You have no idea how good you have it. In 1998, I was an up-and-coming hacker, co-founding one of the earliest professional white hat hacking teams.
We were kids, really, with dream jobs, paid to break into some of the most secure computer systems, networks, and buildings on the planet. It sounds pretty sexy, but in reality, we spent most of our time hovering over a keyboard, armed with the digital tools of our trade.
We wielded a sordid collection of programs, designed to map networks and locate targets; then scan, exploit, and pivot through them.
In some cases, one of us (often Jim Chapple) would write custom tools to do wicked things like scan a Class A network (something no other tool could do, at the time), but most often we would use or modify tools written by the hacker community. In those pre-Google days, we frequented BugTraq, AstaLaVista, Packet Storm, w00w00, SecurityFocus, X-Force, and other resources to conduct research and build our arsenal.