||This article may require copy editing for grammar, style, cohesion, tone, or spelling. (June 2012)|
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (June 2012)|
Metasploit Community showing three hosts, two of which were compromised by an exploit
|Stable release||4.5 / December 7, 2012|
|License||BSD (Framework), Proprietary (Community/Express/Pro)|
Its most well-known sub-project is the open-source Metasploit Framework, a tool for developing and executing exploit code against a remote target machine. Other important sub-projects include the Opcode Database, shellcode archive, and security research.
The Metasploit Project is also well known for anti-forensic and evasion tools, some of which are built into the Metasploit Framework.
Metasploit was created by HD Moore in 2003 as a portable network tool using the Perl programming language. Later, the Metasploit Framework was completely rewritten in the Ruby programming language. On October 21, 2009, the Metasploit Project announced that it had been acquired by Rapid7, a security company that provides unified vulnerability management solutions.
Like comparable commercial products such as Immunity's Canvas or Core Security Technologies' Core Impact, Metasploit can be used to test the vulnerability of computer systems to protect them or to break into remote systems. Like many information security tools, Metasploit can be used for both legitimate and unauthorized activities. Since the acquisition of the Metasploit Framework, Rapid7 has added two open core proprietary editions called Metasploit Express and Metasploit Pro.
Metasploit's emerging position as the de facto exploit development framework has led in recent times to the release of software vulnerability advisories often accompanied by a third party Metasploit exploit module that highlights the exploitability, risk, and remediation of that particular bug. Metasploit 3.0 (Ruby language) is also beginning to include fuzzing tools, used to discover software vulnerabilities, rather than just exploits for currently public bugs. This new avenue has been seen with the integration of the lorcon wireless (802.11) toolset into Metasploit 3.0 in November 2006.
Metasploit 4.0 was released in August 2011.
Metasploit Framework 
The basic steps for exploiting a system using the Framework include:
- Choosing and configuring an exploit (code that enters a target system by taking advantage of one of its bugs; about 900 different exploits for Windows, Unix/Linux and Mac OS X systems are included);
- Checking whether the intended target system is susceptible to the chosen exploit (optional);
- Choosing and configuring a payload (code that will be executed on the target system upon successful entry; for instance, a remote shell or a VNC server);
- Choosing the encoding technique to encode the payload so that the intrusion-prevention system (IPS) will not catch the encoded payload;
- Executing the exploit.
This modular approach - allowing the combination of any exploit with any payload - is the major advantage of the Framework. It facilitates the tasks of attackers, exploit writers, and payload writers.
Metasploit runs on Unix (including Linux and Mac OS X) and on Windows. It includes two command-line interfaces, a web-based interface and a native GUI. The web interface is intended to be run from the attacker's computer. The Metasploit Framework can be extended to use external add-ons in multiple languages.
To choose an exploit and payload, some information about the target system is needed, such as operating system version and installed network services. This information can be gleaned with port scanning and OS fingerprinting tools such as nmap. Vulnerability scanners such as Nexpose or Nessus can detect the target system vulnerabilities. Metasploit can import vulnerability scan data and compare the identified vulnerabilities to existing exploit modules for accurate exploitation.
Metasploit Editions 
Rapid7 has four different versions of metasploit, from the Framework edition, aimed at "Developers and Security Researchers", to the Pro edition, aimed at "Mid-sized and Enterprise IT Security Teams".
Metasploit Framework Edition 
The most basic and free version. It contains a command line interface, third-party import, manual exploitation and manual brute forcing.
Metasploit Community Edition 
In October 2011, Rapid7 released Metasploit Community Edition, a free, web-based user interface for Metasploit. Metasploit Community is based on the commercial functionality of the paid-for editions with a reduced set of features, including network discovery, module browsing, and manual exploitation. Metasploit Community is included in the main installer.
Metasploit Express 
In April 2010, Rapid7 released Metasploit Express, an open-core commercial edition for security teams who need to verify vulnerabilities. Built on the Metasploit Framework, it offers a graphical user interface, integrates nmap for discovery, and adds smart bruteforcing as well as automated evidence collection.
Metasploit Pro 
In October 2010, Rapid7 added Metasploit Pro, an open-core commercial Metasploit edition for penetration testers. Metasploit Pro includes all features of Metasploit Express and adds web application scanning and exploitation, social engineering campaigns, and VPN pivoting.
Metasploit offers many types of payloads, including:
- Command shell enables users to run collection scripts or run arbitrary commands against the host.
- Meterpreter enables users to control the screen of a device using VNC and to browse, upload and download files.
Opcode Database 
The Opcode Database is an important resource for writers of new exploits. Buffer overflow exploits on Windows often require precise knowledge of the position of certain machine language opcodes in the attacked program or included DLLs. These positions differ in the various versions and patch-levels of a given operating system, and they are all documented and conveniently searchable in the Opcode Database. This allows one to write buffer overflow exploits which work across different versions of the target operating system.
Shellcode Database 
See also 
- "COPYING - Metasploit Framework license". Retrieved 2012-06-13.
- Metasploit History
- Rapid7 Acquires Metasploit
- Sectools.org survey showing Metasploit as #1 exploit tool
- "ACSSEC-2005-11-25-0x1 VMWare Workstation 5.5.0 <= build-18007 GSX Server Variants And Others". December 20, 2005.
- "Month of Kernel Bugs - Broadcom Wireless Driver Probe Response SSID Overflow". November 11, 2006.
- Metasploit installer download page
- "Metasploit editions". rapid7.com. rapid7. Retrieved 16 February 2013.
Further reading 
- Powerful payloads: The evolution of exploit frameworks, searchsecurity.com, 2005-10-20
- Chapter 12: Writing Exploits III from Sockets, Shellcode, Porting & Coding: Reverse Engineering Exploits and Tool Coding for Security Professionals by James C. Foster (ISBN 1-59749-005-9). Written by Vincent Liu, chapter 12 explains how to use Metasploit to develop a buffer overflow exploit from scratch.
- HackMiami Pwn-Off Hack-A-Thon review of Metasploit Express