Top 10 Best web application vulnerability scanners in 2020


Here are the Top 10 best web application vulnerability scanners in the year 2020

In computer security, a vulnerability is a weakness which can be exploited by a threat actor, such as an attacker, to perform unauthorized actions within a computer system. To exploit a vulnerability, an attacker must have at least one applicable tool or technique that can connect to a system weakness.

To detect these vulnerabilities there are multiple developer courses available, there are also many vulnerability scanners that are computer programs designed to assess computers, networks, or applications for known weaknesses. In plain words, these scanners are used to discover the weaknesses of a given system.

There are multiple benefits using a vulnerability scanner, some are listed below:

  • Scan and audit your internet-facing servers for over 35,000 vulnerabilities, identifying system, and network weaknesses.
  • Identify vulnerable versions of applications and ensuring that servers are not running any illegitimate services, such as Trojans.
  • Using various techniques such as OS fingerprinting to discover the information that the systems are leaking.
  • Ensure that all the organization’s services, including FTP and mail, do not suffer from Heartbleed, POODLE, or Shell Shock.
  • Crawls thousands of pages without interruption, at lightning speed.
  • In-depth testing of SQL injection and Cross-Site Scripting (XSS), the most thorough scanner for these vulnerabilities.
  • Acunetix AcuSensor Technology allows accurate scanning with low false positives, by combining black box scanning techniques with feedback from its sensors placed inside the source code.
  • Automatic JavaScript analysis for AJAX and Web 2.0 applications security testing.
  • A Login Sequence Recorder to make testing of password-protected areas quick and easy.
  • Acunetix DeepScan, which can interpret SOAP, XML, AJAX, and JSON.

Top 10 best open-source web application vulnerability scanners in the year 2020

  1. Zed Attack Proxy
  2. W3af
  3. WebScarab
  4. Grabber
  5. Vega
  6. Skipfish
  7. Grendel-Scan
  8. Arachni
  9. SQLMap
  10. Ratproxy

Zed Attack Proxy

Zed Attack Proxy is also known as ZAP. This tool is open-source and is developed by OWASP. It is available for Windows, Unix/Linux, and Macintosh platforms. It can be used to find a wide range of vulnerabilities in web applications. The tool is very simple and easy to use. Even if you are new to penetration testing, you can easily use this tool to start learning penetration testing of web applications.

These are the key functionalities of ZAP:

  • Intercepting proxy
  • Automatic scanner
  • Traditional but powerful spiders
  • Fuzzer
  • Web socket support
  • Plug-n-hack support
  • Authentication support
  • REST-based API
  • Dynamic SSL certificates
  • Smartcard and client digital certificates support
  • You can either use this tool as a scanner by inputting the URL to perform scanning, or you can use this
  • A tool as an intercepting proxy to manually perform tests on specific pages.

Download Zed Attack Proxy from here


W3af is a popular web application attack and audit framework. This framework aims to provide a better web application penetration testing platform. It was developed using Python. By using this tool, you will be able to identify more than 200 kinds of web application vulnerabilities including SQL injection, cross-site scripting, and many others. It comes with a graphical and console interface. You can use it easily, thanks to its simple interface.

If you are using it with a graphical interface, I do not think that you are going to face any problems with the tool. You only need to select the options and then start the scanner. If a website needs authentication, you can also use authentication modules to scan the session-protected pages. We have already covered this tool in detail in our previous W3af walkthrough series. You can read those articles to know more about this tool.

You can access source code at the GitHub repository here.


WebScarab is a Java-based security framework for analyzing web applications using HTTP or HTTPS protocol. With available plugins, you can extend the functionality of the tool. This tool works as an intercepting proxy; you can review the requests and responses coming to your browser and going to the server. You can also modify the request or response before they are received by the server or browser.

If you are a beginner, this tool is not for you. This tool was designed for those who have a good understanding of HTTP protocol and can write codes.

WebScarab provides many features which help penetration testers work closely on a web application and find security vulnerabilities. It has a spider that can automatically find new URLs of the target website. It can easily extract scripts and the HTML of the page. The proxy observes the traffic between the server and your browser, and you can take control of the request and response by using available plugins. Available modules can easily detect most common vulnerabilities like SQL injection, XSS, CRLF, and many other vulnerabilities.

The source code of the tool is available on GitHub here.


Grabber is a web application scanner that can detect many security vulnerabilities in web applications. It performs scans and tells where the vulnerability exists. It can detect the following vulnerabilities:

  • Cross-site scripting
  • SQL injection
  • Ajax testing
  • File inclusion
  • JS source code analyzer
  • Backup file check

It is not as fast as compared to other security scanners, but it is simple and portable. This should be used only to test small web applications because it takes too much time to scan large applications.

Download it from here.


Vega is another free open-source web vulnerability scanner and testing platform. With this tool, you can perform security testing of a web application. This tool is written in Java and offers a GUI-based environment. It is available for OS X, Linux, and Windows. It can be used to find SQL injection, header injection, directory listing, shell injection, cross-site scripting, file inclusion, and other web application vulnerabilities. This tool can also be extended using a powerful API written in JavaScript.

While working with the tool, it lets you set a few preferences such as the total number of path descendants, number of child paths of a node, and the depth and maximum number of requests per second. You can use Vega Scanner, Vega Proxy, and Proxy Scanner, and also scan with credentials. If you need help, you can find resources in the documentation section:

Download Vega here.


Skipfish is another nice web application security tool. It crawls the website and then checks each page for various security threats. In the end, it prepares the final report. This tool was written in C. It is highly optimized for HTTP handling and utilizing minimum CPU. It claims that it can easily handle 2,000 requests per second without adding a load on the CPU.

It uses a heuristics approach while crawling and testing web pages, and claims to offer high quality and fewer false positives. This tool is available for Linux, FreeBSD, macOS X, and Windows.

Download Skipfish or code from Google Codes here.


Grendel-Scan is another nice open-source web application security tool. This is an automatic tool for finding security vulnerabilities in web applications. Many features are also available for manual penetration testing. This tool is available for Windows, Linux, and Macintosh and was developed in Java.

Download the tool and source code here.


Arachni is an open-source tool developed for providing a penetration testing environment. This tool can detect various web application security vulnerabilities. It can detect various vulnerabilities like SQL injection, XSS, local file inclusion, remote file inclusion, unvalidated redirect, and many others.

Download this tool here.


SQLMap is another popular open-source penetration testing tool. It automates the process of finding and exploiting SQL injection vulnerabilities in a website’s database. It has a powerful detection engine and many useful features. This way, a penetration tester can easily perform an SQL injection check on a website.

It supports a range of database servers including MySQL, Oracle, PostgreSQL, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Access, IBM DB2, SQLite, Firebird, Sybase, and SAP MaxDB. It offers full support for six kinds of SQL injection techniques: time-based blind, Boolean-based blind, error-based, UNION query, stacked queries, and out-of-band.

Access the source code on GitHub here.


Ratproxy is an open-source web application security audit tool that can be used to find security vulnerabilities in web applications. It supports Linux, FreeBSD, macOS X, and Windows (Cygwin) environments. This tool is designed to overcome the problems users usually face while using other proxy tools for security audits. It is capable of distinguishing between CSS stylesheets and JavaScript codes. It also supports the SSL man-in-the-middle attack, which means you can also see data passing through SSL.

You can read more about this tool here.

These are the top 10 web application vulnerability scanners that are open source and best for data protection. For more news on tech and cybersecurity stay tuned on Android Rookies by subscribing to our newsletter from here.


About Author

Be Ready for the challenge

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments