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A hacking tool is a program designed to assist with hacking, or a piece of software which can be used for hacking purposes.
Examples include Nmap, Nessus, John the Ripper, p0f, Winzapper,  mSpy and iKeyMonitor. Bribes have also been described as among the most potent hacking tools, due to their potential exploitation in social engineering attacks. Occasionally, common software such as ActiveX is exploited as a hacking tool as well.
Hacking tools such as Cain and Abel, however, are well known as Script Kiddie Tools. Script kiddies are people who follow instructions from a manual, without realising how it happens. These Script Kiddies have been an enormous threat to computer security as there are many hacking tools and keyloggers up for download which are free.
Another example of a hacking tool is a computer worm. These malicious programs detect vulnerabilities in operating systems. Not all worms, however, are malicious. The Nachi Worms have actually fixed operating system vulnerabilities by downloading and installing security patches from the Microsoft website.
Although not much is said about threats to the Linux system, they do exist and could increase in the future. One of the biggest threats to the Linux system is given by the so-called Rootkits. These are programs that have special privileges and are able to hide their presence from the system administrator.
- "Top 15 Security/Hacking Tools and Utilities". Darknet.org.uk, 17 April 2006
- New hacking tool: chocolate, Munir Kotadia, Zdnet, Apr. 20, 2004.
- ActiveX used as hacking tool, CNet, Feb. 7, 1997.
- The basics of hacking and penetration testing: ethical hacking and penetration testing made easy, Engebretson, Pat (Patrick Henry), 1974- Call NumberPublisherEdition Waltham, MA : Elsevier, 2010.