Also known as computer security, cybersecurity is the defence mechanism used to protect connected computers, networks, and devices from a variety of cyberattacks or hacks made by hackers. 

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In today’s business environment, cybersecurity is among the top priorities for business leaders.  A successful online attack or hack can result in loss of valuable data, business downtime, and loss of customer loyalty. That can cause irreparable damage to any business enterprise or a large corporation.

What do Cybersecurity tools do?

No computer system or network, however secure and sophisticated, is safe from today’s hackers who keep developing new ways of compromising computer systems. As a result, cybersecurity tools are necessary to secure these networks from a variety of cyberattacks. Cybersecurity tools monitor the IT environment and report any vulnerabilities or security-related weaknesses that can be exploited by hackers.

They also prevent unauthorised access to confidential business data and report any suspicious activity happening on the backend infrastructure. Cybersecurity tools can also set up secure firewall protection to block unauthorised requests and secure the entire network – thus preventing cyberattacks from being successful.

Top 10 Cybersecurity tools in 2020

Thanks to the diverse forms of cyberattacks, there are different types of cybersecurity tools, including:

  • Firewall tools
  • Penetration testing tools
  • Network defence tools
  • Network vulnerability scanning tools
  • Encryption tools
  • Network security tools
  • Packet sniffers
  • Antivirus software

Additionally, you can choose to install either paid or open-source cybersecurity tools – or tools that are a hybrid or mix of both. Here is our list of the top 10 cybersecurity tools that you should evaluate for your IT infrastructure in 2020.

1. Wireshark

Wireshark is a free and open-source cybersecurity tool that can analyse network protocols and can be used to enhance network security. Packet-sniffing in this console-based tool can monitor your network in real-time, along with network traffic at different levels. Cybersecurity professionals use this security tool to identify any network security weaknesses by capturing and analysing data packets.

Key features:

  • Decryption protocol support for multiple network protocols
  • Three-pane packet browser
  • Live capture and offline analysis.
  • Supports output formats including XML, CSV, and Plain Text
  • Supports file decompressing captured in gzips
  • Supported on MS Windows, macOS, Solaris, and FreeBSD

2. Metasploit

Available through free and paid versions, Metasploit uses penetration testing to identify any vulnerability in the entire network or system – and can enable organisations to run security tests and data analysis, which can enhance overall security. Popularly known as the hacking tool, this security product is to test the security score of different systems, including web applications, computer networks, servers, and much more.

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Key features:

  • Effective in detecting over 1500 exploits in a network segmentation
  • Vulnerability tools that enables dividing the penetration testing workflow into smaller and manageable tasks
  • Web-based interface with Metasploit Pro that performs security assessments and validations on databases
  • The open-source version available for free for software developers
  • Detecting any new vulnerability in network security

3. Cain and Abel

Among the earliest cybersecurity tools to be released in the market, Cain and Abel were originally used to discover vulnerabilities in the Windows operating system. This tool can also be used for recovering passwords and to record VoIP communications. Through network sniffing, this penetration testing tool can crack encrypted passwords using brute force attacks. Apart from recovering passwords, Cain and Abel can analyse routing protocols in network systems to determine which data packets are prone to hacking.

Key Features: 

  • Effective at cryptanalysis and decoding of scrambled passwords.
  • Useful for decoding cached passwords, password boxes, and decryption of brute force attacks
  • APR Poison Routing mechanism that allows sniffing on switched LANs and Man in the Middle (MitM) attacks
  • It supports the analysing of encrypted protocols such as HTTPS and SSH-1.

4. Kali Linux

Kali Linux is among the most popular penetration testing tools with over 300 features for website and server security. Suited for users with varying levels of knowledge in cybersecurity, Kali Linux can be used to monitor network systems with one click. The tool is particularly useful for securing databases from various cyber-attacks and online threats. Currently maintained by Offensive Security, Kali Linux was initially developed as BackTrack – a Linux-based distribution tool used for penetration testing.

Key Features:

  • Available with over 600 penetration testing tools, including Aircrack-ng for monitoring Wi-Fi network security and Jack the Ripper for decoding passwords.
  • Available as a free and open-source tool
  • Supports both ARMEL and ARMHF systems that are compatible with ARM-derived infrastructures like BeagleBone Black and Raspberry Pi.
  • KDE Plasma look-and-feel, including light and dark themes.

5. Intruder

Among the popular network vulnerability scanning tools, Intruder is a top-rated cloud-powered cybersecurity tool that is suited for both small and large businesses. Along with a 30-day free trial version, Intruder is available with three premium plans – Essential, Pro, and Verified. This security tool is effective at detecting weaknesses in your IT systems and preventing data breaches. With over 9000 security checks, Intruder is useful in scanning your IT system for any application bugs, CMS-related issues, missing patches, and weak encryptions.

