Python is the fastest-growing programming language in the world, and it’s not hard to see why: it’s open-source and easy to use for beginners. It’s widely used in machine learning, data science, and web development.
Python is a popular choice for security professionals and ethical hackers because of its versatility and the wide range of libraries that can be used to aid in ethical hacking.
Ethical hacking, sometimes known as penetration testing, is the practice of legally breaking into computers and devices to test the security of computer programs, networks and data. As a python developer, you have the ability to develop ethical hacking tools with ease making your scripts more efficient and effective.
Additionally, hackers and cybersecurity professionals use python scripts for analyzing malware and identifying vulnerabilities, though there are some who write exploit programs using python.
In this article, we will explore the top 10 Python libraries that can be used for ethical hacking (or penetration testing).
Scapy is a complete interactive packet manipulation tool written in Python by Philippe Biondi. It primarily performs two functions: sending packets and receiving responses.
It can forge or decode packets of a variety of protocols, send them, receives responses, matches requests with responses, and returns a list of packet couples and a list of unmatched packets. It can easily handle most common tasks like network scanning, network discovery, tracerouting, attacks, probing, etc.
The goal of Scapy is to make packet manipulation easy by providing a set of functionality that bridge the gap between low-level network programming and high-level protocols. This is a great tool to get started with packet manipulation. It is not difficult to use, but it has a steep learning curve.
pip install scapy
Visit the documentation page to learn more on Scapy.
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Requests is an HTTP python library used to send HTTP/HTTPS requests easily. The requests library is an incredibly useful and versatile tool for writing python scripts that require interaction with web services.
It offers a convenient interface for sending HTTP requests and handling responses. The library can be used for anything from sending simple requests to fetching complex data from APIs to scraping websites.
A few features of the requests library are Keep-Alive & connection pooling, international domains and URLs, sessions with cookie persistence, browser-style SSL verification, and much more.
The Requests library serves as a fundamental tool for hacking since most hacking activities require communication with remote servers and fetching resources over the internet. If you are not familiar with the Requests library, the documentation page is a great place to start. To install Requests, run this command in your terminal:
pip install requests
Impacket is a collection of Python classes for working with network protocols. Currently, the library is focused on providing support for low-level socket programming, TCP/IP, and multiple higher-level protocols. It is a Python library that makes it easy for programmers to create and decode network packets.
Impacket is used by many hackers and penetration testers to craft custom network-based intrusion attacks such as man in the middle and session hijacking. It was originally designed as an internal tool to help with testing but has grown into a powerful hacker's tool that can be used against networks.
The goal of Impacket is to make network programming easier for python programmers and provide a framework for implementing custom protocols. For example, Impacket can be used to implement custom versions of the TCP/IP stack for a given target platform. To install IMpacket, run:
pip install impacket
pwntools is a CTF(Capture-the-Flag) framework and exploit development library written in Python. It is designed to facilitate rapid prototyping and development.
pwntools provides an array of useful tools for penetration testing, automating reverse engineering, creating exploits, fuzzing programs, and more.
pwntools allows users to quickly create exploits for challenges in CTF competitions. This library works best with 64-bit Ubuntu LTS releases and has many modules that allow for fast exploit development and flexibility when writing rogue code.
Find the documentation for pwntools here.
Cryptography is a package that provides cryptographic recipes and primitives to Python developers. This includes encryption, hashing, random number generation, signatures as well as ciphers for block and stream ciphers.
It provides a higher-level API to cryptographically strong algorithms such as digital signatures and low-level cryptographic building blocks designed with performance in mind. Ethical hacking makes use of this functionality to encrypt and decrypt sensitive information shared on the internet
In general, cryptography is the backbone of a secure internet. You can simply run
pip install cryptography to install it.
Python-nmap is a python library that helps in using Nmap port scanner. Nmap is a network administration and security auditing tool. It is typically used to discover hosts and services available on a network, although it can also be used to examine a single host.
The python-nmap library serves as a python wrapper for the Nmap tool allowing you to easily access, use and manipulate the features and functionality of Nmap in python. The library does not replace the Nmap tool but only provides an interface to interact with Nmap.
It offers a rich set of features for port scanning, host discovery, and TCP/IP fingerprinting. This library is a perfect tool for hackers and systems administrators who want to automate network scanning tasks and reports. It also supports nmap script outputs.
To install python-nmap, run:
pip install python-nmap
For more on this library, check out the documentation.
Faker is a Python package that generates fake data. It can generate anything from names, phone numbers, and addresses to fake texts, bibliography entries, XML documents, etc. Faker is very easy to use. Just call
faker.name() and you’ll get a random name,
faker.address() and you'll get a fake address.
It comes with many other functions for generating fake data. There are several reasons you might want to use Faker. Maybe you need to populate a database with fake information for a prototype or you might want to remain anonymous online by using fake credentials or addresses online.
You can install the faker library by running this command:
pip install Faker
You can refer to the documentation for more guidelines.
Read also: The Top 13 Ethical Hacking Courses on Udemy
Twisted is an event-driven networking engine written in Python. It provides an abstraction of the TCP protocol that makes it easy to write network clients and servers. It is particularly notable for its broad support of SSL, IPv6, and a large number of protocols including the following: HTTP, IRC, NNTP, SMTP, POP3, IMAP, SSHv2, and DNS.
Twisted supports both synchronous and asynchronous networking paradigm. To install Twisted run:
pip install Twisted
To learn more about this library, see the official site.
Pylibnet is a python module for the libnet packet injection library. It provides a python API for libnet, and provides functionality for sending packets, sniffing frames, and displaying libpcap traces.
For more information, please see the pylibnet documentation.
Raw socket is a layer 2 python library for communication using the MAC addresses only. This library allows you to implement a custom layer 2 communication using raw sockets in Python, synchronous and asynchronous.
Read more on rawsocketpy at PYPI.
The Python programming language has gained a lot of popularity in the past decade. It is used by a lot of developers and hackers because of its general-purpose syntax that can be applied to a large number of programming domains. There are a lot of python libraries out there, but the ones listed above are best suited for ethical hacking.
If you are interested in taking a course on hacking, this resource is a great place to start.