With so many different web application penetration testing tools available, figuring out which is right for you is tough. You know you want to uncover and assess security weaknesses in your web applications but need to figure out which tool is best. I've got you! In this post I'll help make your choice easy, sharing my personal experiences using dozens of different web application penetration testing software with various teams and projects, with my picks of the best web application penetration testing tools.
What Are Web Application Penetration Testing Tools?
Web application penetration testing tools are software used to evaluate the security of web applications. They simulate attacks on the applications to identify vulnerabilities, such as security misconfigurations, weak authentication, and susceptibility to different types of cyber attacks. These tools automate the process of testing, making it systematic and comprehensive.
The benefits of using web application penetration testing tools include the early identification and resolution of security vulnerabilities, which enhances the overall security of the web application. They help in preventing potential data breaches and unauthorized access, thereby safeguarding sensitive information. These tools are essential for maintaining compliance with security standards and regulations. Regular use of these tools builds user trust by ensuring that web applications are robust against cyber threats, and they also aid in making informed decisions about risk management and security strategies.
Intruder is a vulnerability management tool designed to help businesses identify and address security weaknesses across their digital infrastructure. It provides continuous network monitoring, automated vulnerability scanning, and proactive threat response, which collectively contribute to a more secure IT environment for companies aiming to minimize their attack surface.
I chose this platform for my list because of its automation capabilities. It uses underlying vulnerability scanners to take a proactive approach to vulnerability management. This automated scanning feature allows for regular and systematic vulnerability assessments of digital assets with minimal manual effort. Meanwhile, the tool's continuous monitoring and real-time threat monitoring capabilities ensure that security statuses are always current, adapting to new threats and environmental changes.
The software integrates natively with Slack, Microsoft Teams, Jira, Github, and Gitlab. Other integrations can be accessed through Zapier and API.
Paid plans start from $196 per month, per application. A 14-day free trial is also available.
AppTrana is a web application firewall (WAF) used for penetration testing, behavioral-based DDoS protection, mitigating bot attacks, and defending against the OWASP top 10 vulnerabilities. AppTrana is employed by security-conscious companies across myriad industries, such as Axis Bank, Jet Aviation, Niva Health Insurance, and TRL Transport.
AppTrana is a fully managed security solution, which means that their web security expert team takes on the analyzing and updating of security policies so you don't have to. Higher-level accounts will get a named account manager to assist them; the highest subscription level comes with quarterly service reviews (highly recommended!).
Key features include unlimited application security scanning, manual pen-testing of applications, managed CDN, false positive monitoring, custom SSL certificates, and risk-based API Protection. Their website is packed full of detailed feature explanations as well as a blog, learning center, whitepapers, infographics, and datasheets, so I highly recommend you take a look around for yourself.
AppTrana costs from $99/month/app and comes with a free 14-day trial.
Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP) is a web application security scanner that allows you to execute penetration tests. The tool is used to prevent hostile attacks on your web application, and can be used on various platforms such as Mac OS x and Docker. ZAP is extendable and flexible, allowing users who are new to security testing to easily implement it within their workflow.
Zed Attack Proxy is positioned between your browser and your application to act as a “middleman proxy”. From this position, the tool intercepts messages sent between the browser and application, and those messages are examined for vulnerabilities. The tool then, if required, will adjust the contents of the messages, and pass them on to their destination.
ZAP integrates with tools such as Docker, CyCognito and Nucleus.
Zed Attack Proxy is fully open source and free to use.
Core Impact is a comprehensive web application penetration testing tool that allows you to exploit weaknesses in the security of your applications, and increase productivity. The tool provides an easy and clean user interface, as well as the ability to execute rapid penetration tests. This allows you to discover, test and report more efficiently.
Core Impact provides a feature for replicating multi-staged attacks, which allows you to pivot your pen tests across various systems, devices and applications. The feature allows you to configure various tests and execute them all at once. Another feature of Core Impact is the ability to install an agent on the server through SSH and SMB, making white box testing more effective.
The cost of Core Impact starts at $9,450 USD per year for the Basic package. The tool also offers a free trial.
Wireshark is a powerful open source network packet sniffer equipped for the deep inspection of hundreds of different protocols, with more being added all the time. Wireshark runs on multiple platforms, including Windows, macOS, Linux, Solaris, NetBSD, FreeBSD, and many others.Wireshark can read live data from Ethernet, IEEE 802.11, PPP/HDLC, ATM, Bluetooth, USB, Token Ring, Frame Relay, FDDI, and others in a wide range of file formats. Data can easily be exported, compressed and decompressed for offline analysis, and the platform also has a user-friendly built-in network protocol debugging environment.Wireshark integrates with a wide range of tools, including network software emulators like GNS3.Wireshark is open source and free to use.
Gobuster is a penetration testing tool that is accessible via Github, which allows you to conduct scanning across your web application, and brute force your URIs, DNS subdomains and Virtual Host names on target web servers which allows you to identify unprotected scripts and old configuration files.
Gobuster is hosted on GitHub and can be installed using your terminal. The tool provides the ability to conduct recon tests, which allows you to delve into the depths of your web application and detect vulnerabilities. The tool then provides a thorough report so you can review your code effectively.
