Best Laptops for Cyber Security Majors
Again and again one hears about hacker attacks on companies or government agencies. Just recently, a cyber attack on the State Department was reported. These attacks often involve the theft of large amounts of personal data.
No company, public authority or institution can do without IT security today. Customer data or business secrets must be protected at all costs, otherwise your own existence is at stake or the reputation of a company can be extremely damaged.
IT security experts and Cyber Security Majors have therefore become increasingly sought-after specialists in recent years. Companies, institutions and authorities of all sizes and industries are constantly looking for qualified security experts! An IT security course of study or an Major in Cyber Security also offers the opportunity to work as a self-employed IT consultant. In addition, exciting jobs in development and research are also open to you after your graduation.
The Cyber Security Major provides you with sound and practical knowledge in the fields of computer science, information technology and cryptography. For the major part of your studies you will deal with topics such as algorithms and data structures, computer architectures or software engineering. In addition to the technical content, you will acquire basic skills in IT law during the IT Security course.
Whether you are just starting to program or have been doing it for a long time, choosing a good laptop is of paramount importance, as this laptop will be your workstation for the foreseeable future. There are a lot of laptops out there and not everyone is equally good. There are many things that make a good laptop for developers and programmers. In this article we will list the best laptops for Cyber Security Majors that you can buy now:
What you should look for in a good programming laptop
Before we start our article, let’s take a look at the factors you should look for when you are looking for a Cyber Security Major laptop. Basically there are four things you should consider : processor, memory, operating system and memory. The ideal programmer should have an Intel Core i5 processor, 8 GB RAM and SSD as memory. These laptops should be easily compatible with most programming languages such as Java, C ++, Python, C #, Objective-C, etc. The choice of operating system depends on your requirements. For example, if you are trying to code for Mac OS or iOS, you have no choice but to buy an Apple computer.
The choice of a good Cyber Security Major laptop for you also depends on what language or encoding software you will use. For example, if you want to create Android apps and use Android Studio, you will need a laptop with at least 8GB of RAM. If you plan to program in Swift for iPhone app development, a programming language developed by Apple, you will need a macOS device. If you are developing a graphically and/or computationally intensive program, you should invest in a top-of-the-line laptop with a good CPU and GPU.
In general, dedicated graphics is not a requirement, but if you have an option, choose the laptop that has one. However, I know that everyone has a different budget and not everyone can afford a laptop that meets all of the above criteria. That is why we have created a list of laptops that should cover the needs of people in all price ranges without compromising.
Test Results: Best Laptops for Cyber Security Majors
Ranking First: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon
- Top display in 4K
- Very fast
- Very quiet
- Fan noise under load
Best Performance for a laptop for Cyber Security Majors
The Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon series is one of the extra light notebooks. The manufacturer has once again revised the 2019 version: with more speed and even more pixels.
Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon: lots of power
The 14-inch notebook weighs just 4.6 lbs. – only a few competitors can keep up and they are often a bit wobbly. The X1 Carbon’s case, on the other hand, is very solid, which users quickly notice when they lift the opened notebook with one hand. The X1 Carbon contains a fast four-core Core i7 processor, which together with 16 gigabytes of memory ensures a powerful speed at work. Even performance guzzlers like Photoshop run at high speed on the X1, because the data is supplied by a fast and quite large (512 gigabytes) SSD with PCIe technology. Lenovo has saved itself an extra graphics chip – usual for notebooks of this size, as there is hardly any room for the necessary additional fan. Therefore, the graphics unit in the processor has to go for it. It’s no problem to watch work or videos, but it’s much too slow for games. Even with reduced resolution, only 14 frames per second on average jerked across the display.
Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon: Top display
A matter of course with expensive notebook series: The equipment can be adapted to the user’s needs. The X1, for example, has several 14-inch displays from Full HD (1920×1080 pixels) to WQHD (2560×1440 pixels) to 4K (3840×2160 pixels). The surcharge for the 4K variant is hefty, but worth it: The display convinced in the test with a razor-sharp picture and a very high-contrast and accurate color display. It is also very bright. This is not only useful when working outdoors, the display can also display HDR images and videos with an extended contrast range in full splendor. The display variants with a lower resolution can’t achieve this, but are available with an anti-reflective display surface – the 4K, on the other hand, is glossy and clearly reflects.
Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon: Quiet and durable
The Lenovo lasts for about four and a half hours at work – a good value. When watching a video, the battery is already low after three and a half hours – the super display takes its toll there. Charging doesn’t take long: The battery is full again after an hour and 55 minutes. The power adapter is connected via USB-C. This is how not only the included charger works, but also those of other manufacturers. Good: On weaker models, the X1 warns the user that the power is not enough to charge the battery during operation.
Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon: Three times network
With WLAN (802.11ac with 2.4 and 5 Gigahertz) and Bluetooth (5.0), the X1 Carbon offers standard features – with these wireless technologies come many current notebooks. What not every notebook offers: The X1 Carbon also offers a built-in network socket and can therefore also be connected to wired networks. The network socket on the device is a special plug, but Lenovo includes an adapter with a socket for standard cables in RJ45 format. Too bad: The adapter is a bit too wide and blocks one of the two USB-C sockets when plugged in. On the way to the internet? No problem, the X1 Carbon is also available with an LTE modem, just like the tested model variant. The slot for the SIM card is somewhat hidden on the back.
Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon: Top keyboard
Keyboard and touchpad are really good: good typing feel, clear pressure point, precise cursor control. And if you absolutely don’t want to switch back and forth between keyboard and touchpad, you can also use the built-in mini-joystick as a mouse replacement. As in many notebooks, the top row of keys is doubled and can be used either as function keys or to adjust notebook settings such as screen brightness or volume. Lenovo has well hidden the function for turning the keyboard lighting on and off: This can be done via the key combination “Fn” plus space bar.
Verdict: Best performance for a Cyber Security Majors laptop
If you’re looking for a quiet, light-weight and lightning-fast notebook for working and Cyber Security Major courses, the Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon is just right. The 4K display is a real force: crisply sharp, high-contrast, color-true and HDR-capable. Only gamers (too little speed in games) and money savers (high price) have to keep on searching.
Ranking Second: HP Elite Dragonfly
- Outstanding battery life
- Cool and quiet
- Excellent processing
- Good performance
- Reflective display
Best price-performance ratio for a Cyber Security Major laptop
The packaging is very chic and reminds of certain competing products with nibbled apples on it. It opens like a treasure chest and reveals first the Dragonfly and underneath – very clearly arranged – the power supply and the enclosed HP Precision Pen. Another nice thing is that magnets hold the lid in place and the majority of the packaging is made of cardboard.
The power supply is very compact and is attached directly to the Dragonfly via one of the USB-C ports. It has a cloth-covered cable, which looks high-quality and is less likely to get tangled. Unfortunately, all parts are still separately wrapped in plastic. One could have done without this. If you want to experience the process of unpacking up close, then take a look at our unboxing video:
Design and finish – Sophisticated and premium
Special features await us in the selection of materials. The magnesium in the alloy is to consist mainly of recycled marine waste. The indigo blue colour is also intended to remind us of the depths of the ocean. I like it in any case and it also feels very good to the touch. This is partly due to the matt surface of the Elite Dragonfly. It even has an oliophobic coating that can prevent fingerprints. These are usually the Achilles’ heel in the appearance of metal Ultrabooks. A very good idea, which has also been implemented sensibly in practice. With a light wipe, the unsightly marks disappear.
The convertible’s haptics are also very good. It seems torsionally stiff and is excellently manufactured. The hinges are solidly manufactured and keep the display in position even during heavy typing orgies. If you want to adjust it, you hardly need any effort and the screen slides smoothly into position. When the tablet mode screen is completely flipped down, magnets hold the Dragonfly display in position and ensure that it lies flat in your hand.
The design of the Elite Dragonfly suits me personally very well. It radiates a high-quality, yet discreet charm, which appears modernistic and independent with its wedge shape and rounded corners. In my opinion, the chrome HP lettering could have been saved. In contrast to the rest of the case, it’s a sure-fire food for fingerprints.
