Using web application vulnerability scanners on a regular basis to keep a tab on your application’s security health is a relatively simple way of achieving that. But as you can imagine all vulnerability scanners cannot be equally suitable for you. There is a right answer to the very difficult question – what is the perfect vulnerability scanner for your business? And we will help you find that answer.
Here is a quick comparison of the 15 best web application vulnerability scanners
|Web App Vulnerability Scanner||Key Features||Cost|
|Astra's Pentest||CI/CD integration, scan behind logged-in pages, continuous scanning, manual pentest||The scanner comes for $99 per month|
|Qualys||6 sigma accuracy, easy integration with existing workflows||You can get a quote from their site|
|Acunetix||Scan multiple environments, minimal false positives, suitable for single-page apps||The yearly subscription starts at $ 4500 and it can differ based on factors like length of contract and number of apps.|
|Intruder||Reduces remediation timeline and helps with compliance||The basic plan costs $ 113 per month for one target system|
|Veracode||It’s a scalable choice, you can scan multiple environments, and the scan parameters are flexible||You’ll have to get a quote|
|Netsparker||Proof-based scanning, pre, and post-scan automation, efficient vulnerability alerts||$ 666 per month for the team version|
|Detectify||Continuous surface monitoring, vulnerability management||$289/month|
|Rapid7||Adaptive security, policy assessment||Not mentioned on website|
|Tripwire IP360||Discovery of network assets, risk scoring||It has a freemium version, price for premium version is not mentioned|
|Immuniweb||Hackability scores, zero false positives||$5495/month for an annual subscription|
|Wireshark||Deep protocol inspection||It's a free tool|
|OpenVAS||Targeted scans, penetration testing||It's a free tool|
|Cobalt||PTaaS, agile pentesting||$1650/credit|
|WebInsect||Comprehensive API scans, CI/CD integration||Not mentioned|
|Arachni||Detects injection, high performance framework||It's a free tool|
The average data breach cost in 2021 was $ 4.24 million, up 10% from 2020. This cost includes the loss of business caused by the data breach, the cost of detecting and fixing the security issues that led to the breach, the cost of informing all the customers and rolling out the patches, and of course, the ensuing legal penalties.
A data breach is something that you would want to avoid at all costs.
In this article, we will help you get familiar with some of the best web application security scanners and the various features offered by them. While we are at it, we will also refresh your knowledge of different types of web app scans, their benefits, and their importance.
4 features you should look for in a web application vulnerability scanner
All vulnerability scanners come with some similar offerings – automated scans for your systems, an interface to monitor the scans, a vulnerability scan report, and a bit of assistance in terms of remediating the vulnerabilities.
1. The scanner should fit inside your CI/CD pipeline
The importance of this feature cannot be stressed enough. Integrating a web application vulnerability scanner in the CI/CD allows you to automate vulnerability scans whenever there is a code update to be sent. This works on top of the scheduled automated scans that keep happening regularly.
2. You should have one place to control it all from
Just any dashboard doesn’t work. You need a dashboard that truly taps into every step of the vulnerability management process. From that one place, you should be able to
- Monitor the vulnerabilities
- Update their statuses
- Assign them to team members
- Discuss them with security experts
3. The vulnerability reports should be truly actionable
A vulnerability scanning report is just a bunch of text on a pdf file that no one reads unless it is designed for easy interpretation and actionability. If a vulnerability scanner offers you risk scores along with video PoCs of the vulnerabilities, go ahead and grab that tool.
4. The vulnerability scanner should make compliance easier
Compliance audits are the stuff of nightmares if you are not prepared for it, well, preparing for it is no walk in the park either.
Look for a vulnerability scanning tool that runs compliance-specific scans for you and tells you exactly what you need to fix in order to be more prepared for a certain compliance audit.
15 Web app vulnerability scanners to choose from
You know what to look for during your search for web application vulnerability scanners. We’ve made your task easier by bringing some of the best tools to your attention. Time to learn more about them.
1. Astra’s Pentest
As the name suggests this is more of a pentest product than just a vulnerability scanner but Astra’s Pentest does come with a solid automated vulnerability scanner that you can buy as a separate product.
