This article discusses all the 7 best API penetration testing tools out there and the factors to keep in mind while choosing the right one for your needs. Additionally, the importance of API penetration testing and the common risks associated with APIs have also been explained.
What is API Penetration Testing?
API penetration testing is the process of scanning an application’s APIs for vulnerabilities and exploiting them with permission in order to try and gain access. It is always advisable to choose the best API penetration testing tools provided by companies with considerable experience and reputation.
Other factors to look for when choosing from API penetration testing tools include:
- The excellence of their customer service.
- A zero false positive assurance.
- Provision of gap analysis to find any gap in the security system in place.
Application Programming Interface or API is a software intermediary that allows communication between two or more applications. Since APIs are made use of to connect and communicate between devices, making them prime targets for compromisation.
API penetration testing helps understand the level of damage that could be inflicted on an organization from hacking its APIs.
This article will detail the best API penetration testing tools, their features, pros, and cons. Other sections within the article will also detail the risks to API security, the factors that make API penetration testing important, and the factors in choosing a good tool.
7 Best API Penetration Testing Tools
This list of the seven best API penetration testing tools will help you narrow down and choose the right API penetration testing tool to meet your specific requirements.
1. Astra Pentest
Also Read: API Penetration Testing: What You Need To Know | Why Firewall Penetration Testing is Essential to Your Security Strategy
Astra Pentest is a premier API pentest tool that is capable of conducting more than 3000 tests to find vulnerabilities within APIs. Other features offered by Astra Pentest include:
Astra Pentest provides a gap analysis for organizations that want to find any gaps in the security system before deciding on what kind of test or assessment to opt for.
Comprehensive Vulnerability Scanning
Astra’s comprehensive vulnerability scanner is capable of identifying vulnerabilities based on known CVEs, OWASP Top 10, SANs 25, and the newer ones based on intel too.
Regular Penetration tests
With Astra Pentest your organization can test its APIs regularly to ensure that all vulnerabilities are found quickly and remediated before a malicious attacker can exploit them for theft or manipulation of confidential data.
Rescanning is one of the stand-out features offered by Astra Pentest where upon the completion of an API pentest and vulnerability remediation, another scan is provided to ensure that no new weaknesses have risen from the patches made.
Why Astra is the best in pentesting?
- We’re the only company that combines automated & manual pentest to create a one-of-a-kind pentest platform
- Vetted scans ensure zero false positives
- Our intelligent vulnerability scanner emulates hacker behavior & evolves with every pentest
- Astra’s scanner helps you shift left by integrating with your CI/CD
- Our platform helps you uncover, manage & fix vulnerabilities in one place
- Trusted by the brands you trust like Agora, Spicejet, Muthoot, Dream11, etc.
Once the rescanning is complete and any additional vulnerabilities if any have been removed, Astra Pentest provides its customers with a publicly verifiable certificate stating the successful completion of the pentest. This certificate can boost your organization’s trustworthiness and increase your client roster.
Read more on Astra Pentest Certificate
Zero False Positives
Astra Pentest assures zero false positives in vulnerability detection through the thorough vetting of the automated pentest results by expert pentesters.
Astra provides all-around 24*7 care for its customers be it through emails or calls to clarify any doubts that may arise throughout the pentesting process.
Astra pentest provides a dashboard that is extremely easy to navigate and understand. It shows all the vulnerabilities detected in real-time as well as provides POC videos to help vulnerability remediation be quicker.
Check Out: Detectify vs Intruder Features Comparison
Astra Pentest provides compliance-specific checks for various regulatory standards like GDPR, ISO 27001, SOC 2, PCI-DSS, and HIPAA. The areas of non-compliance found are mentioned on the compliance dashboard for easy remediation.
Astra Pentest can be integrated into an organization’s CI/CD pipelines to ensure a smooth transition from DevOps to DevSecOps. This allows for the detection of vulnerabilities at every stage of development rather than just at the very end.
- Works on various platforms like Windows and Mac.
- Integrations are possible with Jira, Slack, GitHub, and more.
- Tests for various compliance standards.
- Comprehensive scanning and pentesting process.
- Has more potential for integration than the existing ones like Slack, and GitHub.
- Does not provide free trials.
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2. Katalon Studio
Katalon Studio is an automated pentesting service for APIs and other applications. Its features include CI/CD integrations and availability on platforms like Linux, Windows, and Mac.
- Works on multiple platforms.
- Integrations are possible.
- Works for both REST and SOAP APIs.
- Not an open-source and thus has a small community backing.
- Has better scope for programming languages.
Also Read: Security Testing Software – 5 Things to Understand Before You Choose One
Postman while prominently serving as a platform to build secure APIs, also provides API pentesting features as well. Its notable attributes include a user-friendly interface, availability as a chrome plugin as well as for Windows and Linux, and other integration capabilities.
- Available for various platforms.
- Provides integrations with different formats.
- Helps developers with the organization.
- Ideal for RESTful API rather than SOAP.
- More scope for integrations.
AppKnox is an effective API penetration testing solution for medium to small companies without a dedicated development team. It tests for SQL injections, cross-site scripting, and other vulnerabilities in the HTTP requests and provides API scanning to locate all APIs.
- Expert assistance to customers.
- Manual Analysis and verification of results are provided once automated testing is complete and the results are generated.
- Time taking tests.
- Could be expensive.
This is an open-source tool available from Kong that is mainly for creating REST or SOAP APIs. It is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux and has customizable API test flows.
- API penetration testing by Insomnia can be integrated into the CI/CD pipeline of projects.
- Available free of cost.
- Does not have the same amount of features as commercially available API pentest tools.