The display bezels are very narrow on the sides and somewhat thicker at the top and bottom. This is probably due to the webcam and the light sensor, which are both located on the top. A well thought-out detail is also the integrated webcam bezel. Two microphones and the wireless antennas are also located above the display.
Connections – Only almost fully equipped
On the connection side, HP only offers you almost a full configuration with the Dragonfly, because a (micro) SD card reader is not included. Especially if you have to load photos from your camera onto the device frequently, the constant lugging around of adapters is not optimal.
But that’s it when it comes to complaining, because otherwise I’m very impressed by the connectivity. On the right side you’ll find a full HDMI port, the combi jack for microphone and headphones as well as two full USB-C ports.
Both type-C ports support HP Sleep and Charge with up to 65W. This means that you can charge another device even when the notebook is off. They also serve as a charging port for the convertible at the same time.
They also offer Thunderbolt 3 functionality. So you can attach an eGPU to the case and turn the Elite Dragonfly into a gaming machine. Creative people who don’t want to put a desktop in their living room or study room could also use an eGPU to speed up their rendering times massively. Admittedly, the group of buyers for this is rather small, but I always find these expansion possibilities very exciting. Above all, it promises to be future-proof – which is anything but self-evident with an Ultrabook.
On the other side, there is the Kensington lock, a USB-A port and a nano sim card slot for mobile use. All in all, the Elite Dragonfly thus offers a wide range of connectivity options. This should be more than enough for you in most everyday situations and business use.
Display – Private and bright – but bright enough?
The first impression of the display at 100% brightness is a painful one – because the screen subjectively has a decent brightness, which can dazzle you in darker rooms. But this also makes it predestined for relaxed work outdoors or in very bright interiors. Our test model comes along with the 1000 Nit strong Full-HD top model after all. The 4K display, which can offer a higher color accuracy, but also shines less brightly, ranks one class above it. The very good screen-to-body ratio of 86% always remains the same.
If you’re dependent on colour accuracy, you can get along without an external monitor while on the road. A 98% coverage of the sRGB color space and 81% of the Adobe color space are very good values for a convertible. Especially the coverage of the Adobe color space leaves all other competitors we tested behind – strong. With these values you can edit solid and ambitious images in Photoshop.
The Dragonfly also scores points for the illumination. It is fairly even, but the bright display doesn’t keep what HP promises. We couldn’t reach the promised 1000 nits in any of our test scenarios. The display manages a little over 586 cd/m² at its peak, the average is 549 cd/m². This is still very bright, but is a full 45% below the manufacturer’s specifications. Probably the stated 1000 nits are only reached as a short boost brightness, but couldn’t be elicited with a flash on the light sensor either. Nevertheless, 550 Nits is a very good value for an Ultrabook.
Keyboard, touchpad and pen – precise and high quality
I was positively surprised by the keyboard of the Elite Dragonfly, because writing texts is really fun with it. In contrast to many competitors, it provides a pleasant feedback while writing due to its good pressure point. Other Ultrabook writing devices often feel too soft, so that one often accidentally wipes over a key. The Dragonfly’s keyboard thus offers a good compromise between “clickiness” and a short pressure point. No comparison to many cheaper devices. On the right under the keyboard you can also find the very fast fingerprint reader.
The touchpad is located exactly in the middle of the convertible. It has a Microsoft Precision certification and you can feel it from the first touch. In HP’s Envy, which we tested here, there was still a model without comparable certification. The difference is really dramatic. The input is many times more responsive and the touchpad’s feel is beyond reproach. Normally, I wouldn’t call myself a touchpad fan and connect an external mouse to many notebooks after a very short time. But I didn’t even come close to being tempted after a few days of working on the device. The size of the touchpad is also pleasantly chosen and more than sufficient for my rather large hands.
The Precision Pen drops off easily in terms of processing. A bit strange is that the pen doesn’t want to stick symmetrically to the lid of the Elite Dragonfly. Maybe the designers here thought: “Asymmetry is in”, but for me as a neatness freak, this is a little flaw.
Software – Pleasantly clean
Microsoft Windows 10 Pro is pre-installed in our model. Unfortunately, clean versions of the operating system have become rare, but HP has – compared to some of its other models – been very cautious here. Candy Crush and Farm Heroes saga can now also be found in the Surface series from Microsoft.
There are also a few programs from HP that should support you in your daily life. For the control of the speakers “Bang & Olufsen Audio Control” is preinstalled. None of the programs is absolutely necessary. If you don’t want to use them, you can simply uninstall them.
Performance – Everything goes from the house – except gaming
In everyday use the Elite Dragonfly is highly performant in all office applications, surfing or streaming. The built-in Samsung 512 GB SSD cuts a fine figure and fits in the upper area of the tested storage media. It achieves read rates of more than 1200 MB/s and is also very good at writing with just over 600 MB/s. However, the hard disk performance drops somewhat in comparison to the other performance.
In our new Lightroom benchmark, the Convertible exports 20 raw files in just 51 seconds. A Ryzen 3700U from AMD took almost 40 seconds longer for the same task. The 16 GB of RAM is a positive factor here.
Even more demanding tasks like light video editing or Photoshop sessions are no problem thanks to the hardware equipment. But if you want to gamble, you can only do so with restrictions. The integrated UHD 620 offers enough performance for older games – provided you turn down the details.
Battery – Almost as good as advertised
HP has really promised a lot for the battery – 24 hours on the top model installed here would be groundbreaking. The dragonfly won’t last that long, but it is still miles ahead of its competitors. It already reaches a pleasant 200 cd/m² with 56% screen brightness. These are already more than sufficient for working in a bright office. With this setting I got a full 15 hours of battery life with moderate surfing and texting. The battery profile set for this was “More Battery Efficiency”, which slightly throttles the CPU on the go. 4k streaming at 60fps are still no problem for the Core-i7.
Verdict: Best price-performance ratio for a Cyber Security Major laptop
The HP Elite Dragonfly has become a really great device and has almost completely convinced me in the test. The workmanship is not quite on the same level as Microsoft’s Surface series, but it absolutely meets luxury demands. It is sufficiently fast and always stays quiet and cool. The display doesn’t reach the promised 1000 nits in normal use, but still achieves remarkable values. On top of that, it is excellently calibrated and thus also suitable for image editing on the go. It also offers a great privacy setting with SureView, which really makes sense in everyday use. The product also looks very well thought out in other respects.
I would even describe the touch and writing performance of the display as best in class. Drawing work is really fun on it. You also get a very good keyboard with great feedback.
But the real unique selling point is the battery life. With it the dragonfly is enthroned above all its competitors. Even the previous primus, the Dell XPS 13, is left behind.
However, so much quality has its price, which is very fair and makes the dragonfly our price-performance ratio winner for the best Cyber Security Major laptops. In return you get a convertible, which impresses with its all-round quality and doesn’t afford any real weakness. No competing product can keep up here at the moment. I am at least looking forward to further products of the Elite-Dragonfly series and it is difficult for me to give my test model back.
Ranking Third: Asus ZenBook 14
- Compact and durable design
- Solid productivity performance
- Decent speakers
- Innovative LED numpad
- No Thunderbolt 3
Great laptop for Cyber Security Majors
The Asus Zenbook 14’s 14 inch display has, like current smartphones, only a very narrow bezel. The image content thus appears larger because less distracts from it, the ratio of screen to display case turns out more clearly in favor of the display – Asus gives a “screen-to-body ratio” of 92 percent. Including the lid edge, the lateral black edges of the nano-edge display measure 4.5 millimeters. The frame also turns out very narrow at the top and bottom, but there is still enough room for the camera, which also supports Windows Hello.
Asus is primarily targeting professional notebook users with the Zenbook: They appreciate the larger screen diagonal of 14 inches, but get a laptop that isn’t larger and heavier than a usual 13 inch notebook. The 16 millimeter flat, dark blue case looks very elegant, but fingerprints remain clearly visible on it.
