Every year we look at this group and, whether we mean to or not, Core Impact Professional becomes our benchmark. First, the premise behind this product has always been efficient penetration testing. That is what it does, what it focuses on, and how its developers present it to the market. This philosophy has worked well for Core.
Impact Professional is, at first blush, an extremely capable pen testing tool. But it really is a lot more. Integration with a vulnerability scanner is an option and it can do a penetration scan or one can select individual exploits. This allows a tiered approach to pen testing for large organizations. Operational personnel can perform regularly scheduled penetration scans and vulnerability specialists can pick up after the scan and perform more in-depth analysis.
Core Impact Professional covers network vulnerabilities, email, Wi-Fi and web applications. Client-side vulnerabilities also can be simulated, allowing a full picture of exploitable vulnerabilities in today's enterprises. The depth into which a penetration tester can go with this product is another solid benefit. Since exploit scripts are accessible and written in a standard language, the tester can modify them or create entirely new ones. This allows development of tests for zero-day exploits as they are discovered.
Documentation is complete. Allowed IP ranges are embedded in the product on a per-customer basis, limiting the likelihood that the tool will be used improperly by a rogue employee. We have used Impact Professional in the SC Lab for the past few years and have found its performance to be first rate even on underpowered platforms. For pen testers on the go, laptop installation is no problem. That said, it will use all the resources that one allows it, so if installed on a large, powerful computer, it works with blazing speed. We also have used it successfully in a VMware vSphere 4.x environment.
Core Impact Professional is not cheap, but given its performance, support and ease of use - which is considerable - we find it to be an excellent value.