Top 10 Application Security Testing Tools for 2024

Published on
13/02/2024 10:28 AM
best application security testing tools

2024 is shaping up to be a complex year for application security. The rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) – paired with the increasing sophistication of cyber threats and the ever-evolving attack surface – has made it more challenging than ever before to keep critical applications secure. 

Attacks on applications are on the rise too. According to recent research by Verizon, web application attacks were involved in 26% of all breaches in 2023, and the average website encountered a whopping 94 cyber attacks per day. 

With the risk higher than ever before application security testing (AST) tools are proving crucial in identifying application security vulnerabilities and protecting businesses from malicious activity. 

What is application security testing?

Application security testing (AST) is the process of scanning applications for security vulnerabilities, loopholes or misconfigurations. 

From e-commerce platforms to mobile banking apps, AST allows organizations to fortify the applications they rely on by identifying security weaknesses in source code and reducing the risk of attacks. 

While this began as a manual process, the growing modularity of enterprise software and huge amounts of open-source components mean that today it must be almost entirely automated.

Businesses today rely on application security testing software such as vulnerability scanners, code analysers, and software composition analysers to keep applications secure. 

What are application security testing tools?

Application security testing tools are software programs that help developers and security professionals find and fix vulnerabilities in applications. They have become an essential part of the software development lifecycle, helping to ensure that applications are secure and resistant to attacks.

Application security testing tools can be used to test a wide range of applications, including web applications, mobile applications, and desktop applications. They work by uncovering vulnerabilities in applications before they can be exploited by attackers, preventing data breaches, financial losses, and reputational damage.

application security testing tools

By fixing vulnerabilities, application security testing software allows businesses to minimize the points of entry for malicious actors, ultimately making their applications more resilient to attacks.

This is because Integrating security testing throughout the development cycle promotes a security-first approach, leading to more secure applications overall.

Types of Application Security Testing Tools

There are many different types of application security testing tools available today, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. 

Some of the most common types of tools include:

  1. Static Application Security Testing (SAST) tools: These tools analyze the source code of an application to identify potential vulnerabilities. SAST tools are often used early in the development process to catch vulnerabilities early on.
  2. Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) tools: These tools scan a running application to identify vulnerabilities. DAST tools are often used later in the development process to test for vulnerabilities that may not be detectable by SAST tools.
  3. Interactive Application Security Testing (IAST) tools: These tools combine the functionality of SAST and DAST tools. IAST tools can identify vulnerabilities in both the source code and the running application.
  4. Software Composition Analysis (SCA) tools: These tools help developers identify and manage the security risks associated with open-source software components that are used in their applications.
  5. testing tools: Pentesting tools are used by security professionals to simulate real-world attacks on an application. testing tools can help to identify vulnerabilities that may be missed by other types of testing.

Choosing an application security testing tool

Choosing the right application security testing (AST) tool requires careful consideration of several factors. Here are some key points to ponder:

1. Needs Assessment:

  • Application types: What kind of applications are you testing (web, mobile, API)? Different tools specialize in different areas.

  • Security priorities: What are your main security concerns (data privacy, specific vulnerabilities)? Prioritize features that address your critical needs.
  • Budget & Resources: Consider the tool's cost, including licensing fees, maintenance, and training. Evaluate if you have resources for upkeep.
  • Development workflow: Does the tool integrate seamlessly into your existing development process? Consider CI/CD pipeline integration.

2. Tool Types & Features:

  • SAST vs DAST vs IAST: Choose based on your preference for analyzing code (SAST), running application (DAST), or both (IAST).
  • Vulnerability detection: Evaluate the tool's accuracy, focusing on true positive rates and minimizing false positives.
  • Reporting & prioritization: Assess how the tool reports vulnerabilities and prioritizes them based on severity and risk.
  • Scalability: Ensure the tool can handle your growing application size and complexity.

3. Vendor Evaluation:

  • Reviews & comparisons: Consult independent sources for unbiased evaluations and comparisons of different AST tools.
  • Free trials & demos: Take advantage of free trials or demos to test the tool in your environment with your specific needs.
  • Customer feedback: Talk to existing customers and sales representatives to understand their experiences and get real-world insights.

4. Additional Considerations:

  • Compliance: Does the tool help you meet relevant industry regulations or security standards?
  • Customization: Can you tailor the tool's rules and reports to fit your specific needs and security policies?
  • Support & resources: Does the vendor offer adequate support, training, and community resources?

Remember, there's no "one size fits all" solution when it comes to application security. The best application security tool for you will depend on your unique needs and priorities. By taking the time to carefully evaluate your options, you can choose a tool that helps you build secure and reliable applications.