In addition to the slim display frame, the Zenbook offers other extras: The Ergolift hinge ensures that the notebook keyboard is slightly slanted when the lid is opened. This should make typing easier. The touchpad offers a number field function: You activate it by clicking into the touchpad field in the upper right corner. Then the Zenbook displays a number field layout on the touchpad – useful if you often work with tables, for example, because narrow notebooks like the Zenbook 14 usually don’t have room for a number field on the keyboard.
New Intel processor on board
Asus relies on the new Intel Core i7-10510U with Whiskey Lake architecture for the CPU: The computing power of the quad-core is on a high level, which the CPU also largely resembles. Whiskey Lake is especially interesting for manufacturers of light and slim notebooks, because the chipset sits together with the CPU on a carrier board – this saves space and improves the possibilities for saving power. The CPU performance of the Zenbook remains stable even under prolonged load – after 15 minutes of continuous testing with the Cinebench, the result drops by only around 10 percent. Nevertheless, the fan remains quiet and hardly disturbs with its deep and even running noise. It reliably transports the waste heat out of the case – it gets a bit warm in the upper key rows with around 46 degrees, but in no way unpleasant for the fingers.
The equipment with 16 GB RAM, a 512 GB NVMe-SSD from Samsung and the GPU Nvidia Geforce MX250 with 2 GB GDDR5 provides for overall very high speed in all application areas. Despite the Nvidia GPU, the Zenbook is unsuitable for current games. However, the graphics card takes work off the processor in some multimedia tasks, so that the Asus notebook is more conductive in graphics rendering than laptops with an integrated Intel GPU, for example.
Very efficient in battery mode
The Zenbook weighs 2.78 lbs. and is thus lighter than many 13-inchers and, for example, just as light as the Macbook Air 2019, and achieves a very good runtime of over 12 hours in the WLAN test. In the Mobile Mark 2014 it only reaches under ten hours because the GPU is used more often in this test. But this in turn increases the computing power in battery mode, which means that more things can be done in less time. After one hour of charging time, the battery status is 86 percent.
The picture quality of the 14-inch display with a reflective surface is decent for its price range: The brightness is around 300 cd/m², which is too little for ergonomic working in a sun-drenched beer garden, but sufficient for most other lighting situations. The weak point is the uneven illumination, as the luminance drops significantly towards the lower right screen area.
Connections: Three USB generations
The interfaces in the Zenbook are a meeting of the USB generation: On the right, there is a USB 2.0 socket, on the left a USB 3.0 port as well as one for USB type C: Thunderbolt 3 doesn’t run over it, but the data exchange with USB 3.1 speed as well as display port signals for an external monitor. You can also connect an additional display to the Zenbook 14 via HDMI. The front camera can be used via Windows Hello to log on to the system; the Asus notebook doesn’t have a fingerprint sensor. The micro SD card reader, which is only connected internally via USB and thus too slow for fast memory cards, falls out of the role.
The keyboard pleases with a fairly clear pressure point and a decent key stroke, but rattles a bit loudly during fast typing. Quick typers are also annoyed by the fact that the enter key is only laid out in one line. The touchpad surface feels a bit too smooth to position the mouse cursor precisely. But the mouse substitute gives a clear feedback on click actions.
Verdict: Great laptop for Cyber Security Majors
All in all the Zenbook 14 form Asus is a well peforming laptop for Cyber Security and IT security majors for a fair price. However, if you need a bit more power and a guarantee for future-proofnes then you should rather go with the first or second place of our test.
The Best Programming Languages for Cyber Security
Programming languages are very often used in IT security. Ethical hackers use them to write small scripts and exploits. Administrators to monitor the system automatically. It can make the work much easier to automate small operations and processes through scripts. In addition, the right programming language can help one to develop a deep understanding of computers and ethical hacking.
Which programming languages are commonly used by hackers in IT security ?. Commonly used programming languages include interpreted languages, machine languages, web languages and compiled languages such as:
- BASH Script
Each of these programming languages has its natural field of application, as well as advantages and disadvantages. A comprehensive knowledge in all these programming languages is very useful for the ethical hacker, because he can react very flexibly to different situations and is prepared for any kind of attack scenario.
WHAT ARE THE FIELDS OF APPLICATION OF THE PROGRAMMING LANGUAGES ?
