Building out your pentest toolkit means trying different tools, seeing what works for you or your organization, and putting together a system and workflow that best suits your needs. That can mean trialing and trying hundreds of tools. And, while many pentest tools are completely free, many are not. In fact, some of the world’s most popular pentest tools are quite a bit expensive.
This list covers the top 10 premium pentest tools with some insight into their features. If you’re looking for free and open source tools check here, or check our list of 300+ tools to see what’s there.
In no particular order:
Burp Suite Pro
Burp Suite Pro is the leading AST tool for recon and enumeration. It also connects to numerous other tools, has a massive number of add-ons, and can be a complete platform for web application pentesting. That’s especially true with must-have tools like ActiveScan ++, WSDL Wizard, and Retire.js
Burp Suite costs from 499 euro per year per user or 1,999 for the enterprise edition. Or, if you want an unlimited license (unlimited users/unlimited scans, unlimited applications) you’ll pay 49,999 euro per year.
“Burp is a go-to” says Mike Terhaar, chief pentester at Cyver and co-founder at Cyver Core. “Not only does it offer a huge toolkit, it replaces many smaller tools like recon & enumeration, simplifying the number of places you have to check”.
Nessus Pro is the go-to for many pentest teams as it offers one of the best recon tools and frameworks on the market. With asset discovery, configuration auditing, target profiling, sensitive data-discovery, etc., it’s a one-stop-shop for recon. If you upgrade to “expert” you also get attack surface scanning and compliance audits”. Tenable’s Nessus Pro is also arguably still one of the best scanners in the industry. Hoever, at a minimum of 4,000 euro per year, it’s not cheap.
Metasploit Pro is one of the most popular vulnerability framework with a web application scanner, automated exploitation, and reporting. If you want the Metasploit framework, you need Metasploit pro. That makes it a must-have for many, and one of the most commonly licensed pro pentest tools on the market. Of course, with current pricing hovering at around $15,000 per year, it’s not cheap. Pro does offer more options, including the option to veil, so it is worth the money if you have the customers for it.
“Metasploit is flexible, old-school, and makes life a lot easier”, says Mike, “But not everyone will find it’s worth the price and many pentesters are better off with an open source tool like ReNgine. However, the combination of vulnerability scanning like NMap makes it a really valuable tool. If there are exploits, you can automate trying to exploit them so you can take over and get user level access, etc., which just makes it a really valuable tool”
Invicti’s rebrand of Netsparker remains one of the best web and code vulnerability scanners on the market. It also includes compliance, proof of exploit tooling, API security testing, and software composition analysis, meaning that one tool can take the place of many others in your toolbox. However, like other scanners, it’s primarily intended to be set up with a single domain.
“If you need a list before you pentest, this is your go-to tool”, says Mike.
Maltego is a go-to tool for red teaming, offering insights into the complete environment. The tool costs $999 per year,. But is an intelligence and graphical link analysis tool for intelligence and forensics. It’s useful for insights, for insertion, etc.
“If you use this, you need the paid version, because the free version offers only limited information. It would be a favorite if it weren’t so expensive,” says Mike, “as it is, I normally use Shodan and Harvester in ReNgine instead, but Maltego is really good”
Splunk offers cloud insights and threat detection via a cloud platform. This tool is best for internal teams, but pentesters can use it for alerts on targets and general information gathering. Pricing is based on volume usage, so pentest teams with more clients will pay more for the platform.
Rapid7’s InsightVM is a powerful risk and vulnerability scanner for network and on-premise infrastructure. Again, this tool is aimed at internal teams. However, it offers insight into vulnerabilities across your network, giving IT better tools to manage and remediate vulnerabilities even across teams.
AppTrana is a vulnerability manager with Cloud WAAP (Waf) scanning, patch management, and active protection against multiple known vulnerabilities and attacks. It also integrates into scanners and firewalls with pentesting capabilities for internal testing of your own applications and networks. Of course, at $399 per month, it is for commercial use only, but otherwise offers significant support for teams wishing to roll vulnerability and attack management into one platform.
Qualys is one of the most widely used scanners, with vulnerability, threat, and posture management integrated. The cloud tool is aimed at IT and internal pentest teams and includes attack surface scanning, risk management, and compliance management. It’s also commonly used by pentesters and security consultants to monitor and scan client applications, so it’s not just an internal tool.
What do you think? Do you agree with these top 10 premium pentest tools? Or do you prefer other solutions?