Comparing Editions: Metasploit Express vs. Metasploit Pro

Version 7

    Are you using Metasploit Express and wondering what Metasploit Pro could do for you? This document outlines the most important differences between Metasploit Pro and Metasploit Express. In general terms, Metasploit Pro is a fully-featured security solution for security programs and advanced penetration tests in mid-sized and enterprise security teams. By contrast, Metasploit Express is the low-cost, entry-level edition with a limited feature set.


    Prefer a table-formatted comparison? Go here.


    The following features are exclusive to Metasploit Pro and not included in Metasploit Express:


    Security Auditing Wizards



    No matter if you're a veteran penetration tester or new to the game, you'll likely have more projects than you have time on your schedule. Metasploit Pro's Security Auditing Wizards walk the user through the steps of a typical engagement. Seasoned penetration testers will find that the wizards shortcut the first steps of an engagements, making them more productive. For new Metasploit Pro users, the new wizards provide a great way to easily conduct baseline assessments to find low-hanging fruit.


    Simplify and Operationalize Security Testing


    Even when offensive security techniques have been publicly discussed at conferences and proof of concept code or open source tools are available, using them in your projects can be very time consuming and may even require custom development. Simplify and operationalize security testing with Metasploit Pro's MetaModules, which automate common yet complicated security tests that provide under-resourced security departments a more efficient way to get the job done. MetaModules cover tasks for penetration testing, such as passive network discovery, and security controls testing, such as firewall egress testing.

    Evade leading Anti-virus solutions


    Because Metasploit Express uses Metasploit Framework payloads as well as their encoding techniques, which are open source and well known to AV vendors, payloads get stopped by most AV solutions.


    With Metapsloit Pro, you can create dynamic payloads to evade detection by anti-malware solutions. Metasploit Pro evades leading anti-virus solutions 90% of the time, with no solution detecting all options. Dynamic payloads are seamlessly integrated into exploitation, credentialed log-ins, and phishing and can be used stand-alone.


    VPN pivoting


    Metasploit’s regular proxy pivoting is useful to exploit another host once you have gained a first session in an organization through social engineering or exploiting an Internet-facing server. However, it’s proxy-based interface makes it very challenging to run reconnaissance on the network.


    By contrast, VPN pivoting lets you run any network-based tools through a compromised host, such as vulnerability scanners or even your own custom tools. It creates an encrypted layer 2 tunnel into the compromised machine and routes any network traffic through that target machine. This grants you full network access as if you were on the local network – without a perimeter firewall to block your traffic.

    Team Collaboration


    When working in a red team, it can be hard to keep track of information and share it with the team, resulting in low productivity and missed opportunities to penetrate the target.


    Metasploit Pro manages all of the data in a penetration test and makes it available instantly to all team members, such as discovered hosts, notes, and credentials. Credentials captured by one team member instantly become available for other members for iterative attacks, greatly increasing the speed of a large-scale penetration test. With team collaboration, you can mentor junior team members and oversee their work on a project, reducing the cost of the engagement and enabling training on the job.


    At the end of the engagement, the results of all team members are included in the final reports – no collating necessary.


    metasploit-bruteforce-report.jpgPCI DSS and FISMA Reporting


    Writing reports is a time-consuming cut-and-paste chore at the end of every engagement, outlining which machines were compromised, showing the evidence, and how the results map to compliance requirements.


    While Metasploit Express includes basic reporting, Metasploit Pro adds two valuable reports that map the findings to the requirements of both PCI DSS and FISMA.


    Web app scanning


    With web apps becoming more and more crucial to the enterprise (and more and more complex), Metasploit Pro provides the intelligence you need to stay ahead of the game.  Our automated web scanning module allows you to discover URL’s, crawl for vulnerabilities, and exploit – all at the touch of a button.  Target your remediation efforts by testing which


    SQL injection or cross-site scripting attacks are successful.  Prove where you are vulnerable with Metasploit Pro and lock the barn door before the horses get out.


    Metasploit Pro covers Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) Top 10 2013. The list identifies ten of the most critical risks relating to web applications. Due to the popularity of, and increasing reliance on, web applications, they are involved in the majority of breaches. Metasploit addresses this, enabling organizations to audit the security of their web-based applications, whether they be out of the box or custom, on-premise or in the cloud. This helps security professionals identify issues before a malicious attacker does. Learn more about what's new in our OWASP Top 10 2013 webcast.


