Top 11 OSINT Tools for Penetration Testing

Open-source Intelligence (OSINT) tools helps us get access to the information that can be placed on any website, page, or advertisement. OSINT tools have the access to almost everything! This efficient tools can fetch information on any topic from anywhere on the web. These tools have been widely adopted by search engines and also by the software quality assurance engineers and developers performing penetration testing. Having access to every information of the world wide web, the OSINT tools can be adopted for negative purposes as well. These efficient tools have been based on many cybercrimes.

Open Source Intelligence fuels cybersecurity teams, letting blue, purple and red teams access a wide range of information such as network technologies, web-hosting servers, DNS records, software technologies, cloud assets, IoT devices, apps, databases, social media accounts, and much more.

Here at LinuxAPT, as part of our Server Management Services, we regularly help our Customers to perform related System Security queries.

In this context, we shall look into the most popular and highly recommended OSINT tools for penetration testing.

1. Maltego

Maltego OSINT tool is renowned across the globe for providing the most efficient and capable platform to security testers for performing different security-related tests. Maltego is a part of the efficient and renowned Kali Linux – a platform known for providing an efficient security testing environment. The efficient OSINT tool is written in Java and provides the built-in measures and capabilities to collect data easily and most effectively from across the web and various internet sources. Based on the acquired information and data, the tool generates informative, interactive, and quite intuitive graphs for a better understanding of the vulnerabilities and network health.

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2. Google Dorks

Google – a term that does not need any introduction. Google Dorks is the culprit behind the efficiently working search engine. The diverse, enhanced, and most capable OSINT tool that fetches billions of records every second owes its efficiency to the commendable Google Dorks framework. The penetration testers can adapt the open-source tool for testing purposes. The efficient Google Dorks uses the following five operators to fetch information from around the web, these operators are Intitle that searches the title, Ext operator searches specific extension in the file, Inurl matches specific string present in the URL, Filetype searches the particular file, Intext helps to get access to the specific text on the page.

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3. Shodan

Shodan is an efficient computer search engine that is mostly used by hackers and software engineers to access all the exposed internet assets. Security professionals highly adopt this platform as it offers a seamless user experience and fast results. Shodan incorporates data that is linked to the exposed assets, i.e., the assets connected to the network. The OSINT tool can be accessed from anywhere such as laptops, computers, webcams, any IoT device, traffic signals, etc. With this tool, the security testers can analyze and assess vulnerabilities, passwords, ports, services, etc.

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4. theHarvester

Another famous OSINT tool for penetration testing, theHarvester is known among the software developers and especially among the Linux software developers as it comes equipped in the famous Kali Linux. This tool is renowned for searching and accessing emails, hostnames, fetch domain-associated data from public web search engines, usernames, and PGP key servers. The TheHarvester OSINT tool also provides support for the subdomains of Google for Emails, PGP server for subdomains or hostname and users, and the list goes on. The efficient tool was specifically designed for managing the penetration testing tasks at the most advanced stage.

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5. Recon-ng

Another efficient OSINT tool for penetration testing that comes integrated into the Kali Linux, Recon-Ng is a tool renowned for performing surveillance on the target. Recon-ng comes with a list of efficient in-built tools that enable security testers from around the globe. This feature has made Recon-Ng one of its most commendable capabilities that enable its many users and the security testing newbies. Having quite a resemblance to Metasploit, the users of the Metasploit access the modular tools and understand its capabilities and efficiency readily. Some of the most acquired and efficient modules are google-site-web and bing-domain-web.

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6. spiderfoot

The python-based efficient OSINT tool is renowned software for providing insights and requested information relating to IP addresses, names, emails, domain names, etc. The efficient tool provides an interactive user interface to its users that comes equipped with a powerful command-line interface. It receives and collects a wide range of information about the target, like netblocks, e-mails, web servers, etc. With spiderfoot, one is able to target as per one’s requirement and need, as it simply collects the data by learning how they are linked to each other. Moreover, it gives clear penetrations about possible hacking warnings like data leaks, vulnerabilities, and additional relevant information on the same. Hence this insight will help to leverage the penetration test and improve the threat intelligence to notify before it gets attacked or looted.

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7. TinEye

Quite a revolution for the search engine concepts, TinEye is the first-ever search engine OSINT tool that fetches information from an image uploaded into its search bar. The efficient and most enhanced reverse image search engine allows users to upload a picture which is then parsed by the efficient intelligence mechanisms that bring back information from across the web that matches with the details mentioned in the uploaded image. There are different methodologies incorporated that serve the task to fetch information relevant to the image. These methods include signature matching, image matching, watermark identification, etc. Advanced machine learning, neural networks, pattern recognition, and image identification are further enhanced to understand the image and fetch information from the web accordingly.

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8. Check Usernames

The efficient OSINT tool provides a straightforward and most minimalist tool for searching the internet for any username. The simple, yet commendably effective and powerful tool is able to search approximately 50 websites at a moment and search for the requested usernames along with any potential targets. The tool is widely used by many penetration testers around the globe and is highly recommended for the purpose.

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9. HaveIbeenPwned

HaveIbeenPwned can help you to check if your account has been compromised in the past. This site was developed by Troy Hunt, one of the most respected IT security professionals of this market, and it's been serving accurate reports since years.

If you suspect your account has been compromised, or want to verify for 3rd party compromises on external accounts, this is the perfect tool. It can track down web compromise from many sources like Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo accounts, as well as LastFM, Kickstarter,, Linkedin and many other popular websites.

Once you introduce your email address, the results will be displayed, showing something like:

Oh no - pwned!
Pwned on 1 breached site and found no pastes (subscribe to search sensitive breaches)

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10. Censys

Censys is a wonderful search engine used to get the latest and most accurate information about any device connected to the internet, it can be servers or domain names.

You will be able to find full geographic and technical details about 80 and 443 ports running on any server, as well as HTTP/S body content & GET response of the target website, Chrome TLS Handshake, full SSL Certificate Chain information, and WHOIS information.

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11. BuiltWith

BuiltWith is a cool way to detect which technologies are used at any website on the internet.

It includes full detailed information about CMS used like Wordpress, Joomla, Drupal, etc, as well as full depth Javascript and CSS libraries like jquery, bootstrap/foundation, external fonts, web server type (Nginx, Apache, IIS, etc), SSL provider as well as web hosting provider used.

BuiltWith also lets you find which are the most popular technologies running right now, or which ones are becoming trending.

Without any doubt, it is a very good open source intelligence tool to gather all the possible technical details about any website.

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This article covers the most popular and top 11 OSINT tools that are best for penetration testing. Basically, the purpose of these tests are to get more insights about the network and an operating system's health. They include Maltego, Google Dorks, Shodan, theHarvester, Recon-Ng, spiderfoot, TinEye, Check Usernames, HaveIbeenPwned, Censys and BuiltWith.

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