For example, if the ethical hacker wants to understand how an application works in detail, he must be able to reverse engineer it and read the machine instructions behind the program. In other cases he prefers to use programming languages such as Python or Perl.
The areas of use of programming languages can also overlap greatly, because Ruby, for example, can be used in the same place as Python. It often depends on which language the ethical hacker or pentetration tester personally prefers.
PROGRAMMING LANGUAGES TO DEVELOP EXPLOITS
C was developed around 1970 and is therefore considered one of the older programming languages. It is often referred to as a low-level programming language and is used for low-level programming. Basic programs of all Unix systems, device drivers and operating systems were developed with the programming language C. It is therefore well suited for developing exploits or other low-level applications.
C++ is the extension of C and was developed around 1979. Like C, C++ enables near-system programming and offers object orientation. The language is often used for programming larger applications and can be a very powerful programming language when used correctly.
PROGRAMMING LANGUAGES IN WEB SECURITY
Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML) is the basic language behind web pages on the World Wide Web. It is important to understand HTML, because without it it is very difficult to analyze websites or plan attacks.
PHP is a server-side scripting language for the dynamic creation of websites and web applications. Many websites use PHP e.g. for guest books, discussion forums or form processing. Incorrect use of the scripting language results in dangerous vulnerabilities such as buffer overflows, XSS and error handling vulnerabilities.
Structured Query Language (SQL) is a database language and is used to define and query relational databases. SQL is rather used in the backend of a website.
For example, if user names of forum members are stored, they are stored in a database. If PHP and SQL are used incorrectly, there is a dangerous vulnerability to SQL injections.
PROGRAMMING LANGUAGES IN NETWORK SECURITY
Different languages are used in network security. In network security it is more important which programming language produces the fastest results. Nevertheless, some programming languages have proven to be practical.
Python is an interpreted scripting language and offers a variety of useful modules. Many security tools are programmed in Python and very well documented. There are a lot of books about “Hacking with Python” and so you can almost say that by now every hacker or penetration tester should have had some experience with Python. Python is like an all-purpose tool that should not be missing in the hacker toolbox.
Ruby is another interpreted scripting language which is also increasingly used on the web. Ruby is also used to program security tools such as the Metasploit Framework and Bettercap, which were programmed in Ruby.
Although Perl is used less and less because of its language peculiarities. There are still some security tools out there that are programmed in Perl. In old hacking tutorials you can still find many good hacks written in the Perl programming language.
PROGRAMMING LANGUAGE FOR REVERSE ENGINEERING
Reverse engineering is not possible without assembly language. In order to analyze the internal function of applications, you have to analyze the application at machine level with a disassembler. The binary file, such as an .exe file, is then converted into an assembly language readable by humans.
Every debugger should have such a disassembler and can display assembler code in a structured way. Black hats use this to “crack” applications and bypass the license key. Which is why the correct term for a black-hat is cracker.
PROGRAMMING LANGUAGES FOR THE OPERATING SYSTEM LINUX
To execute programs quickly, hackers like to use the terminal or command line interpreter. Copying or moving files with the mouse usually takes too long.
Operations can be executed automatically with the shell scripting and shell commands of the BASH terminal. A shell script is a computer program which is executed by the Unix shell (command line interpreter).
WHICH PROGRAMMING LANGUAGE IN IT SECURITY FIRST ?
It is best to start with one of the simpler programming languages like Python or Ruby. However, there are many ways into ethical hacking or penetration testing and it depends on what you would like to do later. HTML, CSS and PHP are a good start for the web in general. If you want to get into the field of exploit development, C/C++ and assembler is not bad. The most important thing is that you first learn and understand a single programming language completely.
WHAT YOU HAVE TO BE ABLE TO PROGRAM ?
One could learn for example how to:
- Port scanner, ping scanner.
- Mini proxy server
- Wireless scanner
- XSS and SQLi vulnerabilities exploited
There are a lot of things you could program. But it all depends on what you want to focus on as a penetration tester or ethical hacker.
ARE PROGRAMMING LANGUAGES IMPORTANT FOR HACKERS ?
