Top 10 Open Source Security Testing Tools for Web Applications

Security Testing Tools

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The Internet has grown, but so have hacking activities. Every now and then there is some news regarding a website being hacked or a data breach. Technology has come a long way, but so does hacking. Just like the digital world, hacking techniques and tools have also become more sophisticated and also threatening.

Better late than sorry! It’s important to keep your website or web applications foolproof against malicious activities. What you need to do is to use some security testing tools to identify and measure the extent of security issues with your web application(s).

The primary function of security testing is to perform functional testing of a web application under observance and find as many security issues as possible that could potentially lead to hacking. All of this is done without the need to access the source code.

Before delving into some of the best open source security testing tools to test your web application, let’s first acquaint ourselves with definition, intent, and need of security testing.

Security Testing

The Definition – In order to assure that data within some information system stays secure and not accessible by unapproved users, we use security testing. Successful security testing protects web applications against severe malware and other malicious threats that might lead it to crash or give out unexpected behavior.

Security testing helps in figuring out various loopholes and flaws of a web application in the initial stage. Furthermore, it also helps in testing whether an application has successfully encoded security code or not. Primary areas covered by security testing are:

  • Authentication
  • Authorization
  • Availability
  • Confidentiality
  • Integrity
  • Non-repudiation

The Intent – Security testing is used by organizations and professionals throughout the world to ensure their web applications and information systems remain secure. Chief purposes of deploying security testing are:

  • To help improve the security and shelf-life of a product
  • To identify as well as fix various security issues in the initial stage of development
  • To rate the stability in the present state

The Need – Why do we need security testing? Well, there are a number of reasons, ranging from analyzing the degree of security to the prevention of unexpected breakdowns in the future. Some of the most important reasons are:

  • Avert inconsistent performance
  • Avoid losing customer trust
  • Avoid losing important information in the form of security leaks
  • Prevent information theft by unidentified users
  • Save from unexpected breakdown
  • Save additional costs required for fixing security issues

There are several free, paid, and open source tools available to check the vulnerabilities and flaws in your web applications. The best thing about open source tools, besides being free, is that you can customize them to match your specific requirements.

So, here is the list of 11 open source security testing tools for checking how secure your website or web application is:

Top 10 Open Source Security Testing Tools

10. Arachni

Apt for both penetration testers and admins, Arachni is designed to identify security issues within a web application. The open-source security testing tool is capable of uncovering a number of vulnerabilities, including:

  • Invalidated redirect
  • Local and remote file inclusion
  • SQL injection
  • XSS injection

Key highlights:

  • Instantly deployable
  • Modular, high-performance Ruby framework
  • Multi-platform support

Download Arachni source code.

9. Grabber

The portable Grabber is designed to scan small web applications, including forums and personal websites. The lightweight security testing tool has no GUI interface and is written in Python. Vulnerabilities uncovered by Grabber includes:

  • Backup files verification
  • Cross-site scripting
  • File inclusion
  • Simple AJAX verification
  • SQL injection

Key highlights:

  • Generates a stats analysis file
  • Simple and portable
  • Supports JS code analysis

Download Grabber source code.

8. Iron Wasp

An open-source, powerful scanning tool, Iron Wasp is able to uncover over 25 types of web application vulnerabilities. Additionally, it can also detect false positives and false negatives. Iron Wasp assists in exposing a wide variety of vulnerabilities, including:

  • Broken authentication
  • Cross-site scripting
  • CSRF
  • Hidden parameters
  • Privilege escalation

Key highlights:

  • Extensible via plugins or modules are written in C#, Python, Ruby, or VB.NET
  • GUI-based
  • Report generation in HTML and RTF formats

Download Iron Wasp source code.

7. Nogotofail

A network traffic security testing tool from Google, Nogotofail is a lightweight application that is able to detect TLS/SSL vulnerabilities and misconfigurations. Vulnerabilities exposed by Nogotofail are:

  • MiTM attacks
  • SSL certificate verification issues
  • SSL injection
  • TLS injection

Key highlights:

  • Easy to use
  • Lightweight
  • Readily deployable
  • Supports setting up as a router, proxy or VPN server

Download Nogotofail source code.

6. SonarQube

SonarQube - Security Testing Tool for Web Applications

Another opportune open source security testing tool is SonarQube. In addition to exposing vulnerabilities, it is used to measure the source code quality of a web application. Despite being written in Java, SonarQube is able to carry out analysis of over 20 programming languages. Furthermore, it gets easily integrated with continuous integration tools to the likes of Jenkins.

