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Top 10 Open Source Security Testing Tools

Ayush Mania
By
Ayush Mania
  • May 27, 2024
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    8 min read
Top 10 Open Source Security Testing Tools
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Feeling vulnerable online? Hackers may be very annoying, particularly for those who own websites. However, what if you could protect your website without going bankrupt?

Open source security testing tools are your secret weapon! These free resources scan your website for weaknesses and mimic hacker tactics to test its defenses.

Think of them as a security guard and an ethical hacker rolled into one – constantly on watch and battle-testing your defenses.

Let’s explore the best open source tools to fortify your apps. Keep reading for your free security toolkit!

What are open source security tools?

Open source security tools are software programs designed to identify and address vulnerabilities in your website, applications, or networks. Unlike proprietary software, these tools are free to use, modify, and distribute. This makes them an ideal choice for businesses of all sizes, especially those looking to enhance their cybersecurity without a hefty price tag. You can check out our security testing services if you want to avoid this tools and leave everything to us.

Key Features of Open Source Security Tools

  • These tools are free, making them accessible for startups and small businesses.
  • A large community of developers continuously updates and improves these tools, ensuring they stay effective against the latest threats.
  • Since the source code is open, anyone can inspect it for security flaws, enhancing trust and reliability.
  • You can customize the tools to fit your specific security needs.

By leveraging these open source security tools, you can proactively protect your digital assets, ensuring your website and applications remain secure against cyber threats.

Open-Source Security Testing Tools

In this section, you will get all the information you need to know about the open source security testing tools. Let’s start with OWASP, the tool on the top!

One important thing, you have to explore the tool by yourself to know its capabilities and functionalities.

OWASP ZAP (Zed Attack Proxy)

OWASP ZAP is one of the most popular open source security tools, designed for finding vulnerabilities in web app testing.

Features

  • Large database of exploits.
  • Support for automated and manual testing.
  • Integrates with other security tools like Nmap.

Pros

  • Comprehensive exploit library.
  • Highly customizable and extensible.
  • Active development and community support.

Cons

  • Steep learning curve for beginners.
  • It can be complex to configure.

How to use it?

1. Download and install OWASP ZAP from its official website.

2. Launch the tool and set up a new session.

ZAP Session

Here, we can save the session if we want. For that, you have to select the second option and choose the location and name of the session. Or you can select the first option which will save your session in the default location with the current timestamp as a name.

3. Use the spider tool to crawl your website.

AJAX Spider is the tool that can crawl your website from surface to scratch. It's a very powerful spider for open source security testing tools and very powerful for website scrapping.

Crawler Setting Interface

4. Run active and passive scans to identify vulnerabilities.

Here, you can see the scan results of the website demo.alphabin.co in the below image. Providing severity level-wise alerts on the site.

Alerts for the scanned website

Metasploit Framework

Metasploit is a powerful penetration testing tool used for exploiting security vulnerabilities.

Features

  • Large database of exploits.
  • Support for automated and manual testing.
  • Integrates with other security tools like Nmap.

Pros

  • Comprehensive exploit library.
  • Highly customizable and extensible.
  • Active development and community support.

Cons

  • Steep learning curve for beginners.
  • It can be complex to configure.

How to use it?

1. Install Metasploit on your system from here.

2. Start the Metasploit console by msfconsole in the terminal.

Metasploit started

3. Use the search command to find exploits.

Search function of the Metasploit

4. Configure the exploit and payload, then execute it.

Here, we chose the exploit exploit/multi/vnc/vnc_keyboard_exec. You can see the available options using show options command.

Exploit option view

Now you can set any option using set OPTION_NAME VALUE. Here we are setting RHOST (Remote Host) for the selected exploit.

Exploit option set

Nmap (Network Mapper)

Nmap is a widely-used network scanning tool that helps discover hosts and services on a network.

Features

  • Host discovery and port scanning.
  • OS detection and version detection.
  • Scriptable interaction with the target.