No, not necessarily. Hackers can also look for configuration errors and find vulnerabilities. A hacker does not necessarily need programming skills to crack a password that is too weak or an incorrectly configured router. For all more complicated tasks, programming languages come into play.
10 dangerous hacking tools you should know
Hardly any other IT instrument is as delicate and risky as hacker tools. On the one hand, they can be used to locate and close security gaps. On the other hand, hackers misuse them to discover the same vulnerabilities and use them for their criminal activities. This ambiguity is also reflected in the original meaning of the term. For originally, the term “hacker” denotes a tinkerer with a self-referential dedication to technology in order to explore the limits of what is possible.
Good hackers, evil crackers
Hacker tools are nothing new. The term has been around since the 1950s. But it is only since the 1980s that it has been used in a pejorative way in connection with computer security. Since then, cybercrime, from phishing to cyber-terrorism, has been on the rise.
In addition, not all hackers are bad. There are the good ones, the “white hats” and the bad ones, the “black hats”. The truth is, however, that there is no clear separation between good and evil in terms of hacking.
In fact, anyone who uses the digital break-in tool is in a grey area. As early as August 2007, Germany implemented the EU guidelines for combating computer crime. Paragraph 202c of the German Criminal Code summarises under “Preparing the spying out and interception of data”: “Anyone who prepares a criminal offence according to § 202a (spying out data) or § 202b (interception of data) by producing, procuring for himself or for another person, selling, giving to another person, distributing or otherwise making available computer programs whose purpose is the commission of such an offence shall be punished with imprisonment for up to one year or with a fine. This is the reason why serious publications often refrain from downloading free hacker software. So naturally also in our article.
10 hacker tools you should know
Nevertheless, it is important to know your enemy and your tools. In fact, we feel that this is not enough: hacking tools should be part of every software developer’s and administrator’s standard training program. Only in this way can the cyber-intrusion gates be closed and sustainable countermeasures be initiated.
Here are ten of the hacker tools that are currently in use and have been in use for some time:
One hacking program that one encounters again and again is Aircrack. This malware is a suite of tools and focuses on wireless networks. Positively expressed, the already older Aircrack-ng can be used to spy out passwords of WLAN networks encrypted with WEP and WPA.
The Aircrack-Suite is used for all essential penetration tests and scenarios: Network data monitoring, attacks and security level assessment, for testing, as WiFi adapter and for password decryption.
Those who use the hacker tool can automate tasks by creating scripts that use multiple tools in a logical chain of commands.
Aircrack is not a tool that you simply unpack and run. Because then it doesn’t do anything. But with the patched DLL files and suitable WLAN hardware, you can run various attacks on the encryption and, for example, try out password lists.
The hacker software supports many different services thanks to its wide range of functions and service compatibility. THC-Hydra is one of the most commonly used utilities when it comes to network integrated devices. Hydra is suitable for monitoring many protocols, services and applications that are protected by passwords, such as the common web protocols (HTTP, POP3, IMAP and SMTP) and plain text credentials. It supports multiple logon mechanisms for authentication, MD5 checksums, hashes, etc. Compared to other password crackers, THC-Hydra has one of the most extensive feature lists.
The program has become a preferred method for detecting intrusion attempts and is therefore often used in enterprise environments. The application uses a simple graphical user interface (GUI), so even inexperienced users can use it.
Cain & Abel
Employees have forgotten their passwords? The freeware tool Cain & Abel “cracks” them for sure. Because the password saver allows you to monitor the local network. The tool can change the assignment table in the router or switch to intercept the data packets. Even encrypted HTTPS connections are not secure. Cain & Abel makes it especially convenient for its users: They do not have to dig through the raw data, but only receive relevant content such as user names, passwords and VoIP calls.
On the other hand, the hack program slips through the security gaps of protocol standards of the software products. The manufacturer therefore expressly points out that the hack program should only be used to recover passwords and find security gaps in your own network.