Gobuster is fully open source and free to use.
John the Ripper is an opensource tool for auditing password security and recovering passwords available in more than 20 languages.While it’s mostly used for cracking Unix passwords, John the Ripper supports a wide range of other operating systems’ and web apps’ password hash and cypher types, including Windows LM, macOS, database servers, filesystems and disks, encrypted private keys, groupware, archives, document files, and more. While John the Ripper is open source and free to use, a more robust commercial John the Ripper Pro product is available for specific operating systems in the form of “native” packages for each target OS.
Invicti is an automated security testing tool that allows you and your organization to secure all your web applications and reduce the risk of a cyber attack. Invicti is easy to configure, allows you to scan your websites and web applications for security flaws, and generates results reports. The tool also provides a technology dashboard that shows information about software versions used in your applications.
Invicti allows you to configure pre-set scan profiles, making it easy for anyone in your team to run scans and penetration tests. The feature is entirely customizable so you can set your scan profiles up in a way that is best for your web application. Invicti also has a 24/7 responsive support team.
Inviciti integrates with tools such as Bugzilla, BitBucket and Asana.
Invicti provides customized pricing upon request.
NMap is a web application penetration testing tool that offers a comprehensive platform, allowing you to execute penetration tests and scan your network for vulnerabilities within your applications to the full extent. The tool allows you to configure your port ranges, IPs and protocols to your own needs, and also allows for scanning of multiple IPs for open ports.
NMap boasts a lightweight application that is easy to start up, which is ideal for a team that has less experienced members. The tool’s organized user interface allows you and your team to easily navigate your penetration tests and reporting, and runs on all operating systems and binary packages are available for Mac OS X, Windows and Linux.
NMap is fully open source and free to use.
Burp Suite is a penetration testing tool that allows you to improve your cyber security protocols with the use of a fully fleshed out toolkit. The tool boasts an array of features such as the Burp Intruder which allows you to automate customized cyber attacks against your applications, and Burp Repeater which allows you to manipulate and reissue individual HTTP requests manually.
Burp Scanner also has a passive scanning feature, which allows you to divide the checks performed into active and passive checks. This allows you to set the targets and scopes, and cover areas that are easily missed. The tool also allows you to conduct active scans, ensuring that the entirety of your application is covered.
Burp Suite integrates with tools such as Jenkins and TeamCity.
The cost of Burp Suite starts at $6,995 per year. The tool also offers a free trial.
Best for external asset discovery
Easy to use credential and non credential scans
Automate manual tests and streamline your process
- New Relic
Best for real-time performance monitoring
An open-source penetration testing tool specifically for detecting and exploiting SQL injection flaws
An application-based penetration and data testing tool that allows you to execute pen tests for the data and signal integrity of your applications
A penetration testing tool specifically for brute-forcing your web applications
What do I look for when I select the best web application penetration testing tools? Here’s a summary of my evaluation criteria:
- User Interface (UI): I look for a clean and organized user interface that any pen tester will find easy to use.
- Usability: I look for features that offer complete test coverage of your web applications.
- Integrations: I look for tools that integrate with project management tools and other penetration testing tools.
- Value for Pricing: I look for the tools with the most expansive features for the best price.
Web Application Penetration Testing Tools: Key Features
- Detection and exploitation: The tool must be able to detect vulnerabilities and exploit them.
- Results reports: The tool must deliver detailed results reports of executed scans and tests.
- Cross platform and device testing: The tool must cover testing across various operating systems and devices.
What Are The Top Penetration Testing Techniques?
There are various aspects of penetration testing that you can use to execute successful security testing.
Black Box Test
Black box pentesting examines the functionality of an application without the need to delve into its internal structures, and can be applied to any stage of software testing.
White Box Test
While black box testing examines the functionality at a high level, white box testing tests the internal structures of a web application including its code, infrastructure and integrations with external platforms.
Network Service Penetration Testing
A network service penetration test identifies security vulnerabilities in your network. The test simulates malicious cases to evaluate the network's cyber security.
Web Application Penetration Testing
A web application penetration test, or pen test, simulates a cyber attack on your web application to identify vulnerabilities in your web application. It is often used to expand a web application's firewall.
Wireless Penetration Testing
Wireless penetration testing identifies and examines connections between all operating devices on one business wifi network.
Social Engineering Penetration Testing
Social engineering penetration testing is the attempt of typical social engineering scams on a business and its employees to determine the level of vulnerability of the organization.
Physical Penetration Testing
Physical penetration testing are tests that attempt to compromise the security of physical barriers such as locks, sensors, intrusion alarms and motion detectors.
Other App Testing Software Reviews
You might also want to consider:
- Application Performance Management Software
- Mobile App Testing Services
- Static Application Security Testing Tools (SAST)
Penetration testing is a sure way to test the strength of your application security, and the penetration testing tools above could help streamline your processes and reduce the time spent on it while maintaining good quality results. I hope this article helped you decide which tool is right for you and your team so you are better able to manage your cyber security.
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