Pros

  • Fast and efficient scanning.
  • Extensive documentation and support.
  • Highly customizable with NSE scripts.

Cons

  • Can be complex for new users.
  • Some advanced features may require additional knowledge.

How to use it?

1. Install Nmap on your system from its official site.

2. Run basic scans using commands like nmap -sP <target>.

Nmap host information

3. Use advanced options like -sV for version detection and -O for OS detection.

Nmap script and OS version detection

Wireshark

Wireshark is a network protocol analyzer that captures and interacts with network traffic in real-time.

Features

  • Deep inspection of hundreds of protocols.
  • Live capture and offline analysis.
  • Rich VoIP analysis.

Pros

  • User-friendly interface.
  • Supports a wide range of protocols.
  • Extensive filtering and analysis capabilities.

Cons

  • Can be overwhelming for beginners.
  • Requires knowledge of network protocols.

How to use it?

1. Download and install Wireshark from here.

2. Select a network interface to capture traffic.

Here, we will capture the network traffic on the Ethernet.

Ethernet line capturing

3. Use filters to focus on specific traffic.

As you can see we have applied the Source IP address filter using ip.src == 192.168.29.169.

Source IP filter

4. Analyze the captured data for anomalies or vulnerabilities.

Burp Suite Community Edition

Burp Suite is a popular web vulnerability scanner and penetration testing tool. We also have a vulnerability scanner, AlphaScanner! for web application security testing. You can check it out here.

Features

  • Web vulnerability scanning.
  • Manual testing tools like repeater and intruder.
  • Proxy server for traffic interception.

Pros

  • Comprehensive web application testing.
  • User-friendly interface.
  • Regular updates and community plugins.

Cons

  • Limited features in the free version.
  • Can be resource-intensive during scans.

How to use it?

1. Download and install Burp Suite Community Edition from its official site.

2. Configure your browser to use Burp's proxy.

First, open the browser from the Proxy section of the burp window. Now go to http://burp in the browser and download the CA Certificate. Now you need to install this certificate in the browser you want to use other than Burpsuite’s default browser. This way you can intercept traffic from any browser.

CA Certificate

3. Use the scanner to identify vulnerabilities.

Let’s scan the demo.alphabin.co for the vulnerabilities.

HTTP History through proxy

4. Manually test and exploit vulnerabilities with tools like repeater and intruder. You can get more information on its official website.

OpenVAS (Open Vulnerability Assessment System)

OpenVAS is a full-featured vulnerability scanner that identifies security issues in networked systems.

Features

  • Comprehensive vulnerability scanning.
  • Regular updates with new vulnerability checks.
  • Web-based interface.

Pros

  • Extensive vulnerability coverage.
  • Regular updates.
  • Free and open source.

Cons

  • Can be challenging to set up.
  • Resource-intensive during scans.

How to use it?

1. Install OpenVAS on a Linux system. You can refer to its official documentation here.

2. Set up the OpenVAS services and web interface.

OpenVAS startup

3. Create a new scan task and configure the target.

New scan initialization

4. Run the scan and review the results.

Scan results

Snort

Snort is an open source intrusion detection and prevention system (IDS/IPS) that monitors network traffic.

Features

  • Real-time traffic analysis.
  • Packet logging.
  • Detection of various types of attacks.

Pros

  • Highly configurable.
  • Extensive rule set.
  • Strong community support.

Cons

  • Requires knowledge of network protocols.
  • Can generate false positives.

How to use it?

1. Install Snort on your system. Here is the download link.

2. Configure the network interface and rules.

3. Start Snort in IDS mode to monitor traffic.

Snort on Ethernet line

4. Analyze alerts and logs for potential threats.

Nikto

Nikto is a web server scanner that identifies vulnerabilities in web servers and applications.

Features

  • Scans for over 6700 potentially dangerous files/CGIs.
  • Detects outdated server software.
  • Checks for server configuration issues.

Pros

  • Easy to use.
  • Comprehensive vulnerability checks.
  • Regular updates.

