Want to test your web application while it’s in development but not sure which tool is worth the investment? Try an open source DAST tool for free. In this article, we’ll introduce you to DAST, compare it with other application security testing (AST) methods and finally, provide you with a list of the top ten DAST open source tools right now.
What is Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST)?
DAST is the process of testing a web application by exploiting vulnerabilities in the source code and infrastructure. DAST tools work by sending scripted attacks against the live web application. This differs from Static Application Security Testing (SAST), which tests an app’s static code, and Interactive Application Security Testing (IAST), which uses agents to instrument running applications.
DAST vs. SAST vs. IAST
DAST is most commonly compared to SAST and IAST as they are all types of AST. DAST is different from both SAST and IAST because it tests the live application while it is running, instead of testing the static code like SAST does, or using agents to instrument running applications like IAST does.
Types of DAST
Automated DAST tools are those that are used to automatically exploit vulnerabilities in web applications. These tools work by sending scripted attacks against the live application.
Manual DAST is performed by security professionals who manually identify and exploit vulnerabilities in web applications. This method is more time-consuming than automated DAST, but it can be more accurate.
Benefits of DAST
- DAST can identify vulnerabilities that are not detectable with other testing methods.
- DAST can test applications that are in development or have already been deployed.
- DAST can help reduce the time it takes to find and fix vulnerabilities.
Top Ten DAST Open Source Tools
There are quite a few open source DAST tools out there so we’ve carefully handpicked ten of them for you:
1) OWASP ZAP:
Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP) is a well-known web application vulnerability scanner. It comes from the same organisation that curated the popular OWASP top ten list. ZAP is downloadable as a software and scanning a website is as easy as simply inputting its URL. Because of its ease of use, you don’t need to be a cybersecurity expert to find flaws in your website. But you will need an expert to fix them. ZAP again helps you with this by suggesting how you can fix each of the vulnerabilities it detected. It also shows you the risk level for each security concern so you can prioritise the high-risk and critical ones first.
Wapiti is another widely-used DAST tool that helps users with web app vulnerability scanning. It’s written in Python allowing it to be cross-platform, meaning it can run on Linux, Windows and macOS systems. Wapiti allows you to scan for vulnerabilities manually or automatically using a proxy. The best part about Wapiti is that it acts like a fuzzer by injecting payloads into web application inputs. This can help find vulnerabilities that automated scanners might not detect.
OpenVAS is a versatile security checking tool that can be used to check for vulnerabilities in applications, networks, and systems. It’s managed by the Greenbone Networks GmbH, who also develop the tool. OpenVAS is free and comes with a large number of plugins that allow you to scan for different types of vulnerabilities.
Nikto is a web server scanner that is used to identify vulnerabilities in web servers and applications. It’s developed by CIRT Net and is also free and open source. Nikto is one of the most popular scanners available and has over 7000 plugins that allow you to scan for a variety of vulnerabilities.
Grendel-Scan is an automated web application security scanner that was created to help penetration testers and vulnerability assessors. It’s written in Java and is cross-platform, meaning it can be run on Linux, Windows and macOS. Grendel-Scan has a wide range of features that include crawling, spidering, scanning for vulnerabilities and brute force attacks. It also includes features to aid with manual testing.
6) Deepfence ThreatMapper:
Deepfence ThreatMapper is a tool that was designed to help security professionals visualise their network and identify potential security threats. It does this by mapping out the relationships between devices on the network and identifying which ones are most at risk. ThreatMapper also includes features to help with vulnerability assessment and pen testing.
Nuclei is a fast vulnerability scanner capable of scanning a large number of hosts. It uses a template while scanning, resulting in fewer false-positive hits. The Nuclei tool also allows its users to scan for DNS and HTTP protocols. It’s also cross-platform since it’s written in Python. Its speciality is that it is quite customisable.
8) OWASP purpleteam:
The OWASP purpleteam is a collection of tools that are used for penetration testing and vulnerability assessment. It’s written in Python and is cross-platform. The main purpose of the toolkit is to help security professionals find vulnerabilities in web applications. Many tools are available- scanners, proxies, and fuzzers are just a few of them.
W3af is a popular website security scanner. It’s written in Python and is cross-platform. W3af includes a wide range of features that allow you to scan for different types of vulnerabilities. It also has a built-in plugin manager that allows you to add or remove plugins as needed.
Grabber is a small and simple tool. It’s written in Python and is cross-platform. The main purpose of the tool is to allow you to quickly and easily scan for vulnerabilities in web applications. It includes a wide range of scanners that can be used to scan for different types of vulnerabilities including the OWASP top ten. Reports generated by it are in XML format and easy to read.
In conclusion, dynamic application security testing is a great way to identify vulnerabilities in web applications at each of its developmental phases. If you are serious about your web application’s security, you should consider incorporating DAST into the application’s development. There are many great DAST tools available, both open source and paid. We went through the top ten free and open source DAST tools in this post. These are some of the most popular and well-known DAST tools available and should give you a good starting point for finding the right tool for your needs.
Author Bio: Ankit Pahuja is the Marketing Lead & Evangelist at Astra Security. Ever since his adulthood (literally, he was 20 years old), he began finding vulnerabilities in websites & network infrastructures. Starting his professional career as a software engineer at one of the unicorns enables him in bringing “engineering in marketing” to reality. Working actively in the cybersecurity space for more than 2 years makes him the perfect T-shaped marketing professional. Ankit is an avid speaker in the security space and has delivered various talks in top companies, early-age startups, and online events.
You can connect with him on Linkedin.