Application Security

The Top 5 Application Security Open-Source Tools

Discover the top 5 application security open-source tools with features like community support, vulnerability databases, and flexible customization.

The Top Application Security Open-Source Tools include:
  • 1. Greenbone OpenVAS
  • 2. W3AF
  • 3. OSSEC
  • 4. Sonar
  • 5. Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP)

Open-source application security tools help developers to build, assess, and fortify applications to ensure that data and services remain secure. They enable organizations to detect and fix vulnerabilities in application code and configurations earlier in the development lifecycle, with more transparency in how the solutions work.

These open-source application security tools features in this list are designed to detect vulnerabilities, manage security risks, and ensure compliance with various industry regulations. They can be tightly integrated with existing development, QA, and security processes to provide visibility across organizations, and help teams work collaboratively to build more secure applications.

In this article, we will explore the top open-source application security tools available today. We will consider key features that are designed to help developers and security professionals protect applications and stay ahead of the evolving threat landscape.

OpenVAS Logo

Greenbone OpenVAS is a comprehensive vulnerability scanner developed by Greenbone Networks. Its features include unauthenticated and authenticated testing, support for various internet and industrial protocols, performance tuning for large-scale scans, and a powerful internal programming language. OpenVAS is updated daily with vulnerability tests, through the Greenbone Feed, ensuring consistent and up-to-date protection.

As a part of Greenbone’s commercial vulnerability management product family, the Greenbone Enterprise Appliance includes OpenVAS and other open-source modules in the Greenbone Community Edition. Furthermore, Greenbone offers a Cloud Service with features such as low operating costs, integrated Greenbone Enterprise Feed with daily automatic updates, a flexible monthly subscription, scan automation, and GDPR-compliant German server locations.

Greenbone Networks offers a completely open-source vulnerability management solution. Their source code is viewable on their GitHub, providing transparency and eliminating risks associated with proprietary vulnerability analysis systems in critical IT infrastructures. The company also prides itself on being “Made in Germany,” with manufacturing, development, and support services based in Germany, as well as the Greenbone Cloud Service operating exclusively in German data centers, ensuring GDPR compliance.

OpenVAS Logo
w3af Logo

w3af is a web application attack and audit aramework designed to help secure web applications by identifying and exploiting vulnerabilities. The goal of the project is to detect over 200 vulnerabilities, such as SQL injection, Cross-Site Scripting, Guessable credentials, Unhandled application errors, and PHP misconfigurations, thereby reducing a site’s overall risk exposure. Developed using Python, w3af is both easy to use and extend, making it a valuable tool for web application security. The software is licensed under GPLv2.0.

The framework offers both a graphical and console user interface, enabling users to audit the security of their web applications in just a few clicks, using predefined profiles. Well-documented and entirely written in Python, w3af allows developers to modify the code and identify new vulnerabilities by utilizing their development skills. The GitHub repository can be accessed for any changes or contributions.

w3af Logo
OSSEC Logo

OSSEC is a multi-platform, open-source, Host-based Intrusion Detection System (HIDS) compatible with operating systems such as Linux, OpenBSD, FreeBSD, MacOS, Solaris, and Windows. It features a powerful correlation and analysis engine, integrating functionalities such as log analysis, file integrity monitoring, Windows registry monitoring, centralized policy enforcement, rootkit detection, real-time alerting, and active response.

OSSEC has a growing user base with over 500,000 downloads a year. It is popular among large enterprises, small businesses, and government agencies for server intrusion detection in both on-premise and cloud environments. It is used for log analysis, monitoring and analyzing firewalls, IDSs, web servers, and authentication logs.

Some key features of OSSEC include log-based Intrusion Detection (LIDs), rootkit and malware detection, active response to system attacks and changes, compliance auditing for standards such as PCI-DSS and CIS benchmarks, as well as file integrity monitoring (FIM). Additionally, the system inventory collects information on installed software, hardware, utilization, network services, and listeners. The wide range of features makes OSSEC a versatile and robust intrusion detection system for various organizations and industries.

OSSEC Logo
Sonar Source Logo

Sonar is a prominent solution in the software development industry, aiding developers in writing clean code and remediating existing code with ease. Their product offerings include both open-source and commercial solutions such as SonarLint, SonarCloud, and SonarQube, solutions. These tools are used by over 400,000 organizations worldwide. The products support 30 programming languages, enabling better software delivery for various businesses.

SonarLint is a free Integrated Development Environment (IDE) extension that functions similar to a spell checker, identifying bugs and security vulnerabilities, while providing clear remediation guidance. This allows developers to address issues before the code is committed. SonarLint is compatible with Eclipse, IntelliJ, Visual Studio, and VS Code.

SonarCloud is an online service that detects bugs and security vulnerabilities in both pull requests and code repositories. Available for free in open-source projects, while there is a paid plan for private projects. SonarCloud integrates with cloud-based CI/CD workflows and supports over 20 programming languages.

Lastly, SonarQube is a widely used tool for inspecting code quality and security in codebases continuously while guiding development teams during code reviews. Supporting 30 programming languages, SonarQube integrates smoothly with existing software pipelines and offers valuable remediation guidance, helping developers understand and fix issues. With over 170,000 deployments, SonarQube assists not only small development teams but also global organizations in maintaining high-quality code and delivering safer software.

Sonar Source Logo
ZAP Logo

Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP) is a widely used open-source web application scanner maintained by the Software Security Project (SSP) and a dedicated international team of volunteers as a GitHub Top 1000 project. ZAP, aimed at testing web applications, is both flexible and extensible, functioning as a “man-in-the-middle proxy” that intercepts, inspects, and modifies messages sent between the user’s browser and the web application as needed.

Designed for various skill levels, ZAP caters to developers and security testers. It supports major operating systems, whilst additional functionality can be accessed through add-ons available in the ZAP Marketplace. As an open-source project, anyone can contribute to ZAP by fixing bugs, adding features, or creating add-ons.

ZAP offers multiple options for automation, including command line, Docker Packaged Scans, GitHub Actions, and an automation framework not tied to any container technology. In addition to this, ZAP offers an API and daemon mode. The ZAP Marketplace, accessible within the client, offers numerous add-ons to extend ZAP’s functionality, developed by both the ZAP team and the broader community.

ZAP Logo
The Top 5 Application Security Open-Source Tools