Open Source Security Testing Tools

There are many open source security testing tools available to IT professionals that can be used to identify security gaps and discover vulnerabilities before they can be found and exploited by cyber threat actors, as well as open source security tools that monitor network traffic to identify potential attacks in progress.

It is a commonly held belief that the best security solutions are expensive, and while that is often the case, it is not always necessary to pay big bucks for security solutions as there are many open source security testing tools that are available at a low cost or can even be used free of charge.

IT departments are generally not awash with cash and therefore need to plan purchases carefully. By using a selection of free open source security testing tools, there will be more money available to pay for other security solutions such as a next-generation firewall or advanced email security gateway, and provide security awareness training to the workforce.

Open Source Vulnerability Scanners

Vulnerability scanners are used to identify vulnerabilities such as security gaps, design faults, and misconfigured security controls so action can be taken to mitigate the flaws before they are exploited by threat actors. These solutions automate the process of vulnerability discovery, shortening the time frame for exploitation. Vulnerability scanners can also help security teams prioritize tasks and address the most serious vulnerabilities first, and often provide recommendations on how best to mitigate vulnerabilities.

There are several open source vulnerability scanners available, one of the best being OpenVAS. OpenVAS is an open source vulnerability scanner that can identify pre- and post-authentication vulnerabilities. OpenVAS is the scanner component of Greenbone Vulnerability Manager, which can be used free under license. OpenVAS is one of the most widely used open source security testing tools and an ideal solution for companies that cannot justify paying for Nessus.

WireShark is a free-to-use open source packet analyzer that is used for troubleshooting networks. The tool provides insights into what is happening on networks in intricate detail for real-time or offline analysis. WireShark can be used to quickly identify problems to improve network security.

One of the most popular tools for penetration testers and hackers alike is the Metasploit framework. Metasploit is a modular platform that allows pen testers to write, test, and execute exploit code and test for security vulnerabilities, enumerate networks, and execute attacks.

OWASP Dependency-Check is a useful Software Composition Analysis (SCA) tool for scanning applications to identify unaddressed, publicly-disclosed vulnerabilities in a project’s dependent libraries. While open source components may be checked by security teams for vulnerabilities, vulnerabilities in dependent libraries are often missed.

Open Source Security Testing Tools for Web Applications

Web applications are attractive targets for hackers, who are constantly scanning for unaddressed vulnerabilities in web applications to gain access to sensitive data, install malware, and conduct destructive cyberattacks. If vulnerabilities are left unresolved, it is only a matter of time before they are found and exploited. There are several open source security testing tools for web applications that can be used to find vulnerabilities.

OWASP (Open Web Application Security Project) Zed Attack Proxy is a free penetration testing tool that can be used to identify vulnerabilities during website development and testing.

W3af is a web application audit and attack framework that can identify more than 200 vulnerabilities such as SQL injection, cross-site scripting, weak credentials, and PHP misconfigurations.

Google Nogotofail is an accomplished network traffic security testing tool that checks web applications for TLS/SSL vulnerabilities and misconfigurations.

Wapiti is a useful tool for scanning web pages for scripts and forms to determine if they are vulnerable to data injection.

SonarQube is a useful open source security testing tool for measuring the quality of the source code of web applications.

SQLmap is a powerful open source penetration testing tool that is used for identifying and exploiting SQL injection vulnerabilities to determine whether it is possible to take over database servers.

Social Engineering and Phishing Testing Tools

While email security gateways do a great job at preventing phishing and social engineering attacks on employees, should a malicious email make it past the gateway, and they often do, employees can easily provide the attacker with sensitive data or inadvertently install malware. One of the most useful phishing and social engineering open source security testing tools is the Social Engineer Toolkit (SET). SET was developed by TrustedSEC founder Dave Kennedy and is a Python-driven tool that pen testers can use to determine susceptibility to these attacks by checking for vulnerabilities in employees.

SET is a command-line application for Windows and macOS X that allows security teams to send emails, use java applets, and test for susceptibility to common phishing and social engineering tactics. It is the most commonly used open source tool for conducting social-engineering penetration tests.