The DAST vulnerability scanner included in Astra’s Pentest checks all the boxes for being the perfect tool for scanning any web application. The best part is that they update the scanner rules every week helping you stay on top of the constantly evolving vulnerabilities.
- Astra’s Pentest can scan single-page applications
- It integrates with the CI/CD pipeline and platforms like Slack and Jira
- It scans behind logged-in pages with the help of a log-in recorder extension
- You get a superb vulnerability management dashboard with compliance-specific scans
- The vulnerability scan report comes with video PoCs to help your developers work faster on the fixes along with the prioritized list of security issues.
- You always have the option of getting an upgrade to a manual pentest in which case you get assured zero false positives
Astra’s Pentest is an easy-to-use self-served security testing tool that conducts 3000+ tests to ensure no vulnerability is left unchecked. Nevertheless, if you get stuck there is a team of experienced security professionals that can jump in to help you out.
Qualys is a cloud-based vulnerability scanner that can work in a wide range of environments and is a scalable solution. Qualys maintains a large vulnerability database which helps the scanner stay relevant and current. You can use this tool to scan on-premise devices, cloud instances, IoT endpoints, etc.
- You can integrate the vulnerability scanner with the existing IT ticketing system to keep the remediation process simple.
- You can integrate the scanner with the Qualys continuous monitoring (CM) tool to keep an eye on your assets.
- The tool claims to be 99.999% accurate in its findings.
This web application security scanner comes with a blend of DAST and IAST scanning and claims to detect more than 7000 vulnerabilities. Acunetix promises to detect 90% of the vulnerabilities by the time the scan is halfway done.
- You can scan multiple environments at the same time with Acunetix
- It helps you prioritize the vulnerabilities according to the risks posed by them
- The tool minimizes false positives
- It is suitable for single-page applications and code-heavy sites.
This is a web application scanner that helps you monitor security risks across your stack. It is easy to use and covers a decent range of vulnerabilities. Intruder scans for misconfigurations, outdated or missing patches, SQLi, XSS, and all CVEs noted in the OWASP top 10.
Intruder is a useful tool for testing your IT environment for security vulnerabilities and loopholes. The primary features include
- Get a bird’s-eye view of your application’s security posture
- Reducing the attack surface
- The report helps you with compliance questionnaires
- Reducing the gap between finding and fixing vulnerabilities
Veracode is a major player in the Application Security Testing business and it offers three types of security testing – SAST, DAST, and Software composition analysis. This tool is designed to cope with the speed of development that comes with DevOps. It allows you to scan hundreds of apps and APIs simultaneously. It’s a perfect solution for large enterprises.
- You get a less than 5% rate of false positives with Veracode
- You can find vulnerabilities in a running application
- The scan parameters are flexible
- You can use the interface to monitor scan results while other scans are running.
Netsparker is one of the leading web application scanners. It is easy to set up, integrates well with multiple workflows, and scans various web application types such as Web 2.0, HTML 5, and single-page apps.
Netsparker is a great choice for detecting SQLi, cross-site scripting, misconfigurations, and other web app vulnerabilities. Important features include
- Proof-based scanning – Netsparker produces proof of exploit to assure that there are no false positives
- Pre and post-scan automation makes it easier to set up the scanner
- It uses a REST API to help you integrate the scanner with all stages of the SDLC
- You get instant alerts for vulnerabilities found in mission-critical assets
Detectify is a solid tool for vulnerability scanning and attack surface monitoring. It offers continuous vigilance over attack surfaces across platforms. Although it does not come with a pentest offering, as a standalone vulnerability scanner, Detectify performs quite well.
Though it’s not as loaded with features as Astra or Veracode, some useful features are
- Continuous attack surface monitoring
- Vulnerability management
- Automated scans
8. Rapid7 Nexpose
Nexpose by Rapid7 is an on-premises vulnerability management and scanner tool. It is a great choice for small and mid-sized companies. Nexpose takes risk scoring to a deeper level by scoring vulnerabilities on a scale of 1-1000 instead of 1-10. It gives the users a more nuanced idea about the age and exploitability of a vulnerability. However, a number of users have found this to be overkill.
