There is no single language developed for hackers and pentesters, and no buddy can develop in the feature too. There is a reason for that. Hackers and Pentesters can’t limit themselves to a particular technology; It is their job to work with pretty much anything people use. They need to understand and learn the database, operating systems, programming languages, applications, services, and tools. It is not practical to cover all the topics in a single article. As the title says, we will be covering only a few commonly used scripting languages for hackers and pentesters in the article.
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What Is a Scripting Language? How Does a Scripting Language Differ From a Programming Language?
A scripting language is a variant type of programming language which doesn’t need compilers to execute. Those who are not from a programming background may not understand the statement. Let us break it for non-programmers.
To understand what a scripting language makes different from a programming language. Programming language needs a special type of utility called a compiler to run a program. Before a program runs, the compiler does pre-execution checks and converts the program to machine code. Then machine code will be sent to the runtime environment for execution. On the other hand, scripting languages just interpret the written code line by line and directly send the code to the runtime environment tor execution without compiling it.
Why Are Scripting Languages Suitable for Hackers and Pentesters Than Programming Languages?
Most of the scripting languages are interpreted. Scripting languages can be run without compiling them. This feature lets hackers and pentesters directly run their scripts on the victim without compilers. Another reason would be because scripts are light to run and transfer to the target machine. In addition to those, another feature that gives the upper hand is execution time. Scripting languages are faster in execution. It can be easily weaponized; All this makes scripting language a perfect programming language for hackers and pentesters.
We have covered the six most commonly used programming languages by hackers and pentesters in another article. However, we are going to cover the six most common scripting languages for hackers and pentesters in this article. However, we are not assigning any rank to all these scripting languages. We believe each language has developed with unique features. Please don’t consider the language placed in first is the most important than the placed at the sixth position. Let’s start with Bash scripting language.
1. Bash or Shell Script:
Bash is the most popular and powerful scripting language in Unix and Linux systems. It’s been widely used by administrators to manage everyday tasks. Basically, Bash is a set of Linux commands used to perform pretty much anything like automating repetitive tasks, scheduling admin jobs, running health checks on the Linux servers, updating patcher on multiple servers at once, etc. In addition to these, it can also be used with other utilities to build productive scripts, which can help administrators carry out difficult tasks. All these powerful features of Bash script didn’t leave hackers and pentesters gaining attention to Bash scripting. Hackers and Pentesters found this as a great tool to perform hacking or pentesting the system. Because Bash can be used with other networks, hacking tools, and programming languages to deliver the payload to the target, it helps exfilleting the data from the victim and create a remote executable application.
2. JAVA Script:
A well-known client-side scripting language. JAVA script is not just used in hacking and pentesting but also used in bug hunting. JAVA scripts are mostly used in web exploitation, browser exploitation, and all types of cross-site attacks. Top web application testing and DAST tools like Burp Suite and OWASP ZAP use JAVA scripts to perform automated web application testing. All these make JAVA script a perfect scripting language for hackers and pentesters.
3. VB Script:
VB script is the best scripting language for the Windows platform. It is used to develop many useful Windows applications. On the other side, it has been used to develop malware programs as well. In the early days, most of the malware programs targeting the Windows operating system were built using VB scripts. One such virus is ‘Iloveyou virus‘, which created a sensation by infecting more than 10 million Windows computers on the globe in 2000. Still, VB scripts are being used in hacking and pentesting.
4. PowerShell Script:
PowerShell is like a Windows Bash shell. Windows administrators use PowerShell in their daily like to manage the server echo system clean and healthy. Admins use Powershell scripts to automate daily tasks like health check monitoring, scheduling a daily task, and applying Windows patches on the servers. Despite all that, the features offered by PowerShell attracted hackers and pentesters too. Hackers and pentesters use PloweShell to run malicious commands, download and run malware programs, evade Windows defender systems in privilege escalations, and create a malicious payload to exploit Windows computers.
5. PHP Script:
PHP is a server-side scripting language. It is extensively used in web server development, web application development. Some popular Content Management Systems (CMS) like WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla use PHP scripting in their development. All these make PHP an important scripting language for hacking and pentesting web servers and web applications.
There is some programming language that can be used as both interpreted and compiled languages, like Python and RUBY. Well, RUBY has been seen more used as an interpreted language. However, there are some compilers also available to use RUBY as a compiler language. RUBY is a dynamic, open source, and general-purpose programming language. It’s the hacker’s and pentester’s all-time favorite language as it provides various functions to create exploits. Word’s popular pentesting framework Metasploit is developed on the RUBY platform. Not just the framework, all the exploits used in the Metasploit framework has been written in RUBY language. So those who are in the hacking and pentesting area they can’t leave RUBY as an optional. This is the must-know scripting language for hackers and pentesters
These are our hand-picked six scripting languages that are being used in hacking and pentesting. The list doesn’t end here. Please leave in the comments if you want to know more on this topic.