Top 5 Most Useful Kali Linux Tools for Ethical Hackers

Kali Linux is one of the most loved distributions by the security and ethical hacking community due to its pen testing and exploitation tools. It is a free and open source Linux-based operating system designed for digital forensics, penetration testing, investment, and security auditing. Kali allows you to download a number of security-related programs, such as Metasploit, Nmap, Armitage, Burp, and much more, which can be used to test your network for security loopholes.

It can run natively when installed on your computer’s hard drive, boot from a live CD or live USB, or run in a virtual machine. Kali Linux has many tools available to learn and practice.

In this article we present the top 5 Kali Linux tools that an aspiring (ethical) hacker or security researcher can use.

Top 5 Kali Linux Tools for Ethical Hackers and Security Researchers

1. Nmap (network mapper)

Abbreviated as Nmap, Network Mapper is a versatile must-have tool for network security, as well as being free and open source. It is widely used by security researchers and network administrators for network discovery and security auditing. System administrators use Nmap for network inventory, determining open ports, managing service update schedules, and monitoring host (term used for “network computer”) or service uptime .

The tool uses raw IP packets in many creative ways to determine what hosts are available on the network, what services (application name and version) they offer, what kind of protocols are used to provide the services, what operating system (and versions of the operating system) and possible patches) and what type and version of packet filters / firewalls are being used for the target.

2. Metasploit Framework

This tool is used to exploit (use network weakness to “backdoor”) vulnerabilities (weak spots) in the network. This tool comes in free and paid versions and is not open source. The free version is good for normal exploits, but deep penetration requires the paid version which offers a full set of features. The paid version of Metasploit offers such important features that it deserves the price it claims.

The Metasploit Project is a very popular hacking or hacking tool used by cybersecurity professionals and ethical hackers. Metasploit is essentially a computer security project that provides information on known security vulnerabilities and helps formulate penetration tests and IDS tests.


Some Kali Linux users may rank Wireshark as the ultimate Wi-Fi pen testing tool, though it’s surprising that it didn’t make it to last year’s list. Wireshark is the world’s leading network protocol analyzer. It allows you to see what is happening on your network at a microscopic level. It is the de facto (and often legal) standard in many industries and educational institutions. Wireshark is one of the best network [protocol] analyzer tools available, if not the best.

With Wireshark, you can analyze a network down to the finest detail to see what’s going on. Wireshark can be used to capture live packets, drill down into hundreds of protocols, browse and filter packets, and is cross-platform.

4. aircrack-ng

The aircrack Wi-Fi (Wireless) hacking toolset are legendary because they are so effective when used in the right hands. This tool also makes it to the concise top 10 for the first time. For newbies to this wireless-specific hacking program, aircrack-ng is a WEP 802.11 and WPA-PSK key cracking tool that can recover keys when enough data packets have been captured (in monitor mode).

For those tasked with penetrating and auditing wireless networks, aircrack-ng will become your best friend. It is useful to know that aircrack-ng implements standard FMS attacks along with some optimizations like Korek attacks as well as PTW attacks to make its attacks more powerful. If you’re a mediocre hacker, you can crack WEP in a few minutes and should be quite capable of cracking WPA/WPA2.

5.THC Hydra

Concise polls rank THC Hydra one place short of “John The Ripper” due to user popularity, although it is just as popular as John The Ripper. Essentially, THC Hydra is a fast and stable login hacking tool that will use dictionary or brute force attacks to try various password and login combinations on the login page.

This hacking tool supports a wide set of protocols, including mail (POP3, IMAP, etc.), databases, LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol), SMB, VNC, and SSH (Secure Shell used by VPN software).


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