    SQL injections are among the top reasons of compromise for web applications, posing a huge risk to confidential data. Most SQL injection attacks give you access to the data in the database; Metasploit Pro's new SQL injection attacks go beyond this, giving penetration testers a session on the machine, which is equivalent to having administrative rights on the machine. This gives the penetration tester not only access to the database but also to other information on the machine, and opens the door to pivot to other machines.


    Finding vulnerabilities is great, but the goal is to eliminate them. The remediation advice provided in Metasploit's reports should serve as a valuable basis for discussions with internal developers and external SaaS application providers.


    security-awareness-management.jpgSocial engineering: Managing User Risk


    When it comes to phishing, you are only as secure as your most naïve user.  With enterprises spending big money on training and malware prevention, it is more important than ever to know who is leaving you vulnerable.


    With Metasploit Pro, you can find out whether your security awareness, vulnerability and patch management programs are hitting the spot. Send out phishing emails to your users to measure how many users:


    • Opened the email
    • Clicked on the link
    • Submitted a web form
    • Used an exploitable browser

    If your user awareness metrics are cause for concern, additional training may be in order. Send users directly to an on-demand course after they click on a phishing link, or sign them up later. Measure the effectiveness of your security awareness trainings by measuring the phishing email click-through rate before and after the training. Adjust your training content or delivery method if the trainings don't show the results you were hoping for.To improve system security, review your vulnerability management and patching programs, or tweak browser security settings.


    Enhanced command-line console

    Everyone has a preference, and you've got yours. Our penetration testing software allows you to choose your favorite user interface - web-based or command-line - or mix it up!New to Metasploit? Use the web-based interface to reduce the need for training, and get the job done faster.Metasploit veteran? Use the advanced CLI functionality of Metasploit Pro to get access to new, high-level commands, better manage your data and generate a single report for all activities.

    Integration and Automation

    Many drive-by attacks have become automated, so security professionals are at a disadvantage if they don't follow suit. With Metasploit Pro you can become more productive using the following ways to automate and integrate:

    • Metasploit Pro API: Build your own automation from from scratch, integrate with GRC and SIEM solutions, as well as custom vulnerability management tools while getting all that Metasploit Pro has to offer.  Our integrations and feature set are improving every day, but don’t let us hold you back!
    • Task chains: Set up custom workflows without having to write a single line of code. Task chains can be scheduled to run manually, one, or at scheduled intervals. Complete simple tasks or entire penetration tests, and have the reports sent to you by email after the workflow has completed.


    risk-validation.jpgVulnerability Verification


    The relationship between security and IT teams can be, shall we say, complicated. Vulnerability reports may list a potential vulnerability that is not exploitable in your environment. The IT operations team needs to know that you’re giving them meaningful, accurate information – every time.


    Metasploit gives you the ability to validate results from your vulnerability scanner. Exploitable vulnerabilities can be highlighted and are put on the top of the list. Non-exploitable vulnerabilities can be downgraded in importance or excluded if the compensating controls have proven to be effective.


    While Metasploit Express can import and validate the results of a number of third-party scanners, Metasploit Pro offers additional benefits when used with Nexpose. After the vulnerability verification, Metasploit can report results back into the Nexpose vulnerability management solution, ensuring a closed-loop security program and smoother interaction with IT operations.


    Post-Exploitation Macros and Persistent Sessions


    Your social engineering campaign or server exploit was successful – but you've gone out for lunch?  Metasploit Pro post-exploitation macros save you time and increase your productivity by automatically launching post-exploitation measure when Metasploit compromises a host. Actions include collecting passwords, taking screenshots, and installing keyloggers.


    You'll also want to protect yourself from losing a hard-earned session. With Metasploit Pro, persistent sessions ensure that the target connects back after the network connection is lost - even after a reboot. To ensure that your engagement does not leave behind an artifact that could later be exploited, you can specify a timeout for the persistent agent to self-destruct.


    Tagging Hosts


    Managing your target assets and organizing your work is time consuming and maintaining a spreadsheet of IP addresses isn’t the most efficient or secure tactic.  Metasploit Pro keeps track of all hosts and enables you to tag hosts to assign hosts to a person, mark the scope of a project, or flag high-value targets. Hosts can also be tagged by source (from Nexpose, internal scan, list from IT). Tags also serve as references for later actions; for example, if you've marked certain hosts with the "pci" tag, you can then start a smart exploitation action on these machines simply by entering #pci into the hosts field.


    Try Metasploit Pro Today


    Metasploit Pro is available as a free 7-day trial. Download it today!