The hacking toolkit: 13 essential network security utilities

A slideshow of the top tools hackers use to snoop, swipe, and attack corporate systems

Image: iStock / TeamOktopus

Hacking grabs headlines because it's very easy to visualize shadowy cabals of nefarious Bad Guys perched behind glowing monitors pecking at secret sauce software that will soon cripple your network, or swipe critical corporate data.

To be clear, this does happen every day. Corporate and SMB networks are at risk at all times of being penetrated and exploited. However, with a few exceptions, hacking teams rarely conspire in the shadows. Most groups function more like businesses that rely on time-tested software to achieve tactical goals.

SEE: Enterprise encryption: Trends, strategic needs, and best practices (Tech Pro Research story)

"Magic bullet" software does not exist. There is no single app that will be used to attack, or help defend all desktop, mobile, and IoT networks. Instead, a suite of open source and commercial software is used to map networks, sniff packets, and crack passwords. These are the most widely used exploitation tools.

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​Image: iStock / TeamOktopus

By Dan Patterson

Dan is a writer, reporter, and producer. He is currently a reporter for at CBS News and was previously a Senior Writer for TechRepublic.