- Finds it difficult to process large requests.
Taurus is a well-known open-source API penetration testing tool when used in tandem with JMeter. Its notable features include the availability of testing in the development phase. It is also easy to use and navigate.
- Designed specifically for continuous API penetration testing.
- Allows integration into the CI/CD pipeline.
- Open-source tool.
- Mainly designed to function as a framework for APIs.
7. Apache JMeter
It is one of the well-known freely available alternatives for API penetration testing needs. It is available on various platforms like Windows, Mac, and Linux and does not require programming skills. Apache JMeter can also be integrated into a CI/CD pipeline.
- Can carry out performance tests for both static and dynamic resources.
- Available Freely.
- Built for load testing.
- Can only be integrated into CI/CD pipelines with the help of Jenkins.
- The user interface could be better.
Top Risks To API Security
API security is a growing area of concern owing to the multiple exploits that have targeted weak spots in APIs to gain access to sensitive data. Here are the most common vulnerabilities within APIs:
1. Data Exposure
Lack of proper end-to-end encryption for data can result in excessive data being exposed to the public. It can also happen because developers only implement generic protection and leave the client to perform the filtering of data.
2. Injection Attacks
This type of risk is caused by the injection of malicious code into the API that is mostly in SQL or XSS format. XSS injections redirect customers to different websites that are unprotected so that their data can be stolen while SQL injections allow hackers to directly steal data from the servers.
3. Broken Authentication
Broken or weak authentication allows individuals who should rightly have access to certain objects to be able to access them too. Weak passwords, API keys, and other methods may be used to gain unauthorized access.
When security configurations are set in default or left incompleted they become areas of weakness. Such mistakes in configurations can allow attackers to gain access to sensitive data.
5. Insecure Endpoints
Having endpoints that have not been secure is a major threat to APIs as this makes them vulnerable to broken authorization. This means that even users who should have restricted access have accessibility to other confidential objects.
4 Factors That Make API Penetration Testing Important
API penetration testing is important, but what exactly are the factors that make it so? This section meticulously explains why regular API penetration testing is absolutely crucial.
- Finding Vulnerabilities: API penetration testing helps find vulnerabilities at every stage of its development when integrated into the CI/CD pipeline.
- Improve Security: It improves security since the found vulnerabilities can be quickly remediated for a safe and secure API.
- Reliability: Conducting regular API pentests makes your organization more security conscious and this, in turn, increases the reliability and trustworthiness of your products.
- Maintain Compliance: Conducting regular pentests can also help analyze if there are areas of non-compliance that need to be addressed.
Features Of A Good API Pentesting Tool
1. Business Logic Error Detection
A comprehensive API pentest can reveal any business logic errors within the processes. These are errors that negatively affect the business despite having taken the right measures.
2. Assured Zero False Positives
Top API security testing tools’ results are vetted thoroughly by expert pentesters so that any false positives can be weeded out from the list of vulnerabilities found.
3. Compliance-Specific Scans
The tool should provide scans that are specific for each compliance like HIPAA, PCI-DSS, and others to find any areas of non-compliance for its immediate remediation. Not doing so can lead to hefty fines and penalties.
4. Gap Analysis
The penetration testing company should provide a gap analysis to figure out the gaps in your security systems and APIs to better understand the steps that need to be taken to ensure protect it.
The pentesting tool must have the capacity to be integrated into the organization’s CI/CD pipeline to ensure a seamless transition from DevOps to DevSecOps. Integrations with Slack, GitHub, GitLab, and Jira are such examples.
How To Choose The Right API Pentesting Tool?
Choosing the right API penetration testing tool is a painstaking task that reaps copious benefits if done according to some factors. Here are some of the attributes to consider when narrowing down your list of options.
Experience is one of the crucial factors that aids one in deciding on the right API penetration testing company. Companies with 5+ years of experience will have an exact idea about the kind of testing you require as well as the necessary employees with the right expertise.
This is something you need to decide before narrowing down a list of potential tools for API testing. Considering your requirements like the type of test to be done, the scope, scalability, duration of the test, and the speed at which it’s done.
These requirements will vary considerably from company to company and therefore you must compare and choose the one that fits your requirements precisely.
3. Customer Care
Having impeccable customer service is an applaudable quality for any company including those that provide API penetration testing services. They must be able to clarify all of one’s doubts and queries in a clean, crisp manner and be available to the customers whenever a doubt arises.
Ensure that the API penetration testing tool provides detection for business logic errors, and assures zero false positives through the expert manual vetting of the automated pentest results.
5. Integration Possibilities
It is always best to choose an API penetration testing tool with the capacity to be integrated into the development phase of projects thus ensuring that vulnerability detection takes place at every phase. Such CI/Cd integration helps make the move from DevOps to DevSecOps.
The best API penetration testing tools like Astra Pentest and more have been thoroughly discussed with their features, pros, and cons in this article. Along with this other aspects of API penetration testing like its importance, areas of risk, and factors to look for when choosing the best API penetration testing tool.
The best tools for API pentesting have been explained to you to make the decision easy, now it’s your turn to take a step. So check out these tools today to ensure that your APIs remain unreachable.
How to choose an API pentesting tool?
Choosing an API pentesting tool depends on factors such as your personal requirements, the features offered by the pentest provider, and your budget.
Best tool for API penetration testing?
The best tool for API penetration testing without a doubt is Astra Pentest owing to the myriad of features offered by it including business logic error detection, gap analysis, zero false positive assurance, and more.
What are the best open-source API pentesting tools?
The best open-source API penetration testing is Apache JMeter, Taurus, and Insomnia.