Top 10 Open Source Network Security Tools for Web Apps

Open Source Network Security Tools

We are only halfway through 2021, and the number of data breaches and hacks that occurred in this year is staggering:

  • Ubiquiti Inc. is one of the largest IoT vendors. It informed its customers of the breach and subsequent data leaks that exposed sensitive customer data like names, addresses, and passwords.
  • Parler, a conservative social media app, released a notification about a data leak in that nearly 20 Terabytes of data were stolen by a hacker.
  • Sociolark was also affected by a data breach in the same month. This happened because of an unsecured database that exposed sensitive account information for 214 million users on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook.
  • Pixlr was a free app for photo editing. Hackers exposed 83 million user records.

These are only a few of the leaks that occurred in January. Hackers targeted companies like Kroger, T-Mobile, and others in February. In March, hackers targeted Microsoft Exchange and SITA (the latter supporting 90 percent of the world’s airlines).

Major companies with a lot of resources, finance, and manpower are not able to protect their data. The statistics show that you will need network security if your Web application stores any customer data.

Here is a list I’ve compiled of the best open-source network security tools you could use. This list does not reflect the order in which they are most important or best. Each tool has its own set of features. You can choose the best tool for your work.

10 Open Source Network Security Tools


OSSEC is unique in that it has machine learning support. It is an open-source host-based intrusion detection software. It supports multiple platforms and can be customized to meet the different needs of different enterprises. OSSEC’s latest version, v3.6.0, was released in February 2020. It is a well-maintained application that has active community support and detailed documentation. OSSEC’s major features include:

  • Log analysis
  • File integrity analysis
  • Monitoring policy
  • Rootkit detection
  • Real-time alerts
  • Active Response
  • Machine learning support

Also read: Best 10 Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) Software Solutions

2. Nogotofail

Nogotofail was released in 2014 by Google as an open-source project. It is a lightweight tool that can be used for spotting and fixing vulnerable SSL/TLS connections. It was created with Network security researchers in mind and developers in mind. One drawback to this application is the fact that it was last updated in 2015 (v1.2.0). The application is not ideal for absolute beginners, as it doesn’t receive regular updates or has poor community support. Nogotofail’s major features include:

  • SSL certificate verification
  • Support for VPN/proxy
  • Easy to use and lightweight
  • MiTM attack detection support
  • SSL injection vulnerability test
  • TLS injection vulnerability test
  • Cleartext traffic detection service for sensitive cleartext

3. Wireshark

Wireshark was founded in 1998 by Gerald Combs. It is a network protocol analyzer that allows you to see the details of every visit to your site and every active connection. Wireshark can provide a detailed look at your network traffic. You will find a vibrant developer community and excellent support tools. Wireshark’s major features include:

  • An in-depth analysis of hundreds of protocol
  • Live and offline analysis
  • Multi-platform support
  • VoIP analysis
  • Support for decryption of a wide variety of protocols
  • Data can be exported in CSV, XML, or other formats
  • Highlighting the intuitive analysis of color-coded rules

4. Arachni

Arachni, a fully-featured, high-performance Ruby framework, is designed for penetration testing and system administration. It’s multi-platform, flexible, and offers a REST-based API. The only problem is that it has not been updated since version 1.5.1 was released in 2017. The tool lacks community support and new updates, so it isn’t ideal for beginners to penetration testing or Ruby. Arachni’s main highlights are:

  • SSL support with fine-grained options
  • Support for custom headers
  • UI abstraction
  • Scanner and automatic logout detection upon re-login
  • Asynchronous high-performance HTTP requests
  • Proxy authentication
  • Cookie-jar / cookie-string support

5. SQLMap

SQLMap, which focuses on SQL injection vulnerabilities, is an open-source tool that automates the process for detecting and exploiting SQL injection flaws. It includes an interactive, easy-to-use CLI and is written in Python. The latest version, Shazora Bradleflame, was released in January 2021. It also has an active developer community. SQLMap’s major features include:

