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5 Scanning Tools Hackers Use and What They Look For

By July 28, 2018November 2nd, 2018No Comments5 min read

It is no secret that hackers want business data, and gone are the days when they needed elite technical skills to find and exploit vulnerabilities in a target.  Criminals today use free and easy scanning tools (which anyone can find on the internet) to scan the web for any site or computer that may be at risk.  It is a waste of time targeting a prominent corporation when there’s so much low-hanging fruit, like small businesses, which do not make an effort to secure their business data.

A hacker with no technical expertise can download one of these tools, sit back for a few minutes while it looks for old and new bugs, and then get a list of easy-to-exploit computers.  Businesses can use these tools to scan their own assets to check for any potential issues.


Of the many web application and audit frameworks available, w3af thrives on being among the elite at finding web vulnerabilities. Although designed to help businesses scan their site to locate and fix any issues, white-hat hackers use it for penetration testing and black-hat hackers to find resources to steal. By using plugins, this tool stays on top of the most current vulnerabilities, and users do not need to be security experts.

Once the scanner finds a system that has an exploit, the scanner has tools to elevate privileges, steal information and run commands to control the operating system.  With this amount of power, a cybercriminal can not only take sensitive data, but they can also make a business computer a zombie that performs other illegal activities.

Burp Suit Scanner

A favorite among security professionals and criminals is a powerful scanning tool by Portswigger web security.  Burp Suite has a free version with limited power, or you can pay for one that has a more powerful hacking toolbox.  The former will scan a resource and provide details on all content it finds, including hidden files.

Burp Suite can also provide man-in-the-middle services which allow the attacker to record and steal any information coming from or going to a system. The hacker can intercept all traffic and then manipulate any messages or even delete them entirely.

This tool has a large following. Users enhance its scanning capabilities by writing custom extensions and offering them to the community.  Anyone who can write in Java, Python or Ruby can write exploits that give more power to the hackers with this scanning tool.


This free, no-nonsense scanner delivers what it claims. All code is open source, so the broad community of followers can test and verify the tool works as suggested. It is easy to install and designed to run from any platform. It provides a CLI scanner utility that can perform quick scans right away. Hackers can write customized Ruby-scripted scans for more technical penetration of a resource.

Besides the standard SQL injection checks, this tool also scans for XSS with DOM variants, file inclusion variants and more.  This tool differs from others because it traces for JavaScript frameworks including JQuery and AngularJS, which gives a scanner close to full stack data.  Performance is not an issue as this tool can handle millions of requests and promptly scan a large number of web resources.


Accuracy of the results is critical when scanning for SQL Injection or Cross-Site Scripting vulnerabilities.  Netsparker has proven technology that ensures the issues found are not false positives.  This tool, which uses an automated approach to locate the problems on thousands of websites, is the scanner of choice for big-name customers.

Netsparker is not free, but the paid service provides complete security scans as well as detailed reports for differing audiences.  The pen-testing tools locate open issues in a system that could give open-door access for criminal activity.


Vega is a free vulnerability scanner with open source code for the community to verify.  The web crawler can be automated to make scans easy to find exploits like the ability to perform Man-In-The-Middle attacks and database data theft.  Users can customize this tool with JavaScript.

This tool also discovers secret or personal information that was hidden poorly on a resource.  It is GUI-based for ease of use and can work with Windows, Linux or OS-X.  The professional hacker can forgo the automation and manually use this tool to scan specific targets.

Hacking tools have made the task of scanning the internet for information to steal as easy as pointing and clicking.  Businesses can use these same tools to examine their resources and fix any holes left in their security.  By performing penetration testing, issues can get resolved before a data breach.  There is a tool to fit any budget with large communities of users to offer assistance.

Business owners do not need to hire a full time IT staff to secure the business data.  Free tools require minimal technical skill to download and use.  Hackers rarely take the time needed to penetrate a secure system when it is much easier to move on to a system riddled with exploits.

Contact Bleuwire™ to learn about services and solutions – how we they can can help your business.