Top Ten Tools and Utilities to Thwart Hackers
After the Snowden incident, the zombie apocalypse started looking a tad bit more real. The interest in privacy tools has increased multiple times. While the NSA is looking a bit devilish right now, there are more dangerous parties out there. In the US alone, identity theft has already cost $13.2 billion in 20131, and the year isn’t even up…and yes, you guessed it, the NSA isn’t to blame. This is just one of the many dangers of internet hacking.
Whether you are a savvy system admin, or simply an internet user, protecting yourself online has become more important than ever. While it is a great strategy to keep your surfing activities to UCC Certified websites, that is largely not possible. So here are the top ten tools that you can use today to protect yourself both online and offline. We have chosen a mix of personal and system tools so that there is something for everyone: the hardened security analyst, the Louis Vuitton shoe shopper, and the average internet user.
For experienced network security experts, Metaspoilt is one of those indispensable security tools. One of the world’s most used penetration testing software, this tool should be in every security analyst’s toolkit. It’s been around for a while now, and has kept up with the rapidly evolving IT security scene. It’s phishing campaigns, wireless attacks, and other security tests ensure that you effectively expose loopholes. Additionally it has easy integration with Nessus, Nmap, and Nexpose, and you have yourself an air tight security system.
Nikto is an open source web server scanner. Apart from almost sounding like Nikita (super spy and super hacker), this piece of software is pretty neat. Like the super spy herself, Nikto helps you scan for security vulnerabilities. It scans for over 6,500 potential harmful CGI, version specific issues on over a whopping 270 servers, scans for outdated versions of above 1,250 servers, and performs other configuration checks on servers. It keeps a pretty good log file, so this info is well preserved.
If you have conducted security and vulnerability testing for web applications, you probably have considered or used Paros Proxy. This famous tool captures data in HTTP and HTTPS mode and can modify it if need be. It can also be used to crawl through your site, and execute strategic tests that can expose vulnerabilities. It also comes with an built-in Fuzzer, as well as a Session ID analyzer.
For those looking for an alternative, try the ZAP Attack Proxy, which will join forces with Andiparos.
Cain and Abel
Some may argue that this is a piece of outdated software, seeing how it has compatibility issues with Windows Vista, 7, not to mention the freshly faced 8. However, the fact that it is constantly mentioned when talking about password recovery this many years is no small feat. This advanced password cracker allows software engineers and system administrators to analyze how secure the passwords on the system are.
Snort touts itself as a “free, open source network intrusion detection and prevention system”. From its humble beginnings in the 1980s when Richard Stallman pioneered it in MIT, to its evolution as the industry’s go to intrusion prevention technology, Snort has come a long way. It has three major uses: it is used as a packet logger, as a straight packet sniffer, and also as an intrusion detection and prevention system. The reason it is so popular is because not only is it free, it is also very sensitive to a wide variety of attacks. With over 4 million downloads and a thriving Snort community, it is easy to see why you should have this in your toolbox.
Meet Nessus, one of the world’s most popular vulnerability scanners. While this scanner is free for personal use, it comes at a hefty price for enterprise use (minimum of $1,500 per annum). That said, money spent on this is worth every dime. Not only does it scan for devices on your system, it does Mobile device auditing, Patch management integration, as well as Sensitive Content Auditing. It helps with password management as well, and acts as a check on your installed AV by looking for malware and viruses that may not have been detected. That is on top of helping block access by hackers through sealing network vulnerabilities. It also has a clean and simple interface, much better than most open source software alternatives.
Finally, something for everyday browsers! Disconnect works as an anti-tracking and anti-cookie browser extension. Hackers nowadays can steal your personal details without ever having to know your password through the use stolen cookies to access your accounts. With Disconnect, you can prevent them through its Secure Wi-Fi features. What is so great about it is that unlike other extensions and software in its category, it offers bandwidth optimization and Wi-Fi security as well.
If you feel good about changing the world while you protect yourself, then Disconnect will certainly protect both your computer and conscience. A certified B-Corp, you choose how much you want to pay and then how much of that you want to donate!
This nifty tool helps you stay on the right side of the net. As you surf, this extension will channel your browsing experience to secure websites as much as possible. Surfing on websites protected by UCC Certificates and other SSL certified websites means that you are browsing safe websites. You are sure that whatever data is sent or received is secure, away from the prying fingers of hackers. That is why it is a great tool to have, no matter what other tools you have installed to protect you.
A strong password is an absolute necessity as one of your best defenses against hackers. Dashlane is a robust program that helps you create strong passwords for your various accounts. It also remembers them, saving you the pain of having to go through remembering it as well. Better still, it comes with support for two-factor authentication, a great way to ensure that your accounts are very difficult to access.
What sets it apart is its ability to fill in details such as security codes when logging into your PayPal account, as well as remembering your credit card details. When you also buy stuff online, the software automatically archives the receipt for you, a snazzy little feature if you ask me. Oh, and it works on your PC, Mac, Android phone, and iPhone.
With the increase in android devices, we had to include at least one dedicated tool in the list. While there are a variety of ways hackers gain access to information, browsing unsecure websites makes it so easy for them. SecureWeb ensures that you are protected even if you aren’t surfing an SSL secure website. It works for both android (smartphones and tablets) and iOS users, though with a slight limitation for the latter. On top of a safe browsing environment with safe search, you also get an anti-virus, device protection, and antiphishing protection. For a small fee, you can upgrade and access their SecureAnywhere service, get app inspection, and a host of other phone security measures. In short, you get so much more than just a secure browsing environment.
If you have other suggestions, let us know in the comments section. Your suggestions are always welcome!
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