What is Metasploit?
Metasploit is a powerful penetration testing and hacking framework. It provides a broad set of methods and tools to create and implement complex attack vectors or their parts. Metasploit is designed to secure networks, services, and applications but can be also used for offensive and defensive purposes.
In other words, this is one of the hacker's Swiss knife options, with a diverse set of picks for many well-known locks. They can also supplement it with their own picks and automate unlocking new locks.
How does the Metasploit framework work?
Metasploit consists of several key components, each fulfilling a specific role in the penetration testing process. Let's take a look at the main components.
It all starts with the interfaces that give access to all the functionality of Metasploit.
Several interfaces are provided at once for different types of users and operations:
MSFConsole. This interface is the most popular in Metasploit. It offers command-line access to the framework for managing exploits and payloads.
MSFWeb. A web-based interface that provides convenient access to the Metasploit framework and graphical interaction.
Armitage. A graphical interface created by Raphael Mudge ensures intuitive interaction with Metasploit. It facilitates collaboration and provides access to compromised hosts.
RPC. This component allows programmatic control of the Metasploit Framework via HTTP remote procedure call services and supports Ruby, Java, Python, and C.
Interfaces allow you to access libraries containing the main pre-installed tools and plugins needed to perform many operations.
REX. This library includes various functions for manipulating network sockets, including modules for Base64, HTTP, SMB, SSL, and Unicode.
MSF Core. This core library defines the basic components and APIs for the Metasploit framework and provides common functions and structure for others. For example, MSF Core contains classes to represent exploits, payloads, and security bypasses, allowing them to be efficiently managed through a single interface.
MSF Base. This library offers convenient APIs for working with the Metasploit framework, simplifies user interaction, and provides additional features like classes for configuration, logging, exception handling, and custom scripts.
Additional modules that extend the basic functionality and automate the use of many tools and plugins are connected to the libraries.
Payloads. Modules that implement shell codes to automate interactions with the target system after the attacks.
Exploits. These modules enable controlled command sequences that exploit vulnerabilities in the target system to conduct attacks.
Posts (post-exploitation modules). Modules designed to work with the system after a successful hack, create extensive opportunities to collect and analyze information.
Encoders. Modules are responsible for masking payloads to avoid detection by antiviruses, intrusion detection systems (IDS), and intrusion prevention systems (IPS).
NOPs (no operation modules). Modules that create randomized byte sequences and insert "empty" operations into a payload to fool detection systems.
Auxiliaries. Auxiliary modules provide various functions, such as vulnerability scanners, port scanners, phasers, analyzers, and other tools for analyzing the environment and hardware.
Metasploit provides many plugins to extend its functionality with additional tools and features. Each plugin is designed for a specific task, whether integrating with other tools or creating additional options for users or businesses.
Who uses Metasploit?
Third-party penetration testers and security consultants. Metasploit users from the penetration testing field actively use it to test the security level of networks and applications, conduct controlled attacks, and proactively identify vulnerabilities.
Internal security analytics. Security administrators use Metasploit to analyze and remediate vulnerabilities in their organization's network infrastructure. This helps them take projective actions to strengthen security and prevent potential attacks.
Security incident specialists. Metasploit can be used to create and implement tools for security incident specialists to explore the techniques attackers can use.
Cybercriminals. Just as legitimate penetration testers and security consultants can benefit from Metasploit, cybercriminals can use it to compromise systems. The framework gives them the same ability to gather information, gain access, automate attacks, and cover their tracks.
- Metasploit provides a ready-made set of libraries and tools to perform various system security tests, minimizing the need to manually write code and commands.
- Metasploit also provides rich opportunities for customization and automation of penetration testing processes.
- On the one hand, Metasploit makes attacks too easy for cybercriminals. But on the other hand, it allows internal experts to be much more realistic and effective in their security efforts.