Top 10 Application Security Testing Tools

There are a variety of different application security testing tools on the market today, each without its own set of features, benefits and price points. 

We’ve compiled ten of the best application security testing tools for 2024, ranking each tool on its speed, accuracy, and overall effectiveness at keeping applications secure. 

ImmuniWeb AI

For organisations looking for the most cost-effective application security testing software, ImmuniWeb AI is a great place to start. With a clientele of over 1,000 customers including the likes of eBay and over 50 countries, the platform cuts costs through the power of AI to enhance vulnerability detection and provide comprehensive security assessments and reports. The tool combines machine learning algorithms and natural language processing to analyse an application's security posture and identify vulnerabilities, security misconfigurations, and compliance issues. 

ImmuniWeb AI's intelligent algorithms continuously learn from vast amounts of security data, ensuring that the tool evolves and adapts to emerging threats and attack vectors. It disrupts tradition. This allows it to disrupt traditional application security testing by delivering web and mobile applications enhanced by proprietary machine-leaning algorithms and manual, human testing. 

AppScan by HCLTech

The name says it all when it comes to HCLTech’s AppScan. A market-leading application security provider, AppScan provides developers, DevOps and security teams with technologies to pinpoint application vulnerabilities at every phase of the software development cycle. Its standout solution is its s dynamic application security testing (DAST), which enables teams to identify security vulnerabilities by crawling through web applications and APIs to map potential exploit paths and execute tests against those paths in web applications.

Along with DAST HCL, AppScan can perform both static and dynamic application security testing (AST). Static AST analyses an application's source code and binary files, allowing teams to identify vulnerabilities and security flaws at an early stage of the development process, while Dynamic AST, assesses an application while it's running, simulating real-world attack scenarios and uncovering vulnerabilities that may be missed in static analysis. Together, ensures comprehensive vulnerability detection and provides organisations with a holistic view of their application's security posture.

BurpSuite Professional by PortSwigger 

With its extensive set of features and versatility, Burp Suite Professional offers a comprehensive suite of tools to identify vulnerabilities, assess security risks, and strengthen the overall security posture of applications. It provides a powerful web vulnerability scanner that thoroughly analyzes web applications, detecting common vulnerabilities such as SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS), and server-side request forgery (SSRF). This scanner combines automated techniques with manual testing capabilities, allowing security professionals to tailor their assessments and perform in-depth analyses of specific areas of interest. This flexibility and control make Burp Suite Professional an invaluable tool for identifying and mitigating security vulnerabilities.

Burp Suite Professional also offers an intuitive and customisable user interface, which enables security professionals to efficiently navigate and interact with the tool's features. The suite includes a proxy, spider, scanner, intruder, repeater, and other tools that work together seamlessly, facilitating comprehensive application security testing. This intuitive interface helps users with a limited understanding of pen-testing to quickly grasp the tool's functionality and monitor the security of these applications. 

Acunetix 

Acunetix has established itself as a reliable and comprehensive solution that organisations can trust. Developed by Invictci, Acunetix stands out as a leading application security testing tool that helps businesses identify vulnerabilities, strengthen their security posture, and protect their valuable digital assets. Its powerful and accurate web vulnerability scanning engine employs cutting-edge scanning technologies to thoroughly analyse web applications, including dynamic, single-page, and JavaScript-heavy websites. Acunetix scans for a wide range of vulnerabilities including all OWASP Top 10 vulnerabilities, such as SQL injection, and cross-site scripting (XSS). 

Acunetix also offers flexibility in terms of deployment options. It can be deployed as an on-premises solution or accessed via the cloud, allowing organizations to choose the option that best fits their infrastructure and security requirements. Furthermore, Acunetix seamlessly integrates with popular development tools and issue-tracking systems, streamlining the vulnerability management process and enabling collaboration between security teams and developers.

CheckMarx SAST

Next up we have CheckMarx SAST, an enterprise-grade software exposure tool used by upwards of 14000 organisations around the world – from tech companies to retailers, to government bodies. Checkmarx SAST scans source code to uncover application security issues as early as possible in an organisation’s software development life cycle, allowing developers to accelerate their work when finding application security vulnerabilities by eliminating the need to build code first. Developers can simply check it in, start scanning, and quickly get the results they need.

But CheckMarx SAST's user-friendly interface and intuitive workflow make it accessible to developers and security professionals alike. The tool provides detailed reports that highlight the identified vulnerabilities, including their severity and location within the code of a variety of different coding languages. These reports include actionable recommendations and code snippets, allowing developers to quickly understand and address security flaws. This seamless integration into the development process enhances collaboration and enables prompt remediation of vulnerabilities, leading to more secure applications.

