detection in applications.
It is popular because it support almost all of the main database management systems and SQL injection techniques.
Here are some of the database software that SQLMap supports: MySQL, Oracle, Postgresql, SQLite, Microsoft SQL Server among others.
Some of the SQL injection techniques that it supports include: boolean-based blind, UNION queries and stacked queries.
It can also employ dictionary attack method to crack hash based passwords.
Even though it might not be possible to make your system 100% secure, you must at least weed out some of the most obvious vulnerabilities from your system.
In fact companies have realized the need to build robust and secure systems.
It’s for this reason that the demand for pentesting skills is at an all time high.
However, regardless of your skill level, for you to be able to perform a thorough penetration test and secure a network, you must use the right tools for the job.
All the Windows penetration testing tools I have mentioned in this list are great for setting up your own penetration testing lab.
Since most people already have Windows machines, you wont need to spend money buying a Mac to set yourself up.
These penetration testing tools for Windows work just as great as their Linux versions.
However, if you want to check out what options you have with Linux, here are the top Kali Linux penetration testing tools to check out.
I hope this list of pentesting tools for Windows OS has helped you discover the tools you need to set up a powerful Windows pentesting lab.
Have you used any of these Windows pentesting tools before?
Please share your thoughts in the comments below.