Metasploit is a free, downloadable framework that makes it very easy to acquire, develop, and launch exploits for computer software vulnerabilities. It ships with professional-grade exploits for hundreds of known software vulnerabilities. When H.D. Moore released Metasploit in 2003, it permanently changed the computer security scene. Suddenly, anyone could become a hacker and everyone had access to exploits for unpatched and recently patched vulnerabilities. Software vendors could no longer lay fixing publicly disclosed vulnerabilities, because the Metasploit crew was hard at work developing exploits that would be released for all Metasploit users.
Metasploit was originally designed as an exploit development platform, and we’ll use it later in the book to show you how to develop exploits. However, it is probably more often used today by security professionals and hobbyists as a “point, click, root” environment to launch exploits included with the framework.
Metasploit runs natively on Linux, BSD, Mac OS X, Windows (via Cygwin), Nokia N900, and jailbroken Apple iPhones. You can enlist in the development source tree to get the very latest copy of the framework, or just use the packaged installers from www.metasploit.com/framework/download/. The Windows installer may take quite a while to complete as it contains installers for Cygwin, Ruby, Subversion, VNCViewer, WinVI, Nmap, WinPcap, and other required packages.