As the internet and World Wide Web continue to expand and evolve, it has become increasingly common for cyber attacks to occur within web and mobile applications. Testing the durability of your web application's cyber security has never been more crucial.
In this article, I will cover some of the best web application penetration testing tools so you can complete your application's security testing, ensuring that your application is ready to withstand any attack.
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.
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Overviews Of The 10 Best Web Application Penetration Testing Tools
Here’s a brief description of each web application penetration testing tool to showcase each tool’s best use case, some noteworthy features, and screenshots to give a snapshot of the user interface.
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.
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.
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.
Metasploit is a web application penetration testing tool that identifies system weaknesses and attempts to exploit them, allowing you to isolate and demonstrate the weakness, and allow for remediations. The tool also works across multiple computer systems such as Windows, Linux and Mac OS X, and can be used across devices.
Metasploit provides the ability to automate manual tests and exploits, allowing you to minimize your team’s time spent on creating manual tests and scans. The tool boasts a large exploit database with new additions regularly, and is extremely intuitive, making it easy for you and your team to implement. Metaspolit also has a large community support system.
Metasploit integrates with tools such as Kali Linux and Dradis.
The cost of Metasploit starts at $2,000 per year. The tool also offers a free version.
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.
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.
Nessus is a web application penetration testing tool that allows you to complete vulnerability assessments of your web application. The tool allows you to easily identify and fix vulnerabilities, including software flaws, malware and missing patches. Nessus can operate across a variety of systems and devices.
Nessus provides the ability to perform credential and non credential scans, allowing you to find more depth vulnerabilities. This ensures that you have full test coverage, and are catching every security flaw within your application. The tool also covers network devices such as endpoints, servers and virtualization platforms.
Nessus integrates with tools such as Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure and ServiceNow.
The cost of Nessus starts at $4,719.13 USD per year. The tool also offers a 7-day free trial.
Intruder is a cloud-based vulnerability testing tool and scanner that allows you to as well as providing feedbackfind weaknesses within your web applications. The tool cuts down on work time by proactively scanning for new threats, and offering a threat prioritization solution. Intruder provides you stable and reliable security testing without complexity, allowing less experienced team members to execute pen tests.
Intruder boasts a clear, easy to use and detailed user interface, which allows you to efficiently organize your tasks and tests in an orderly fashion. The user interface allows you to easily set up internal and external scans and generate reports; plus, it provides feedback on actions needing to be taken to resolve issues. The tool also provides a notification system that alerts you to any new vulnerabilities within your web application.
Intruder integrates with platforms such as AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud.
The cost of Intruder starts at $113 USD per month for the Essential package of 5 targets to scan. The tool also has a 30-day free trial.
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.
The 10 Best Web Application Penetration Testing Tools Summary
14-day free trial
|Starts at $9,450 USD/year for the Basic package||Visit Website|
|Starts at $2,000/year||Visit Website|
|Starts at $6,995/ year||Visit Website|
7 Days Free Trials
|Starts at $4,719.13 USD/year||Visit Website|
Provides a clear, detailed user interface making it easy for less experienced users to navigate
30 Days Free Trials
|Starts at $113 USD/month for the Essential package of 5 targets to scan||Visit Website|
John the Ripper
Penetration testing tool and password cracker which allows you to test the strength of your passwords
Need expert help selecting the right Testing Software?
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Here are a few more that didn’t make the top list.
- Wireshark - a network protocol analyzer that is fully open source, and tracks your network and traffic for cyber security
- John the Ripper - a penetration testing tool and password cracker which allows you to test the strength of your passwords
- Medusa - an application-based penetration and data testing tool that allows you to execute pen tests for the data and signal integrity of your applications
- Wfuzz - a penetration testing tool specifically for brute-forcing your web applications
- SQLMap - an open-source penetration testing tool specifically for detecting and exploiting SQL injection flaws
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 testing 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.
While Black-Box testing examines the functionality at a high level, a 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.
What do you think about this list?
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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