  • Support for all major databases including MySQL, PostgreSQL and IBM DB2 as well as SQLite
  • All 6 SQL injection techniques supported
  • Enumeration user password hashes
  • Automatic recognition of password hashes
  • Support for downloading and uploading files
  • Database process’ user privilege escalation
  • Documentation in detail is available in several languages

6. Grabber

Grabber, a fun and easy-to-use penetration testing tool that can test many vulnerabilities, is available. This Python-based open-source tool is written in Python. It only displays the vulnerabilities of your Web app but does not provide any instructions on how to fix them. This tool does not have a standardized version and may need community support. Grabber’s major features include:

  • Cross-site scripting vulnerability testing
  • SQL injection vulnerability test
  • AJAX Check – Simple
  • Crystal ball testing of PHP applications
  • Analysis of JavaScript source code
  • Include file
  • Backup files check

7. OpenVAS

OpenVAS stands for Open Vulnerability Assessment Scanner. It was developed and maintained by Greenbone since 2009. OpenVAS is an open-source tool that can be used to test vulnerabilities in Web applications. OpenVAS, which was updated to version 20.8.1 in February 2021 by the community, is an open-source tool that is well maintained and supported by its users. The following are the highlights:

  • Unauthenticated/authenticated testing
  • Internet Protocols and Industrial Protocols – High/low level Internet
  • Performance tuning for large-scale scans
  • A powerful internal programming language
  • A vulnerability feed with over 80,000 tests is included.
  • Greenbone vulnerability management software compatible
  • XML-based stateless request/response

Also read: Top Ways to Protect Your Website From Cyber Security Attacks

8. Nikto2

Nikto is an open-source Web server scanner. It scans your Web server for potentially dangerous or harmful files and programs. It can also check for obsolete versions on approximately 1200+ servers, and version-specific problems on over 250 servers. It doesn’t have a GUI, and can only be accessed via the terminal. The latest version, v2.10.0, was released in December 2020. There is an active developer community. These are the main highlights of Nikto2:

  • Full support for HTTP
  • SSL Support
  • Reports can be saved in HTML, XML, or plain text
  • You can easily identify the installed software on your servers
  • Maximum execution time per target
  • Reporting unusual headers
  • Documentation that is well-written and complete

9. WFuzz

WFuzz is an online brute forcible tool. It brutes forcibly forces the GET, and POST parameters to check different types of injection vulnerabilities. The latest version, v3.1.0, was released in November 2020. There is an active developer community. It does not have a GUI, and can only be accessed via the terminal. WFuzz’s main features include:

  • Multiple injection points with multiple dictionaries
  • LDAP injection vulnerability test
  • SQL injection vulnerability test
  • XSS injection vulnerability test
  • HEAD scan
  • Support for multi-threading
  • Written in Python programming language

10. Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP)

ZAP, a project created and maintained by OWASP is one of the most widely used open-source network security tools in the industry. It’s multi-platform-based and has a user-friendly GUI as well as a CLI that allows advanced developers to access it. ZAP’s latest version, v2.10.0, was released in December 2020. It has a vibrant developer community that provides good documentation and support. ZAP’s major features include:

  • Active and vibrant community of developers on GitHub
  • SQL injection vulnerability test
  • XSS injection vulnerability test
  • For beginners, it is simple to use and intuitive
  • File scanning automation
  • Uses REST-based API
  • Written in Java programming language
Written by
Aiden Nathan

Aiden Nathan is vice growth manager of The Tech Trend. He is passionate about the applying cutting edge technology to operate the built environment more sustainably.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Articles

Modern Cybersecurity

Beyond Prevention: The Role of DDR in Modern Cybersecurity Strategies

In today’s connected world, businesses have to deal with massive volumes of...

Vendor Risk

Vendor Risk Scorecards: Developing a Comprehensive Assessment System

In today’s interconnected business landscape, organizations rely heavily on third-party vendors to...

Security Risk Registers

Continuous Improvement of Security Risk Registers: Strategies for Iterative Enhancements

In the dynamic landscape of cybersecurity, the importance of robust security risk...

hiring for cybersecurity

The Benefits of Cybersecurity Hiring for Businesses

In today’s world, every company, big or small, has valuable information online....