Hacking made easy: An Introduction to Metasploit Penetration Testing Tool

By using Metasploit you will be able to identify vulnerabilities which often used to hack your network. Thus, it is important to find it first beforehand so you can mitigate these vulnerabilities and strengthen your system.


Getting to Know Metasploit Framework

Metasploit itself is a tool which can be use to find vulnerabilities on server and network. This tool are used by both ethical hackers as well as real cybercriminals. That is why, it is important for the pentester in your company to know and learn how to use this tool effectively.

Furthermore, the framework itself is open source, so it can be customized easily to work with any operating system that you use in your server or network. Then using this tool, your pentester team can create custom code or ready to use code to probe your network to find weak spots.

Then once the threat hunting finish and the vulnerabilities are identified then with the documented information the team can address the weakness and create solution that can protect and strengthen the system.

Modules That Can Be Used on The Framework

  • Exploit
    This is a program that can be used to launch an attack to target the vulnerabilities. Inside the framework you will find database with large number exploits available. Then you can search inside the database to seek exploits that you want. In the database there are complete information about the exploit including discovery time, how the exploit work, the exploit effectiveness and many other. 
  • Auxiliaries
    This program is not use to directly exploit the system. Instead, it is used to provide more custom function in the framework. Some of the payload that can be use are port scanner, sniffer, and so on.

    With this payload, attacker can scan the target machine to gather more information. For example, if the target machine is using ssh service without any information of ssh version that it used, then attacker can use this payload to scan the port then get the information that they want.
  • Payloads
    Payloads is the one that do tasks that run after the exploit run. In this Metasploit framework you can use different payloads types so you will have a lot of options to use. Some of the payloads are:
  • Reverse shell
    This payload will generate cmd/terminal/shell inside the targeted machine which then will connected back into attacker’s machine.
  • Blind shell 
    This payload will create a port used to listen on the target machine then the attacker machine will then connect to it. By using this payload, then the outgoing connection will not be block as much unlike incoming connection.
  • Encoders 
    The framework also provides modules where you can use encoders which can be used to encrypt codes so it will become obscure and could not be interpret by program used to detect threat. Then the program will decrypt itself and turn into the original codes during execution. But the encoders itself are limited and currently antivirus programs already have the encoders signatures in their databases to detect it. 

    This means, even by using encoders it is not enough to bypass some antivirus detection. That is why, attackers usually will experiment and do creative change on the payload so they can bypass the antivirus and would not be detected by threat detector.

Main Components in The Framework

This Metasploit framework uses Ruby language and provided as open-source this is why, you can add any custom features in the framework with Ruby. There are many plugins that you can use in the framework. But the main keys component used in the framework are as follows:

  • msfdb
    data management can turn into a problem really fast which is why this framework allows you to use option such as PostgreSQL database that can be use to access and store data efficiently and quickly. That way, you can use it to organize and store the scan result that you did and access them in the future.
  • msfconsole 
    This component is the interface used for command line inside the framework. By using this component, you can navigate all around the database easily to get any modules that you want. You should use this command when you enter to get into the console.
  • meterpreter
    This component is actually a very advanced payload with various function build inside. The communication is done using packets that already encrypted to avoid detection. Usually this component is very difficult to be located and trace one it enters the system. Then it can be used to dump password hash, capture screen shorts and so on.
  • msfvenom
    this component can be use to create custom payloads also known as venoms that can be injected into the target machine. This method is important since the payload can be detected then get deleted by software used to detect threat or by antimalware and antivirus software. Especially since usually the software already has signatures and fingerprints databased of various malicious payloads. 

How to Use the Framework on Pentest to Strengthen Your System

Do discovery scanning

This scanning can be use to get information of the server and the network of the target machine. Usually hackers can use this method to find information that they then can use to further break inside the network as well as finding vulnerabilities. 

During Pentest you can use the Metasploit framework to do discovery scanning by running various scan combination such as OS detection, data import, port scan and so on. Then you will be able to get the IPs list as well as the running services inside the machine.

Find command list using help command

It is important to know which commands available to use in the framework during your pentest. To make it easier you can just use help command which will give you a list of available commands that you can execute. In the list you will also see their description so you will know how to use them. 

Do vulnerability scan

The goal of pentesting is to find vulnerabilities that usually get exploit b y hackers. This vulnerability will be their entry point where the attacker get access into your network even without authorization. 

Thus, you need to do vulnerability scan that can help you highlight those vulnerabilities to find them first before the hackers so you can fix the issue. The framework itself is using Nexpose when running the vulnerability scanning.

Importing the data that you get from another scanner

Besides using this framework, you can also scan the system using other vulnerability scanners so you can detect even more vulnerability. Then you can import the data that you get from another scanner into Metasploit, then you can use this framework to examine the entry points. 

Currently the supported data import can be done from Impact, Nessus and Core. These vulnerability scanners can help you to find weakness inside the network defense which can be exploit by hackers. So, it is recommended for you to also use those scanners.

Schedule automatic scan

To make your pentest more efficient you can use the task chain feature to schedule automatic scan that can complete automatically. That way, you do not have to do the scan manually each time. You can even set the timer of how often the scan will run.

Run validation wizard on the vulnerabilities

When you do vilerability scan, you might find quite large number of vulnerabilities in your machine. It would be very time consuming and difficult if you have to check them one by one. 

Thus, to make your pentest more efficient, you can use the validation wizard feature on those vulnerabilities. This feature will then put the vulnerabilities on a list and rank them based on risk. That way, you can address the greater risk vulnerabilities first which will surely make your job more effective.

Try break into a machine using exploits

Once you find vulnerabilities on your pentest then it is time to break into the machine. You can use script that design to compromise the machine or by using exploit to try and gain access into the network. 

Interact with the system using payload

Once you are inside the system, then you can use payload to exploit the system. Regarding how far is the exploit, you need to discuss it further with the team when setting the goal of the pentest. 

Simulate brute force

Another attack that can be done using this framework is brute force which can be used to get access into the system and find login credentials. You can also do this test using Metasploit with various medium such as through ssh, ftp, or telnet.

Find email information

This is another information that you can get using the framework. Usually hackers will try to find this information before they launch their attack. So, it is important for you to test your network security to test whether the defense work to prevent hackers getting the information or not.


Performing pentest on your network will help you to identify vulnerabilities. Then you will be able to improve your security by minimizing the network exposure by addressing those vulnerabilities. Metasploit is important tools that you need to use during the penetration testing as it can help you to efficiently and effectively do the test.

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