Pen Testing with Python: Pros and Cons

Nedim Maric

What is Pen Testing?

Pen Testing is a process of protecting your system from cyber attacks. This is achieved by executing various malicious programs in order to exploit and learn about any possible vulnerabilities that might occur on your system. 

These can be performed manually or automatically, but the idea remains the same – to test and safely exploit all vulnerabilities on your system. 

The process of penetration testing is carried out by ethical hackers. As the name itself suggests, these are hackers who know how the attacker might think, and thus they can come up with a solution to defend and protect against malicious activities.

Should I Use Python for Pen Testing?

Python is perhaps the most used programming language when it comes to pen testing. This is partly because there is an enormous amount of external python libraries available. These libraries make life that much easier for the pentester. 

Another bonus of using Python is its simplicity. While most programming languages require extensive research in order to catch up with the basics, that’s not the case with Python. It’s a pretty intuitive and well-designed language, allowing you to quickly catch up with some more complex ideas and implementations of it. 

Not only that, but if you’re using it properly, Python can be extremely fast in its execution, making a big difference in the long run, especially on a large-scale project.

Pen Testing Attacks and Exploits with Python

As we explained in the previous sections, Python should be your go-to programming language if you want to try your hand at pen testing. 

What’s important with pen testing attacks when using python is that you follow the plan at all times. It usually consists of four different phases, which are:

  • Planning phase
  • Discovery phase
  • Attack phase
  • Reporting phase

The first phase is preparing the groundwork for the attack. This means defining the scope of your attack and the general idea and the goal behind it. 

The discovery phase – also known as fingerprinting – really speaks for itself. The idea is to find out as much as possible about the system you want to penetrate. This part is mostly research in order to find out the potential weaknesses of the system. 

Attack phase means that you’re launching an attack on vulnerable parts of the system and extracting as much data as possible.

And, of course, the reporting phase means that you compile a report of all potential and existing vulnerabilities. Every report has to be very detailed and specific, otherwise it won’t help much with the further protection of the system.

Python Pen Testing Examples

Pen testing with Python gives you an unlimited array of possibilities. This means that you can be very creative in finding different ways of approaching a problem of penetration testing. 

The first thing you should do when pen testing with python is to look into the existing libraries that will make your life much easier. Here are some of the most popular tools that you can use for this purpose:

  • Python Nmap – helps you easily manipulate nmap scan results
  • BeautifulSoup – used to launch attacks against web applications. BeautifulSoup helps you to quickly identify the crucial parts of the response
  • Scapy – supports developing and transmissions of custom network packets, utilizing exploitation over the network
  • Monda – creates ready-made code that you can use for exploits and simplifies many smaller tasks in the process

One thing that might help you out a lot when pen testing with Python is knowing some other languages so you could ease the process for yourself. JavaScript knowledge could come in handy once you get to pen testing web applications as it allows you to quickly identify and understand the application you’re attacking with your python code. 

Conclusion

If you’re serious about penetration testing, then python is the way to go. With its endless libraries, it ensures you have all the tools you need at your disposal. Not only that, but it’s the most popular pen testing language out there. So, even if you get stuck along the way, there’s always help available on the internet. 

If you prefer automated pentesting, then look no further than Bright! You can sign up for a free account today, and get started immediately because our application is well-suited for developers, meaning that you don’t have to have in-depth knowledge of web security in order to keep your application secure. 

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