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I assume you meant the usual network-based penetration test by that.
If you are asked to mess with a client’s pbx/vmb, physical security,
employees, etc… there are other techniques or hardware involved.
Most penetration tests are conducted in two phases: exploration and
I recommend you tailor a software ‘tool suite’ with those as
guidelines. Depending on your style, organizing tools this way may
or may not be efficient.
Below are examples biased towards Unix; perhaps an NT person has
suggestions for that platform.
Exploration and Analysis
– portscanners:
nmap (
– sniffers:
tcpdump (
ngrep (
dsniff (
– vuln scanners:
vlad (
whisker (
– Samba, nbtscan, l0phtcrack & other tools for windows networks
– the inevitable custom code and scripts
– hunt (
– misc tools (,
– whatever is current from packetstorm/ussrlabs/bugtraq/etc.
for the targets.
This category is dynamic and typically contains unreleased
exploits, in-house code, etc. Its also the attack phase which
causes most ‘script kiddies’ grief, as it requires a lot of creative
tweaking to avoid detection.
A portable computer and disc with various tools compiled for your platform
of choice is a good starting point for a network penetration kit.


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