Issues found by SonarQube are highlighted in either green or red light. While the former represent low-risk vulnerabilities and issues, the latter corresponds to severe ones. For advanced users, access via command prompt is available. An interactive GUI is in place for those relatively new to testing. Some of the vulnerabilities exposed by SonarQube include:

  • Cross-site scripting
  • Denial of Service (DoS) attacks
  • HTTP response splitting
  • Memory corruption
  • SQL injection

Key highlights:

  • Detects tricky issues
  • DevOps integration
  • Set up analysis of pull requests
  • Supports quality tracking of both short-lived and long-lived code branches
  • Offers Quality Gate
  • Visualize history of a project

Download SonarQube source code.

5. SQLMap

Allowing automating the process of detecting and utilizing SQL injection vulnerability in a website’s database, SQLMap is entirely free to use. The security testing tool comes with a powerful testing engine, capable of supporting 6 types of SQL injection techniques:

  • Boolean-based blind
  • Error-based
  • Out-of-band
  • Stacked queries
  • Time-based blind
  • UNION query

Key highlights:

  • Automates the process of finding SQL injection vulnerabilities
  • Can also be used for security testing a website
  • Robust detection engine
  • Supports a range of databases, including MySQL, Oracle, and PostgreSQL

Download SQLMap source code.

4. W3af

One of the most popular web application security testing frameworks that are also developed using Python is W3af. The tool allows testers to find over 200 types of security issues in web applications, including:

  • Blind SQL injection
  • Buffer overflow
  • Cross-site scripting
  • CSRF
  • Insecure DAV configurations

Key highlights:

  • Authentication support
  • Easy to get started with
  • Offers intuitive GUI interface
  • Output can be logged into a console, a file or email

Download W3af source code.

3. Wapiti

One of the leading web application security testing tools, Wapiti is a free of cost, open source project from SourceForge and devloop. In order to check web applications for security vulnerabilities, Wapiti performs black box testing. As it is a command-line application, it is important to have a knowledge of various commands used by Wapiti.

Wapiti is easy to use for the seasoned but testing for newcomers. But don’t worry, you can find all the Wapiti instructions on the official documentation. For checking whether a script is vulnerable or not, Wapiti injects payloads. The open source security testing tool provides support for both GET and POSTHTTP attack methods. Vulnerabilities exposed by Wapiti are:

  • Command Execution detection
  • CRLF injection
  • Database injection
  • File disclosure
  • Shellshock or Bash bug
  • SSRF (Server Side Request Forgery)
  • Weak .htaccess configurations that can be bypassed
  • XSS injection
  • XXE injection

Key highlights:

  • Allows authentication via different methods, including Kerberos and NTLM
  • Comes with a buster module, allowing brute force directories and files names on the targeted web server
  • Operates like a fuzzer
  • Supports both GET and POSTHTTP methods for attacks

Download Wapiti source code.

2. Wfuzz

Developed in Python, Wfuzz is popularly used for brute-forcing web applications. The open-source security testing tool has no GUI interface and is usable only via command line. Vulnerabilities exposed by Wfuzz are:

  • LDAP injection
  • SQL injection
  • XSS injection

Key highlights:

  • Authentication support
  • Cookies fuzzing
  • Multi-threading
  • Multiple injection points
  • Support for proxy and SOCK

Download Wfuzz source code.

1. Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP)

Developed by OWASP (Open Web Application Security Project), ZAP or Zed Attack Proxy is a multi-platform, open source web application security testing tool. ZAP is used for finding a number of security vulnerabilities in a web app during the development as well as testing phase. Thanks to its intuitive GUI, Zed Attach Proxy can be used with equal ease by newbies as that by experts. The security testing tool supports command-line access for advanced users.

In addition to being one of the most famous OWASP projects, it is awarded the flagship status. ZAP is written in Java. Other than its use as a scanner, ZAP can also be used to intercept a proxy for manually testing a webpage. ZAP exposes:

  • Application error disclosure
  • Cookie not HttpOnly flag
  • Missing anti-CSRF tokens and security headers
  • Private IP disclosure
  • Session ID in URL rewrite
  • SQL injection
  • XSS injection

Key highlights:

  • Automatic scanning
  • Easy to use
  • Multi-platform
  • Rest-based API
  • Support for authentication
  • Uses traditional and powerful AJAX spiders

Download the Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP) source code.

If you want to dig deeper into information security then you can check out community-recommended best Information Security and Ethical Hacking Tutorials on This sums up the list of top 10 open source testing tools for web applications. Which is your favorite security testing tool? Tell us in the comments. Happy Testing!

