Top Open Source Web Application Vulnerability Scanners

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Recent reports indicate that hackers have been successful in penetrating some of the world’s most popular websites. Today, hackers are constantly working around the clock to hack websites and leak data. That’s why web applications security testing is very important.

And this is where the role of web application security scanners comes in. A web application security scanner is a software program that identifies security vulnerabilities on web applications by performing an automatic black box testing.

Scanners only perform functional testing and try to find security weaknesses; they do not access the source code.

Users can either decide to use the free or paid versions of web application scanners. This article will list some of the best open source web application vulnerability scanners. These tools can only be used to find security weaknesses in web applications but not to find server susceptibilities.

Also, it’s important not to confuse open source tools and free tools. This is because there are various free tools which do not provide open source code to other developers. Open source tools provide source codes to developers to assist them in modifying the tool or in further development.

Here are some of the best web application scanners.


This is a web application scanner which can detect numerous security weaknesses in web applications. It scans the web applications and then areas which have weaknesses.

The following are some of the vulnerabilities which it can detect: file inclusion, backup file check, cross-site scripting and SQL injection.

The scanner is simple and portable although it’s not as fast as other security scanners. It can be used to scan small web applications as large applications require too much time to scan.

Grabber does not provide GUI interface or create any PDF report. It was primarily designed to be simple and for personal use. It’s not recommended for professional use.

This web application scanner was developed by Python, and its executable version is available. Also, its source code is available, and you can customize it to suite your needs.



This is another free open source web vulnerability scanner and testing platform. You can use Vega to perform tests on the security of a web application. Java is used to write Vega, and it provides a GUI-based environment. The tool can also be found in Windows, Linux and OS X.

Vega can be used to scan cross-site scripting, shell injection, SQL injection, directory listing and other web application susceptibilities. API written in JavaScript can be used to extend this tool.


Zed Attack Proxy

Also known as ZAP, it is open source software developed by OWASP. It can be found in Macintosh, Windows and Unix/Linux platforms.

This tool can be used to detect a wide range of vulnerabilities in web applications. ZAP is not complicated and can be used by almost everybody, including users who are new in security testing.

The main functions of ZAP include web socket support, authentication support, automatic scanner, REST based API, intercepting proxy, plug-n-hack support, automatic scanner, smartcard and client digital certificates support.

You can manually perform tests on specific web pages by using ZAP as an intercepting proxy or input URL to perform the intended scans.



This tool assists you  in conducting a security audit for all your applications. Wapiti injects data into web pages and then performs black-box testing on those web pages.

It tests if the script is vulnerable by trying to inject payloads into it. The tool supports both POSTHTTP and GET attacks and also detects multiple vulnerabilities.

Some of the vulnerabilities scanned by wapiti include CRLF Injection, Cross Site Scripting (XSS), File disclosure, SQL Injection and XPath Injection and many others.

Wapiti is an example of a command-line application and can be challenging for beginners. However, experts don’t have a problem with using it.

Anyone looking to use this tool will be required to learn lots of commands which are usually found in the official documentation.

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