What are the best web application penetration testing tools?
Most companies are moving to the web these days… ranging from banking services to healthcare.
Since the explosion of the internet a few years ago, web application development usage has drastically increased. This means it’s easier for businesses to reach their customers where they already are – in the web browser.
As as result of this popularity of web applications, they’ve become a popular target for cybercriminals who want to attack these web applications and steal important data. So it is very important that you pentest your web applications before your release them to the public to protect yourself from system failure or data loss.
If you are completely new to web application penetration testing, here are the best penetration testing tutorials online to get you started.
With the help of appropriate web app penetration testing tools, any professional pentester can identify web app security vulnerabilities, so that you can resolve them in time. Breaking into web applications is very lucrative for criminals are they are excited to use the latest attack methods and tools.
So you must also be armed with the best website penetration tools to match them.
In this article, we are going to look at the best web application penetration testing tools in 2021 that a web app pentester should use. But, before we get into the list…
Types of Web App Pentesting
Let me outline the two types of web application pentesting.
1. Dynamic Application Security Testing
This involves looking for vulnerabilities in a web application that an attacker could potentially exploit from the outside. Because this web app pentesting does not require access to the application source code, it can be done more frequently and faster.
2. Static Application Security Testing
This type of website penetration testing is where you check for the vulnerabilities of a web application from the inside. It involves access to the application’s source code and can provide a snapshot of the web application source code security status in real time.
Web App Pentesting Tools
Now that we know the types of web application pentesting that you’ll be doing, let’s get into the list of the top web application penetration testing tools in 2021. These tools for security testing web applications are the most common among penetration testers today.
Netsparker, available both as a hosted and self hosted service is a one-stop solution for your web app pentesting needs.
It is able to detect the vulnerabilities in your web application, and verify them using a proof-based scanning technology. So you won’t have to waste time manually verifying the identified vulnerabilities for false positives after they are detected.
The reason this website penetration testing is popular is because it can be integrated into any type of test or development environment.
Arachni is a high performance, modular website pentesting tool developed in Ruby that’s used by pentesters to evaluate the security of web applications.
This is one of the best web application penetration testing tools that you must add to your arsenal if you want to take your web app pentesting skills to the next level.
3. BeEF (Browser Exploitation Framework)
BeEF, also known as the browser exploitation framework, is another popular penetration testing tool used for security testing of web applications.
It enables you to assess the security posture of a web application by using client side attack vectors. BeEF is a free and open source pentest tool for web apps. Click here to view the BeEF project on GitHub. It functions by combining two or more web browsers and using them as beachheads for launching direct command modules, like redirection, and attacks on your web application from within the web browser itself.
Acunetix is an automated web application penetration testing tool that is used for scanning security vulnerabilities in websites.
It has very high vulnerabilities detection rates with the potential to detect up to 4,500 vulnerabilities in custom and commercial web apps with 0% false positives. Using Acunetix, you’ll also be able to find and test hidden inputs that were not detected during black box scanning.
This means it can run an uninterrupted scan of your WordPress installation for thousands of vulnerabilities. After running your tests, you’ll also be able to generate management and compliance reports to find out what needs to be addressed.
ImmuniWeb is a web app pentest tool that delivers web application security testing augmented with machine learning technology and human testing.
It is an artificial intelligence enabled web app penetration testing platform that offers you a holistic benefit package for your security team. Just with a one-click virtual patching system, you can implement continuous compliance monitoring to your web app.
After running your tests, you’ll be able to generate reports with zero false positives to help you formulate an action plan to remedy the security loopholes. This is a very important tool to learn if you’re serious about a career in web application pentesting.
Vega is a free and open source web application security testing platform for testing the security of web applications.
It can help you detect common website security vulnerabilities like SQL injections, Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) as well as accidentally disclosed sensitive information. This GUI based website security tool is written in Java, so it can run on any operating system including Windows, Mac and Linux.
Wapiti is a website penetration testing tool that enables you to audit the security of your web applications.
This command-line website security tool functions by scrawling web pages to find scripts or forms where data can be injected using black-box scans. Black-box scanning means that it does not study the source code of the application while scanning the web pages of the deployed web app.
Once it finds this list of scripts and forms, it tries to inject payloads to see if they are vulnerable.
It is capable of detecting vulnerabilities like file disclosure, database injection, XSS, file inclusion and a weak .htaccess configuration. Once done, you can also export the report in various formats with varying levels of verbosity.
SQLMap is an open source website penetration testing tools that automates the process of detecting SQL injection flaws in web applications.
It features support for various database management systems and SQL injections techniques.
Support for databases include MySQL, Oracle, Postgresql, Microsoft SQL Server, SQLite just to name but a few. Among the six SQL injection techniques that it supports fully are: boolean-based blind, time-based blind, error-based, UNION query-based, stacked queries and out-of-band.
Because it can automatically detect hash based passwords, it supports a dictionary based attack to crack them too. It is a great web security tool for streamlining an effective penetration test run.
9. ZED Attack Proxy (ZAP)
ZAP is one of the most popular free website pentest tools for auditing the security of your web apps.
This tool can help you detect security vulnerabilities in your web application while developing and testing your application. While it is an automated web security tool, it is also a great tools for experienced pentesters who want to use it for manual web security testing.
It is an open source multi-platform tool and so will run on Windows, Linux and Mac.
While standing as a “middleman proxy” between the tester’s browser and the web application, it’s used to intercept and moderate the transmitted messages. It’s mainly popular features are AJAX Spiders, web socket support and REST based API. Again a great tool to learn if you want to take your website pentesting skills a notch higher.
In order to perform a proper web application pentest you not only need the right expertise and time, but also the best web pentesting tools.
With the appropriate web app penetration testing tools, a pentester can automate certain tasks to give more time for correcting the exposures found before attackers can find them. From small retailers to large federal institutions, attackers are always out for an opportunity to steal value data containing personal identifiable information.
Just a tiny leak or vulnerability in your web application system can lead to great losses in revenue and reputation.
Web application security cannot be taken lightly anymore.
However, with the web application pentesting tools I have listed in this article… You’ll be able to proactively detect your web application vulnerabilities and safeguard it from malicious attacks. Most of these web application pentesting tools come with the Linux distro – Kali Linux.
Kali Linux is a great pentesting tool and here are the best Kali Linux tutorials online to get your started with this amazing Linux operating system.
Have you used any of these website penetration testing tools before? Are there other pentesting tools for web applications that are great but I didn’t mention in this article? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
Lerma is our expert in online education with over a decade of experience. Specializing in e-learning and e-courses. She has reviewed several online training courses and enjoys reviewing e-learning platforms for individuals and organizations.