Cons

  • Can produce false positives.
  • Lacks advanced features of some other tools.

How to use it?

1. Install Nikto on your system from here.

2. Run Nikto with a target URL: nikto -h https://demo.alphabin.co.

3. Review the scan results for vulnerabilities.

Nikto results on demo alphabin

SQLMap

SQLMap is an automated tool for detecting and exploiting SQL injection flaws.

Features

  • Supports a wide range of databases.
  • Automated detection and exploitation of SQL injection.
  • Database fingerprinting and data extraction.

Pros

  • Highly automated.
  • Supports many database management systems.
  • Powerful exploitation features.

Cons

  • Can be complex for new users.
  • Requires careful configuration to avoid damaging the target database.

How to use it?

1. Install SQLMap on your system.

2. Run SQLMap with the target URL: sqlmap -u https://demo.alphabin.co/login.

Example of SQLMap

3. Use additional options to customize the attack.

SQLMap options while attacking

Suricata

Suricata is an advanced network threat detection engine, IDS, IPS, and network security monitoring system.

Features

  • Multi-threaded architecture.
  • Protocol identification and file extraction.
  • Real-time alerts and logging.

Pros

  • High performance.
  • Comprehensive threat detection.
  • Supports modern protocols and file types.

Cons

  • Complex to set up.
  • Requires regular rule updates.

How to use it?

1. Install Suricata on your system.

2. Configure network interfaces and rules.

3. Start Suricata in IDS mode to monitor traffic.

4. Analyze alerts and logs for suspicious activity.

Conclusion

Ensuring your website and applications are secure is vital in today’s digital world. The top 10 open source security testing tools—OWASP ZAP, Metasploit, Nmap, Wireshark, Burp Suite, OpenVAS, Snort, Nikto, SQLMap, and Suricata—offer powerful, cost-effective solutions for identifying and fixing vulnerabilities. However, managing these tools can be complex.

Alphabin Technology Consulting provides expert cybersecurity services to help you integrate and optimize these tools. Our team offers vulnerability assessments, penetration testing, security audits, and ongoing monitoring. Partnering with Alphabin ensures your security measures are robust and up-to-date, protecting your digital assets effectively.

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Frequently Asked Questions

I am not a security expert. Can I still use open source security testing tools?
FAQ Arrow

Some open source security testing tools are more complex than others. However, there are also a number of tools that are easy to use, even for people with no security experience. If you are new to security testing, you may want to start with a tool like OWASP ZAP or Nikto.

Should I hire a security professional to help me use open source security testing tools?
FAQ Arrow

If you are not comfortable using open source security testing tools on your own, you may want to consider hiring a security professional to help you. A security professional can help you choose the right tools for your needs, set up the tools, and interpret the results.

What are the benefits of using open source security testing tools?
FAQ Arrow

There are several benefits to using open-source security testing tools. First, they are free to use, which makes them a cost-effective option for businesses of all sizes. Second, they are constantly being updated by a large community of developers, so you can be sure that you are using the latest tools to identify vulnerabilities. Third, since the source code is open, anyone can inspect it for security flaws, which can help to ensure that the tools themselves are secure.

How can Alphabin Technology Consulting help with cybersecurity?
FAQ Arrow

Alphabin Technology Consulting provides expert cybersecurity services, including vulnerability assessments, penetration testing, security audits, and ongoing monitoring. They help you integrate and optimize open source security tools, ensuring your security measures are robust and up-to-date to protect your digital assets effectively.

About the author

Ayush Mania

Ayush Mania

Ayush Mania, an offensive security specialist at Alphabin, specializes in securing web applications and servers.

With his expertise in penetration testing and red teaming, he leverages diverse security techniques to identify and fix vulnerabilities.

A passionate learner, Ayush enjoys collaborating to achieve shared goals.

More about the author
Join 1,241 readers who are obsessed with testing.
Consult the author or an expert on this topic.
Join 1,241 readers who are obsessed with testing.
Consult the author or an expert on this topic.