Who doesn't love free stuff? Everyone loves something that comes free, most especially software and learning resources.
Some free software can be dangerous to use, which doesn't connote that we do not have free software that is highly relevant and useful. They are essential tools for Cybersecurity professionals in carrying out their day to day activities with ease.
Irrespective of the area of cybersecurity you are as stated in our cybersecurity guide, There is at least one or two useful cybersecurity tools on this list for you. These tools are great in defending against cyberattacks.
Although some tools have certain restrictions for those who do not wish to pay, most of the free features available are top-notch in performing daily security tasks.
The Ten Free Cybersecurity Tools
1. Kali Linux
Kali is a popular operating system. The Linux based OS was formerly known as BackTrack. Kali allows users to use various tools for some specific features like port scanners and password crackers. Those features have made the operating system a must-have for security professionals.
Kali's tools are grouped into the following categories: information gathering, vulnerability analysis, wireless attacks, web applications, exploitation tools, forensics, sniffing and spoofing, password attacks, maintaining access, reverse engineering, reporting, and hardware hacking.
Nmap is an open-source tool for network exploration and security auditing. It's an excellent asset for a Network Security Engineer. Nmap was built to rapidly scan large networks, though it also works against single hosts. According to the NMap website, the scanner uses raw IP packets to determine what hosts are available on the network.
It also detects which services those hosts are offering, what operating systems they are running on, what types of packet filters/firewalls are in use, and dozens of other characteristics. Beyond its usefulness as a security audit tool, it is also useful for network inventory and managing service upgrade schedules.
Wireshark is a network protocol analyzer which allows users to capture and interactively browse the traffic running on a computer network. It performs activities like live capture, offline analysis and deep inspection of hundreds of protocols. It is cross-platform, running on Windows, Linux, OS X, Solaris, FreeBSD, NetBSD, etc. Among its more esoteric features it can analyze VOIP traffic; decrypt SSL/TLS, WEP and WPA/WPA2 traffic, and read traffic carried over USB, Bluetooth and even Frame Relay.
What Wireshark does for Ethernet, Aircrack-ng does for Wi-Fi. It's a complete suite of tools for monitoring packets, testing hardware, cracking passwords and launching attacks on Wi-Fi networks. Version 1.2, released in April 2018, brought significant improvements in speed and security and extended the range of hardware Aircrack-ng can work with.
5. Burp Suite
Burp Suite is a web app security testing platform. Its various tools support the entire testing process, from initial mapping and analysis of an application's attack surface to finding and exploiting security vulnerabilities. Tools within the suite include a proxy server, web spider, intruder and a so-called repeater, with which requests can be automated.
It offers a free edition that lacks the web vulnerability scanner and some of the advanced manual tools.
Nessus is one of the world's most popular vulnerability and configuration assessment tools. It started life as an open-source project, but developer Tenable switched to a proprietary license way back in version 3. As of October 2020, it's up to version 8.12.1. Despite that, Nessus is still free for personal use on home networks, scanning up to 16 IP addresses. A commercial version will allow you to scan an unlimited number of IP addresses. Information made available on the tenable website shows that Nessus features high-speed discovery, configuration auditing, asset profiling, data discovery, patch management integration and vulnerability analysis.
Nessus is trusted by more than 30,000 organizations worldwide as one of the most deployed security technology.
Autopsy is a Window OS/ Linux software that is popular in the world of forensic analysis.
The tool's development is led by Brian Carrier, whose team builds easy-to-use tools for cyber first responders to intrusions, crime scenes, and war zones. The software is the premier end-to-end open source digital forensic platform.
The software has core features that are expected in commercial forensic tools. Fast, Reliable and Efficient in hard drive investigation for forensic analysis.
8. The Harvester
The Harvester is an Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT) tool used to obtain subdomain names, email addresses and usernames relating to a domain, drawing on public sources such as Google and LinkedIn. A favourite among pen testers, it lets the user conduct passive reconnaissance and build target profiles that include a list of usernames and email addresses — or research the exposure of their own.
Metasploit started as a portable network tool in 2003 when H.D Moore created it before it was entirely rewritten by Ruby a few years after. This project resulted in the Metasploit Framework, an open-source platform for writing security tools and exploits. In 2009, Rapid7, a vulnerability management solution company, acquired the Metasploit Project. Before the acquisition, all development of the framework occurred in the developer's spare time, eating up most weekends and nights. Rapid7 agreed to fund a full-time development team and keep the source code under the three-clause BSD license that is still in use today.
Metasploit runs on Unix (including Linux and macOS) and Windows. The Metasploit Framework also uses add-ons in multiple languages.
10. Cain and Abel
Cain and Abel is a handy security tool in decoding an encrypted password. Built from the ground up to be extremely helpful to users who have forgotten passwords for some of their most-used apps on their home PC, Cain and Abel feature powerful decoding algorithms and extensive decrypting tools.
Importance of These Tools
The ten free tools listed cut across various areas of cybersecurity. One or a combination of more than one of the aforementioned tools can be used in performing any of the following:
- Port scanning
- Penetration testing
- Web analysis
- Password cracking
- Packet sniffing and analyzing
- Forensic analysis
- Packet intercepting and modification.
The open-source software available for cybersecurity operations are numerous, and security personnel should tap into the available tools to protect their organizations. However, not all free software are good enough for organizations. Before picking any of the free software, enough information gathering is important in other not to fall into the trap of a software developer with malicious intentions.