Kismet detects when unauthorized persons gain access to the network. Especially Wardrivers, i.e. attackers who are mobile and have the appropriate equipment to detect wireless networks, use the hacker software. The first step in this hacking technique is to scan WiFi networks from laptops and smartphones in the area. Kismet can even detect hidden inactive networks. Furthermore, filters collect information about the target networks. Used positively, the tool acts as a powerful intrusion detection system and protects against unusual events. Plug-ins are used to add additional features to the system. It is operated as a client-server model so that it can be run under flexible conditions.
With Metasploit, which is considered the standard hacking tool, even beginners could become sophisticated hackers. Security experts like to use the extensive platform to draw attention to vulnerabilities.
A metasploit attack consists of three components: The exploit, which provides access to the system, the payload, which is reloaded after the successful attack, and the post-modules, which define what happens after the attack.
For this purpose, the hack tool contains one of the largest collections of exploits for applications and operating systems, dedicated devices or multi-platform injections. It can also be extended with plug-ins or modules from third-party vendors. Only a high-quality anti-spyware solution can detect Metasploit attacks.
With some IT knowledge, you can hack the first system in a few hours – just your own, of course. The hack program is also suitable for demonstrating to superiors how easy such attacks are. The hacker suite is available in different versions – free of charge and with costs.
Nmap (Network Mapper) is open source and probably the best known port scanner. In security circles, it is the tool of choice when it comes to scanning a machine for open ports. Known and unknown scanning methods make this tool a very powerful program. For example, you can determine which computers on the Internet or LAN offer which services. The network scanner looks for devices in a definable IP range of the network. The user determines how and for which information the search is to be carried out. The hacking potential: The application is able to overcome certain anti-hacking security tools, even if filtered ports and other defense mechanisms are used.
Network administrators can use the tool to generate a detailed report of all available devices on the network, monitor uptime or localize online services.
Wireshark is probably the most widely used hacking tool – by security and network administrators as well as cyber criminals. It detects what data is flowing through the line into the Internet. For example, it can determine which server is contacting a particular program and what it is sending. It’s a multi-platform network protocol analyzer that allows its users to collect data from a variety of network sources-such as Wi-Fi networks, Bluetooth, or cable connections.
One of the main reasons Wireshark is so useful is that it supports virtually all capture file formats used by the industry. The application is compatible with almost all common devices and operating systems.
For support, there are numerous tutorials on the network to solve network problems and security related incidents. Finally, Wireshark is excellently suited for scanning for virus attacks in order to uncover weak points in connection with ransomware and Trojans.
The Tor Project
The Tor network (TOR = The Onion Routing) is currently the best known international anonymous network of computer users who want to protect their security and privacy. Tor allows both sides of a communication to remain anonymous. For example, network traffic travels through a series of routers and nodes that make it very difficult for ISPs, service owners, and system administrators to find where it originated. Originally created to protect privacy, it is now an integral part of any hacker toolkit.
John the Ripper
John the Ripper is one of the most powerful password crackers, as the name alone indicates. At first glance, the command line program does not show this. However, it still performs when other hacking tools give up long ago. To crack passwords John uses brute force and dictionary attacks.
The primary goal of the application is to detect and recover Unix passwords that are too weak. John the Ripper can be used for all programs with a password file. Optional parameters and specific performance-related settings include the crack mode.
Wordlist files can be fine-tuned to eliminate duplicate passwords, assign specific lengths, etc. Numerous hash types are supported.
John cracks passwords from database servers, network authentication servers, IRC bots, services, remote desktop protocols, PDF files, archives, and other sensitive services. The application is compatible with most popular operating systems and can be used to crack all types of passwords.
The Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP) is currently considered one of the most popular OWASP projects (Open Web Application Security Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to web security). This hacking and pentesting tool is very efficient and an easy to use program that finds vulnerabilities in web applications.
ZAP is very common because it offers multiple support and the OWASP community is an excellent resource for those working in the cyber security field.
In addition, ZAP offers automated scanners as well as various tools with which cyber professionals can manually detect security vulnerabilities. Especially this tool should be mastered by developers and administrators.
Of course, this is only a small sample of the tools available to hackers to thoroughly test systems. Familiarize yourself with the most commonly used hacking programs. Because you can only beat your enemy with his own weapons!