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35 Comments, RSS

  1. Avatar

    Lorena Underwood December 18, 2018 @ 10:07 am

    What is a security pen test?

    • Avatar

      Theodore Copeland December 21, 2018 @ 5:50 pm

      Pen test is the abbreviation used for penetration testing is the simulated cyberattack on your computer system to check and evaluate the security of your system. The test result will identify the both weakness (or we can say vulnerabilities), potential to gaining and maintaining access to data, as well as strength of the system by enabling a full risk assessment to be completed.

  2. Avatar

    Bertha Garza December 18, 2018 @ 10:08 am

    What is Software Security Testing?

    • Avatar

      Marcia Dixon December 21, 2018 @ 5:51 pm

      Software Security testing is a testing technique of the software intends to reveal the flaws in the information system and determine that the data and resources of the software system are protected from possible intruders. Security testing has its own limitation that means if the system passes through security testing it doesn’t mean that no flaws exist in the system or the system adequately satisfy all security requirements.

  3. Avatar

    Heidi Hill December 18, 2018 @ 10:09 am

    What is SAST and DAST?

    • Avatar

      Carole Mendez December 21, 2018 @ 5:52 pm

      SAST- SAST stands for Static Application Security Testing. This is a white box testing method which tests the application from inside out by examining the source code in such conditions that indicates security vulnerability might be present in the system. SAST scanners need to support the language used as well as web application framework being used.
      DAST- DAST stands for Dynamic Application Security Testing. DAST is black box testing technique. In which an application is tested from the outside in by examining an application in the running state and applying an attack just like an attacker would.

  4. Avatar

    Myrtle Summers December 18, 2018 @ 10:09 am

    What is fuzzing in security?

    • Avatar

      Tami Hall December 21, 2018 @ 5:53 pm

      Fuzzing in security is fuzz testing which is an automated process of entering data into a program and analyzing the result to find crashes, potential memory leaks, failing built-in code and potentially exploitable bugs. In the fuzzing, fuzzers are used to test software programs that take structured inputs. Fuzzing assures the quality to discover codding errors.

  5. Avatar

    Hector Duncan December 18, 2018 @ 10:10 am

    What is pen testing tool?

    • Avatar

      Milton Todd December 21, 2018 @ 5:54 pm

      Pen testing is performed with the use of some specific pen testing tools. You do not have to worry about to find the tools because there are a number of tools available in the market to hit the problem areas and collect data quickly that gives you effective security analysis of the program. Some of the best effective tools for pen testing are W3af, Zed Attack Proxy, SQLMap, Arpspoof and Wireshark etc.

  6. Avatar

    Charlotte Marshall December 18, 2018 @ 10:11 am

    What is VAPT?

    • Avatar

      Joan Sparks December 21, 2018 @ 5:55 pm

      VAPT stands for Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing which is 2 types of vulnerability testing. It performs 2 types of tasks with the different results within the same area of focus. Vulnerability assessment tools discover the vulnerability but they do not differentiate the flaws that can be cause to damage or those that can’t, while penetration testing find exploitable flaws and measure the severity of their. A vulnerability test can be done without pen test but you can’t have pen test without vulnerability test.

  7. Avatar

    Luis Elliott December 18, 2018 @ 10:12 am

    What is the best vulnerability scanner?

    • Avatar

      Janis Malone December 21, 2018 @ 5:56 pm

      This question is tough to answer as there are wide range of scanners are available for different types of testing. For example: if you need for wireless testing kismet and airodump are best. For Web applications, appscan, acunetix are best. Same for specific testing like SQL Injection sqlmap is the best scanner.
      Therefore, vulnerability scanners can play a vital part in your IT security by scanning your network.

  8. Avatar

    Sherri Flores December 18, 2018 @ 10:17 am

    What is a security vulnerability assessment?

    • Avatar

      Lester Banks December 21, 2018 @ 5:57 pm

      Vulnerability assessment is the process of identifying, classifying, and prioritizing the vulnerabilities in a system. These systems can be referred as information technology systems, water supply systems, energy supply systems, communication systems, and transportation systems etc. but are not limited to these only. The process of vulnerability assessment may include automated and manual techniques. The most common technology for assessment are host, application and network layer assessment.

  9. Avatar

    Juanita Armstrong December 18, 2018 @ 10:18 am

    How do you conduct a vulnerability assessment?