Key features include
- Adaptive security
- Policy assessment
- Remediation reporting
9. Tripwire IP360
IP360 by Tripwire is a powerful vulnerability scanning tool for networks. It can scan a wide range of devices and programs running on a network and it also detects previously missed issues in on-premise devices, the cloud, and containers. It scores the vulnerabilities based on risk, ease of exploit, and impact.
Key features include
- Discovery and profiling of network assets
- Scalable architecture
- Risk scoring and prioritization
ImmuniWeb is an expensive but effective vulnerability scanning tool specifically designed for DevOps teams. It has an AI-based vulnerability scanner and a discovery system that detects every vulnerability and provides accurate risk scores with supposedly zero false positives. Human pentesters work in tandem with machine learning-based tools to ensure accuracy.
Key features include
- Hackability scores
- Zero false positives
- Pentesting by Experts
Wireshark is an open-source network protocol analyzer with a free scanner and a bunch of useful features. It uses packet sniffing to assess network traffic and detect anomalies. It then determines whether the anomalies are attacks or errors and offers insights into the possible ways of fixing the issues.
Key features include
- Deep protocol inspection
- Live capture and offline analysis
- Multi-platform tool
Open Vulnerability Assessment System or OpenVAS is a free vulnerability scanning tool maintained by Greenbone Networks. It has a paid version too, but we will talk about the free tool here. It is powered by the security feed from over 50,000 tests and can be a very effective tool in the hands of expert security admins working in a Linux environment. OpenVAS has a significant learning curve and isn’t a plug-n-play tool like some others on the list.
Key features include
- Authenticated and unauthenticated testing
- Targeted scans
- Penetration testing
Cobalt is a PTaaS platform range of services related to web app and cloud security. Cobalt can help you with vulnerability management, and penetration testing. They connect you with a pool of pentesters to help you get a snapshot of your security posture.
Key features include
- Penetration Testing as a Service
- Agile pentesting
- Pentest for compliance
WebInspect is a developer-driven DAST platform that helps you imbibe security into the SDLC. You can use it to protect the integrity of your code and secure the software supply chain.
Key features include
- Comprehensive API scan
- CI/CD integration
- Scalable scan orchestration and automation
Arachni is a modular web app pentest tool developed in Ruby. It is an open-source tool that can be used across Windows, Linux, and Mac. It is used by pentesters for testing web application security.
Key features include
- Detects injections
- High-performance framework
- Helps uncover invalidated redirects
Benefits of regular web application vulnerability scanning
More than 50 new CVEs were reported every day in 2020. This goes on to show how fast the cyber threat landscape evolves. That is why web app vulnerability scans have to be a continuous endeavor and not a one-time exercise.
Maintain a strong security posture
Maintaining and managing a strong security posture is essential for every web application to ensure the safety of its users. Regular vulnerability scans ensure that the security loopholes are periodically detected and remediated.
Never send a vulnerable update
Thanks to the emergence of DevOps, applications are developed and updated with great speed. Integrating a web application vulnerability scanner with the CI/CD pipeline of an application ensures that each new update is scanned for vulnerabilities before it goes live.
Stay compliance ready
Compliance with relevant security regulations is extremely important for businesses to compete in the market and to build trust among their customers. Regular vulnerability scanning ensures that the security controls required for passing a compliance audit are in place. A vulnerability scan is a significant part of every compliance readiness program.
If there were one thing about vulnerability scanning that couldn’t be stressed enough that would be the importance of consistency and regularity. A vulnerability scan is not a one-off event, it is a continuous process. So, the easier it is to handle the tool and make it a part of the SDLC, the better.
It takes one vulnerability to ruin your perfectly running business, so, take good care of your application’s security, choose the right web application vulnerability scanner, and instill good security practices in your organization. Whenever in doubt, you can reach out to us.
1. What is the timeline for automated web app vulnerability scanning?
It can take up to 24 hours to complete the process of vulnerability scanning?
2. What is the cost of vulnerability scanning?
Vulnerability scanners can cost anything between $100 to $500 per month depending on the tool, the scope of the scan, and the features offered.
3. How often should I conduct vulnerability scans?
Quarterly vulnerability scans are necessary. Apart from that, you should have vulnerability scans whenever you send an update to the web app.