GitLab

Our number five spot goes to GitLab, a powerful application security tool-powered offering with a host of features that integrate seamlessly into the software development lifecycle (SDLC). With its emphasis on DevSecOps collaboration and integrated testing capabilities, GitLab enables organisations to proactively identify and remediate security vulnerabilities throughout the development process through a centralised platform for all stages of the SDLC. This allows developers to seamlessly incorporate security testing into their workflows, ensuring that security considerations are addressed from the early stages of development.

GitLab also provides a shared environment where security teams, developers, and operations personnel can collaborate effectively. Security anomalies and vulnerabilities are tracked and communicated transparently, enabling efficient collaboration and remediation efforts throughout the testing process. These findings are then displayed in detailed reports and dashboards that provide insights into the security posture of applications, allowing for informed decision-making and correct prioritisation of security tasks.

Rapid7’s InsightAppSec

Rapid7’s InsightAppSec is a great choice for organisations looking to find hidden vulnerabilities in their applications in an instant. Designed for users who want to get started instantly, and don’t have time for documentation or training the tool features a simplifying UI and intuitive workflows that make it easy to start scanning and perform black-box security testing and automate the identification of vulnerabilities in minutes. Whether you’re an application security expert or new to the field, the workflows in sightAppSec guide users through scan setup and execution quickly, making it just as simple to interpret vulnerability findings and take on remediation recommendations. 

But while its ease of use may be one of InsightAppsSc’s standout strengths, the tool is also a phenomenal solution in its own right. It offers a range of useful and effective features including cloud and on-premise scan engines, 95+ attack types, compliance reporting, scan scheduling, and automatic crawling of web applications to detect SQLi and XSS, and allows users to collaborate with the global security community to bring about better, more robust security, faster. 

Veracode 

If we were to choose one solution on this list for DevOps application security, it would be Veracode. The platform is designed with DevOps in mind, allowing teams to scan hundreds of different applications simultaneously to cope with the rapid speed of DevOps development. These flexible scan parameters enable teams to scan results while other scans are running, leading to faster vulnerability detection that’s especially important for large organisations that use DevOps.

 While it may not be the easiest to manage for beginners, one of the key strengths of Veracode lies in its ability to conduct static, dynamic, and software composition analysis (SCA) within a single platform. This comprehensive approach allows organisations to assess their applications from multiple angles, covering both the source code and the application runtime. By combining these analysis techniques, Veracode provides a holistic view of an application's security posture, ensuring thorough vulnerability detection and reducing false positives.

Indusface WAS

Our runner-up spot goes to Indusface WAS, a popular application security tool which combines automated scanning and manual pen-testing to help organisations detect vulnerabilities quickly and effectively. Promising zero false positives and first-class remediation assistance, Indusface WAS scans single-page applications through intelligent crawling to identify threats. With combined Application Security Scanning (DAST), Malware Scanning and Infrastructure Scanning, ensure all classes of vulnerabilities are identified immediately in a single place. It can detect all types of threats, including OWASP Top 10 threats such as SQL Injection (SQLi), Cross-Site Scripting (XSS), Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) and others that are identified before the hackers do.

It also offers manual testing to ensure the vulnerabilities that automated scanners miss, using in-house security experts to identify business logic vulnerabilities at no extra cost as part of Indusface WAS Premium plans. This, in addition to its high-class automated detection capabilities, makes the tool a one-stop solution for application security, and one of the best on the market. 

Cobalt.io 

With an impressive clientele including Nissan and Vodaphone, Cobalt.io stands out as a top-tier application security testing tool that empowers organizations to identify and remediate vulnerabilities through expert collaboration. Cobalt.io’s unique testing platform leverages a network of on-demand security researchers, enabling organisations to tap into a vast pool of expertise and experience and map out their attack surface for appropriate test coverage and frequency. This crowdsourced approach to security testing ensures that applications undergo rigorous assessments from a diverse range of perspectives, maximizing the chances of identifying even the most elusive vulnerabilities.

Like other entries on this list, Cobalt’s SaaS platform provides a streamlined and intuitive interface that enables organisations to seamlessly manage their testing programs in one place. But Colbalt.io goes beyond this, allowing businesses to easily define their scope, set testing objectives, and communicate with assigned security researchers directly through its dashboard. It also supports real-time collaboration, allowing for ongoing feedback and interaction throughout the testing process. This fosters a deep understanding of an application's security posture, empowering organisations to make more informed decisions about vulnerability remediation.