Key Features:

  • Visible integration of your system with cloud providers
  • Intelligent scanning results that save time for your cybersecurity analysts
  • Unlimited vulnerability scans and user accounts
  • Detection of web application vulnerabilities like SQL injections and cross-site scripting
  • Complete network view along with timely alerts
  • Real-time notifications for completed scans on issues tracking tools like Slack and Jira

6. Bitdefender

Companies looking for complete IT security against cyberattacks can choose to go with the Bitdefender total security tool that has been a global leader in cybersecurity systems since 2001. Used in over 38% of the comprehensive security solutions, Bitdefender has a host of security features, including social network protection, privacy firewall, secure online banking, along with anti-phishing features. Designed to stop malware attacks, Bitdefender supports Windows, Android, and Apple devices.

Key Features:

  • Multi-layered protection and remedy against ransomware attacks
  • Complete range of security solutions for individuals, homes, businesses, and personal devices
  • Extensive vulnerability assessment of your IT setup
  • File shredding
  • Complete protection from network threats
  • Real-time data protection to prevent data breaches
  • 24/7 comprehensive customer support

7. Aircrack-ng

Among the leading cybersecurity solutions for network defence, Aircrack-ng offers a complete suite of security products that can assess Wi-Fi networks. Through capturing data packets on networks, this tool provides functions such as exporting these data packets to text files for further assessment. For Wi-Fi security, Aircrack-ng performs various actions including monitoring data packet captures, attacking replay attacks and fake access points, and testing Wi-Fi network cards and drivers.

Key Features:

  • Capture and injection feature necessary for assessing the overall performance of network cards
  • Supported on Linux, Windows, OS X, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, and eComStation platforms
  • Scan visualiser feature that allows filtering, sorting, and visualising of scanned data.
  • Support for WPA3 and OWE with rates of 802.11 n/ac – not limited to 54MB.
  • PMKID detection capability
  • Testing the reliability of WPA-PSK and WEP keys

8. Mimecast

As a leading cloud-based cybersecurity tool, Mimecast offers higher cyber-resilience with enhanced email security, data protection, online threat intelligence, and web security – all on a single platform. Mimecast is a suite of multiple security products and services that enable email security, spam detection and blocking, cloud archiving and more. This paid tool is suited for small to medium business and the enterprise.

Key Features:

  • Enhanced email security with protection from phishing attacks, ransomware, and impersonation
  • Multipurpose archiving and third-party storage of emails, files, and online conversations – thus preventing data loss
  • End-user empowerment and training for protecting unsuspecting employees from divulging critical information
  • Automated content control
  • Protection against any malicious activity and malware infections

9. Snort

Snort is another open-source tool used for detecting and stopping attempted intrusions on computer networks. This tool supports Windows, Centos, FreeBSD, and Fedora platforms. The Snort, intrusion prevention tool, is capable of performing real-time analysis of network traffic and packet logging. Suited for small to medium-sized businesses, Snort is compatible with different types of operating systems and hardware configurations.

Key Features:

  • Effective at detecting network attacks including CGI attacks, fingerprinting attacks, and buffer overflow attacks
  • Performs protocol analysis along with matching data captured from traffic with a database of previous attacks
  • Real-time data packet analysis and logging
  • Firewall protection for blocking malicious network requests
  • Timely alerts of potential intrusions to security professionals

10. Nessus

Trusted and used by over 30,000 global organisations, Nessus is a widely used security tool that can detect website and network vulnerabilities. With its six sigma standard, Nessus has the lowest rate of reporting false positives – at 0.32 defects every 1 million scans. Nessus has the capability of detecting vulnerabilities, including software bugs, missing patches, and any misconfigurations in operating systems and IT devices. The tool is available in both a free trial and a professional paid version that includes a vulnerability scanning tool to detect potential exploits.

Key Features:

  • Over 2 million downloads globally each year
  • Pre-configured policies and templates – including 450 compliance & configuration templates - for a range of both IT and mobile assets.
  • Customized reports in HTML, CSV, and Nessus XML formats
  • Automatic live results for offline vulnerability assessment with every plugin update
  • Grouped View feature for similar vulnerabilities and issues in a single thread

Conclusion:

Through this article, you have learned about the leading ten tools in the field of cybersecurity along with the key features and benefits that they offer. While some are available in free and open-source versions, others are premium software while the rest are a combination of both free and paid versions. You have also learned about the different types of cybersecurity tools, including penetration testing and vulnerability scanning tools and how they work.

Depending on the type of cyberattack that they face, businesses can select the best cybersecurity tools that work for their security needs. What do you think of this list of 10 cybersecurity tools? Do remember to leave behind your comments or thoughts.