Top 10 Best Free Open Source Cyber Security Tools (Pros and Cons)

Top 10 Best Free Open Source Cyber Security Tools (Pros and Cons). Enterprises around the world are leveraging the web to get ahead of competitors. Security is a huge issue for businesses. Companies must protect their systems and data while also providing robust services. Here’s where cyber security tools come in. They offer a range of security features, including network monitoring, penetration testing and intrusion detection.

Let’s start with Top 10 Best Free Open Source Cyber Security Tools (Pros and Cons) 

Free and Open Source Cyber Security Tools 2022

Hackers are diverse, and so are cyber security tools. Various tools are available for solving different issues. Paid tools like Acunetix and SolarWinds Security Event Manager offer many advanced features but require significant investment.


But, many open source cyber security tools offer similar features at little or no cost. If you have the technical expertise to use these free tools, they can provide everything you need to secure modern day cloud infrastructure.


Plus, open source tools allow companies to customize the software as they see fit. So, if you’re interested in free security tools, check out these top 10 open source cyber security tools.

1. Nmap

Nmap is an open source network scanner that rapidly scans large computer networks. First on our list of Top 10 Best Free Open Source Cyber Security Tools. Used for hosting discovery as well as service and OS detection.  Utilizes raw IP packets to dig up host information on a network.


The Nmap Scripting Engine (NSE) offers a solid way of writing and sharing custom scripts that tackle common problems. You can choose from many readily available scripts to perform quick network scans.

Pros of Nmap

  • Map quickly the network without requiring complicating commands.
  • Admins can search through subdomains and DNS queries at ease.
  • Highly configurable, so users can easily customize the scans.
  • Lightweight nature makes it super quick and speeds up the start up process.

Cons of Nmap

  • Mastering all of Nmap’s features has a steep learning curve.
  • Scanning can take longer if you do not limit the network.
  • Some scan types are aggressive and may unintentionally trigger IDS/IPS mechanisms.

2. Metasploit

Metasploit is a penetration testing framework that helps security professionals perform simulation attacks to find loopholes in a system. Robust feature set that helps detect bugs and validate attacks.

Additionally Metasploit offers premium tiers for enterprises that need an all in one penetrating platform. However, the community edition is usually enough for SMEs.

Pros of Metasploit

  • Fully cross platform and runs on Linux, macOS, and Windows systems.
  • Community support for this open source security tool is excellent.
  • Codebase is freely available and you can use it for integrations with other tools.
  • Pro version unlocks powerful automation abilities useful for large scale security teams.

Cons of Metasploit

  • Free edition is limited in features and requires significant technical expertise. 
  • Noticeable performance difference between the Windows and Linux versions.
  • User intervention is needed for some exploits to work properly.


OSSEC is a free HIDS(Host based Intrusion Detection System) that performs in real time monitoring and analysis. Equipped with a solid correlation and analysis engine. Most common uses for OSSEC include log analysis, integrity checks, Windows registry monitoring, and security policy enforcement.

Pros of OSSEC

  • Gives you real time alerts for incidents and enables active responses.
  • Log analysis- accepts them in formats such as FTP servers, databases (PostgreSQL, MySQL) and web servers.
  • Compliant with various security auditing standards like PCI-DSS and CIS.
  • Collects system information effectively and act as a system inventory.

Cons of OSSEC

  • Lack of a monitoring dashboard can make threat visualization harder.
  • Upgrading the OSSEC version may result in inconsistencies between rules.
  • Miscoordination with pre shared keys ca be troublesome.

4. Kali Linux

Kali is a popular Linux distribution for digital forensic analysis and penetration testing. Debian based distro that offers you some of the best open source cyber security tools. This security focused OS has everything that you need for system assessments, including surveillance and payload delivery tools.

Pros of Kali Linux

  • Specialized environment for security professionals.
  • Over 600 penetration tools included.
  • Wireless device support.
  • Most of the applications are derived from the Debian testing branch.
  • You can run it almost everywhere, including the cloud, containers, Android, ARM and WSl.

Cons of Kali Linux

  • Steep learning curve and may prove hard for beginners.
  • Some of the security tools found on Kali can feel sluggish.
  • Driver support for external devices can be improved.

5. OpenVAS

OpenVAS (Open Vulnerability Assessment System) is another choice for our  Top 10 Best Free Open Source Cyber Security Tools. Ideal cyber security tool for vulnerability scanning. Offer you  a solid set of features that can be used for authenticated and unauthenticated testing. Part of the Greenbone Community Edition suite, a collection of free security tools.

