HD Moore, creator of Metasploit and chief security officer at Rapid7, which last month purchased the wildly popular open-source penetration-testing tool, says most of the development work on the new version came prior to the Rapid7 acquisition.
"This is really a community release. It took 11 months to develop," Moore says.
Metasploit 3.3 comes with 445 exploits, 216 auxiliary modules, and hundreds of payloads. The new release, which fixed 180 bugs from the previous one, now provides Windows payload support for NX, DEP, IPv6, and Windows 7.
But perhaps the most noticeable feature about the tool is that it's colorful, according to Moore. "The console has fancy colors for the prompt and the logo...when you're doing a highly automated job, it's easier to see errors as they come through," he says.
The Windows version is portable, too: "You can install it to a USB key and take it with you," Moore says. That lets penetration testers run Metasploit remotely on their "targets," he says.
Metasploit includes Linux installers and supports version 1.9.1 of the Ruby interpreter; its database functionality is now enabled by default. Oracle exploit support includes modules for exploiting database-level privilege escalation flaws and Web-based Oracle services, and the MSSQL and Oracle login modules brute-force passwords from a dictionary file. And all TCP-based client-side exploits can be launched via HTTP proxies, for example.
Another change in the new Metasploit version is it supports the use of socially engineered attacks via familiar and trusted tools, like Notepad or Word documents. "One thing that was driving us crazy the last few months" was that some antivirus products were able to detect the custom executable binary template Metasploit used to embed shellcode for social engineering attacks, according to Moore.
Now Metasploit can embed shellcode into any existing binary. "It will now take an existing benign executable like Notepad or Word and inject directly into that binary," Moore says.
As part of version 3.3, the Metasploit Meterpreter tool -- which lets developers write code in DLL files and execute everything in memory without writing anything to the victim machine's disk, where it could be detected -- can now capture traffic from a "target" using an in-memory sniffing feature.
And don't expect to wait so long for the next version of Metasploit. From now on, new Metasploit versions will arrive rapid-fire given the use of Rapid7's vast lab resources to better develop and test new features and functions. The next version will be out around February or March, Moore says.
"We've been going with 12-month releases the last three years," he says. "What we're trying to do is get more releases going forward [and more regularly]," says Moore, who blogged about the new Metasploit penetration tool release today.
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