    • Avatar

      Colin Leonard December 21, 2018 @ 5:59 pm

      Vulnerability assessment can be done in 4 steps easily.
      1) Initial assessment to identify the assets and define the risk. It’s important to find the device risk tolerance level that the device you will test.
      2) System baseline definition to gather the information about system before Vulnerability assessment. At least you should know if the device has open ports, services and processes that should not be opened.
      3) Perform the vulnerability scan- Use the related tools and scanner to get the best results on Vulnerability assessment platform. Here, this is important to find the client industry context and determine that scan will be performed at once or segmentation is required.
      4) Vulnerability assessment report creation- To get real value from the final report, pay attention to the extra details in report.

    • Avatar

      Paul Hewitter February 8, 2019 @ 4:52 pm

      You can easily conduct vulnerability assessment there are lot of free vulnerability scanning tools available. I suggest indusface, w3af, nessus.

  10. Avatar

    Cedric Norman December 18, 2018 @ 10:18 am

    What is the primary purpose of a vulnerability scanner?

    • Avatar

      Toby Parks December 21, 2018 @ 5:59 pm

      Vulnerability scanning is the process, which detects and classifies the computer’s weakness and predicts the effectiveness of discovered points. A vulnerability scanner is a program which is designed to assess networks, computers, and applications finds their weaknesses. In simple words, the vulnerability scanner used to discover the weakness of the system to be tested.

  11. Avatar

    Martin Park December 18, 2018 @ 10:20 am

    Best Security Testing Tool for E-Commerce website?

    • Avatar

      Meghan Walters December 21, 2018 @ 6:00 pm

      There are lots of security tools available to test the security of your website. Somehow, here is the list of some best testing tools for your e-commerce website is below:
      Browserstack, Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP), Sauce Labs, Lambda Test, Cross browser testing, Browserling, Vega, Wapiti, W3af, Iron Wasp, SQLMap, Wfuzz, Nmap, Google Nogotofail etc.

  12. Avatar

    Della Cain December 18, 2018 @ 10:21 am

    How to test the security of cloud application?

    • Avatar

      Meghan Walters December 21, 2018 @ 6:01 pm

      This is the new type of testing in which cloud applications are tested by tools, scanner or solution hosted in cloud. It is different because traditional testing requires on-premises tools. Cloud based testing provides cost effective choice when goals are similar. As many applications are deployed in cloud, a focus shift from securing applications to securing applications fast, at scale.

  13. Avatar

    Jonathan Austin December 18, 2018 @ 10:25 am

    What is port scanning?

    • Avatar

      Alton Walton December 21, 2018 @ 6:03 pm

      Port scanning is the act of knocking various doors to check that which one is locked. In the technical language, this is the process we identify open ports and services available on a network host. These applications can be used by attackers to find network services running on a host or by administrators to verify security policies. Sometimes it is also used by hackers to target victims in order to locate holes within the specific computer.

  14. Avatar

    Evan Pittman December 18, 2018 @ 10:30 am

    What’s the best tool for security testing of a web applications?

    • Avatar

      Lewis Hudson December 21, 2018 @ 6:04 pm

      There are many paid and free open source security tools are available for security testing. This article is all about top 10 open source security testing tools for web applications in details. The name of the best security testing tools are Wapiti, ZAP (Zed Attack Proxy), Wega, W3af, Skipfish, SQLMap, Wfuzz, Arachni, Ratproxy, and grabber.

  15. Avatar

    Bryant Fisher December 18, 2018 @ 10:31 am

    How are API security testing tools are different than website security testing?

    • Avatar

      Evelyn Baldwin December 21, 2018 @ 6:04 pm

      API security testing is use to ensure that API is safe. It requires a software program to send calls to API, then get output and fetch the system’s response. If there is any error in API it affects all the applications that rely on that API. Some free tools for API testing are Fiddler, Wireshark etc.
      Whereas a website security testing is the process to find the confidential data in a website is safe or not. In website security testing we check that a user can perform only those tasks for which they are authorizes to perform. Some website security testing tools are Wapiti, Vega etc.

  16. Avatar

    Rosalie Schwartz December 18, 2018 @ 10:31 am

    Which tool is better in security testing: ZAP or Burp Suite?

    • Avatar

      Edwin Soto December 21, 2018 @ 6:05 pm

      ZAP and Burp Suite has their own features and used for specific purposes. ZAP has an inbuilt browser setup that would spider the target server so this need not to be proxy configured your web browser. Whereas the Burp Suite needs to be configured as a proxy to work between your browser and the target server.

  17. Avatar

    Franklin Davis May 10, 2019 @ 10:26 pm

    Please re-order this document from 1 to 10. This isn’t reality TV; drama isn’t the goal. Providing practical info efficiently is a better goal. Starting from #1 is the only thing that makes sense.

  18. Avatar

    William Hruska August 27, 2019 @ 3:54 pm

    Informational article.