Pros of OpenVAS

  • Uses a regularly updated list of NVT(Network Vulnerability Test) feeds for vulnerability tests.
  • Useful for Small Businesses.
  • CVE Coverage for bugs and testing. 
  • Large and dedicated community, so finding support is easy.
  • The open source license of OpenVAS enables third party customization.

Cons of OpenVAS

  • Requires solid effort to get up and running with this vulnerability scanner.
  • Doesn’t offer you any cloud scanner for AWS, Azure, or GCP.

6. Wireshark

Wireshark is a free packet capture and analysis tool for troubleshooting network connections and analysing IP packets. Proven to be one of the most popular open source cyber security tools since its release. Captures and analyses data packets in real time makes it desirable to many organizations.

Pros of Wireshark

  • Captures live packets and saves them for later inspection.
  • VoIP and VLAN identification.
  • Very robust filtering capabilities for sorting through captured data.
  • Exports to CSV, XML and plain text.
  • Allows you to find problems in networks and solve routing problems

Cons of Wireshark

  • New users will take time to master all the analysis mechanisms.
  • Can’t send or alter packets.
  • Some users may find the user interface confusing initially

7. OpenIAM

OpenIAM is a solid IAM(Identity and Access Management) platform with on premise and cloud deployment support. Great tool for businesses that want a free but decent IAM solution. The community edition of OpenIAM is free, but you can also buy a premium subscription. Cloud, SaaS, Web based and Windows Desktop.

Pros of OpenIAM

  • Features for identity management, web based logins  and multi factor authentication.
  • Single Sign On.
  • Hosted on a cloud provider as an Identity as a Service(IDaaS) program.
  • Integrates with other open source tools via OpenID Connect(OIDC).

Cons of OpenIAM

  • The documentation support available for this IAM tool is limited.
  • Does not generate extensive analytical reports.

8. OpenEDR

OpenEDR is an open source Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) program developed by the US cybersecurity firm Comodo. Companies can use OpenEDR to secure their infrastructure against malware, ransomware, data breaches and other threats.

Pros of OpenEDR

  • Sleek dashboard and offers powerful data visualization tools.
  • Comes with compelling telemetry features and analysis capabilities.
  • Deploy OpenEDR for any endpoints and control it via a cloud based console.

Cons of OpenEDR

  • Need to pay for retaining any logs past three days.
  • There’s no SaaS based deployment tool for OpenEDR yet.


OWASP ZAP(Zed Attack Proxy) is one of the most widely used app scanners for the web. Open source security tool that you can customize as necessary. ZAP’s notable features include proxy interception, port scanner, passive scanner, automatic testing, etc.


  • Excellent GUI interface that makes testing effortless.
  • Actively maintained and rolls out new features and bug fixes regularly.
  • API endpoints gives you complete control over its implementation.


  • Reporting feature doesn’t follow any specific format and may feel cluttered.
  • Paid support is not available, so technical expertise is sometimes required.

10. sqlmap

Last on the list of Top 10 Best Free Open Source Cyber Security Tools is sqlmap. Another cyber security tool for finding and exploiting SQL injection flaws in databases. Features a powerful detection engine that can easily discover commonly used SQL attacks. Also  you can get various switches for routine tasks like fingerprinting, data fetching, and remote command execution.

Pros of sqlmp

  • Supports all major databases, including MySQL, MSSQL, PostgreSQL, Firebird, MariaDB, and Amazon Redshift.
  • Connect directly to the database through IP, port and user credentials.
  • sqlmap supports enumeration over users, hashes, tables, columns, and privileges.
  • It can recognize hash formats automatically and crack them via dictionary attacks.

Cons of sqlmap

  • Lacks any GUI interface and requires command line proficiency.
  • May need to confirm some vulnerabilities manually.

Thank you for reading Top 10 Best Free Open Source Cyber Security Tools (Pros and Cons).

Top 10 Best Free Open Source Cyber Security Tools Conclusion

Summarizing  application security, information security, disaster recovery are a part of cybersecurity. They all need to be managed and inspected. So Cybersecurity protects you from cyber attacks. Mostly used to avoid unauthorized data access and identity theft.

We have looked at the top Cybersecurity tools and understood their importance. Open source security tools make identifying security issues effortless. But an abundance of high quality options often confuses people in choosing the best free security tools for their needs. That’s why we’ve outlined some of the prominent ones in this guide to help you find the perfect security solution.

Avatar for Rubaiat Hossain
Rubaiat Hossain

I'm a computer science engineer with a strong passion for open-source. Besides being a Unix veteran, I'm also into security, cryptography, and functional programming. I'm an avid collector of secondhand books and have a never-ending admiration for classic rock.

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