Metasploit is not just a tool. It is a complete frame. It is a modular Ruby-based penetration testing platform that allows you to write, test and run exploit code, it is flexible and extremely robust and has tons of tools to perform various simple and complex tasks.
Metasploit has three editions available.
- Metasploit Community
- Metasploit Framework
For this article, we will use the Metasploit Framework edition.
Various components of Metasploit
Helpers are the modules that make Metasploit so easy to work with. A Metasploit helper is nothing more than specific code written to perform a particular task. For example, it can be used to check if we can access an FTP server anonymously or to check if the web server is vulnerable to a heart hemorrhage attack. In fact, Metasploit has more than 1,000 helper modules that perform various tasks like scanning, fuzzing, sniffing, and much more. These auxiliary modules are classified into 19 categories. Below are the categories of helper modules that are available in Metasploit:
- File format
You have already learned in the previous topic that an exploit is a piece of code to be used against the component that is vulnerable. It is possible for the exploit code to execute successfully, but what to do once the payload defines the exploit successfully. In simple terms, a payload can be defined as the action to be performed after the complete execution of an exploit.
Exploits are an extremely important part of Metasploit. The whole purpose of the framework is to offer exploits that you can use for various vulnerabilities. An exploit is code that takes advantage of a software vulnerability or security flaw and you will use this code on the target system to take advantage of vulnerabilities present on the target system. Metasploit has more than 1,800 exploits that can be classified into 17 categories.
Metasploit helps you generate a wide variety of payloads that you can send to the target in multiple ways to accomplish any task. In the process, its payload is very likely to be detected by any security software present on the target system or antivirus software. This is where encoders came into play. Encoders use various algorithms and techniques to hide the payload so that it is not detected by antivirus software.
5. Post-exploitation activities (postal mail)
Once you have gained access to your target system using any of the available exploits and we are talking about basic access here, you can make use of the post modules to further infiltrate the target system. These operations are mostly done at Cyber Events with full permissions and must be done ethically. With the help of these modules you can perform the following Post-exploitation activities:
- Escalate user privileges to administrator or root.
- Retrieve system credentials
- Steal cookies and saved credentials
- Capturing keystrokes on the target system
- Running custom Power Shell scripts to perform