API Testing

Best Penetration Testing Tools to Secure Your APIs

April 10, 2022
6 mins

As the world increasingly moves towards digital connectivity, APIs have become a key target for attackers. If you have an API, it's important to make sure it is secure. 

After all, APIs are how data is exchanged between different systems, so if they are compromised, it can lead to severe data breaches. To secure your APIs and protect your data, it is essential to test them regularly for vulnerabilities.

There are a number of penetration testing tools available that can help you ensure your API is secure. In this article, we will discuss some of the best penetration testing tools for APIs.

TLDR Key Takeaways

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What is Penetration Testing?

Penetration testing, also known as ethical hacking, is a simulated cyberattack carried out by professionals to assess the security of a computer system or network. 

Pen tests are a key component of an organization's security strategy that helps you identify vulnerabilities that attackers could exploit. Organizations can then take steps to mitigate these risks and protect their systems more effectively.

Organizations should consider penetration testing as part of their wider security strategy. Regular testing can help to identify weaknesses in systems before malicious actors exploit them.

What are the Best Penetration Testing Tools?

While there are a variety of tools available on the market, these are our top picks for the best penetration testing tools in 2022:

  1. APIsec
  2. Kali Linux
  3. Burp Suite
  4. ZAP
  5. Astra Pentest

1. APIsec

APIsec provides an automated approach to finding the most serious security vulnerabilities in your APIs using a zero-touch deployment model that runs at speeds comparable with DevOps practices.

Unlike other testing methods where you have to spend hours writing test scripts, APIsec uses an AI-based solution to write thousands of test cases unique to your API's architecture. 

The APIsec platform has been proven to be one of the most effective automated pen testing tools on today's market because it can find both common vulnerabilities as well hidden business logic flaws (loopholes that allow attackers to exploit legitimate functions of your API).

Top Features

  • Fully Automated Pen Tests: APIsec's automated pen tests take only minutes to run, allowing you to test your APIs with every new release. 
  • Business Logic Flaw Identification: APIsec analyzes every aspect of your API so it can find and illuminate deeply buried business logic flaws that other testing tools miss. 
  • AI-Powered: APIsec uses the power of machine learning to deeply understand how your APIs work, creating a unique solution. 
  • Actionable Insight Integration: APIsec provides the most actionable insights directly into your dev workflow to ensure that vulnerabilities are never left unnoticed.

Pricing

Before selecting one of APIsec's three main packages, customers can take advantage of APIsec's free API assessment to find any vulnerabilities in their endpoints and receive a detailed report on the findings. Aside from that, they offer:

  • Standard ($500 per month*): The robust plan includes over 100 API test categories to choose from and full OWASP coverage with daily tests for both application logic and security. 
  • Professional ($1,950 per month*): This plan is the perfect option for those looking to take their operation up a notch.  It includes advanced ticketing, pipeline integration, and single sign-on capabilities with APIs that other applications or systems can use within your business.
  • Enterprise (Contact for price): With this plan, you get access to every feature APIsec has in its arsenal, from volume discounts and account management to a dedicated team of support professionals who can create custom test categories for your business needs.

*Note: All prices apply per API.

Why we recommend this tool: APIsec's innovative approach to securing APIs and uncovering business logic flaws makes them the best pen testing tool for protecting you against potential threats.

2. Kali Linux

Kali Linux is a powerful open-source distribution tool geared toward those who want to perform penetration tests and other information security tasks.  

It provides common tools, configurations, and automations, so you can focus on your task without getting distracted by other aspects of security research or software development practices.

The Kali toolkit includes everything you'll need for testing and auditing, including several hundred tools for various information technologies like penetration testing, computer forensics (including reverse engineering), and vulnerability management.

Since Kali is tailored to security professionals, you'll need a decent understanding of the Linux operating system and other advanced security protocols to get the most out of it.

Top Features

  • Hundreds of Pen Tests: Kali includes over 600 penetration testing tools, which can be used for discovering vulnerabilities in an organization's system or network structure.
  • Built-In Integrations: Kali easily integrates with other penetration testing tools like Wireshark and Metasploit, making this the solid choice for anyone who needs to take their security game up a notch.
  • Wireless Device Support: Kali Linux is versatile and compatible with a wide range of wireless devices, allowing it to run properly on a wide variety of hardware. 

Pricing

The developers of this distribution are committed to providing an open-source, free operating system for anyone. They will never charge you a penny!

Why we recommend this tool: Kali Linux is made with pen testing professionals in mind, and if you're comfortable using Linux and command line, then this software will provide all of your needs.

3. Burp Suite

Burp Suite is one of the most popular tools out there. It's a comprehensive platform that covers all aspects of pen testing, from reconnaissance to exploitation. 

BurpSuite aims to be a versatile tool that can be customized to meet your needs. It's possible for you to download add-ons called "BApps," which will provide additional functionality and enhance the capabilities you already have.

Burp Suite is one of the best "man in the middle" tools for website penetration testing/exploit development, giving you complete control to see what's going on.

Like any other complex system, many pieces in Burp Suite need detailed knowledge for you to get the most out of them. 

Top Features

  • Intercepting Proxy: This feature allows you to intercept and modify traffic passing between your browser and the target website.
  • Intruder: The intruder tool is a brute-force attack tool that can be used to guess passwords, cookies, and other types of information. 
  • Spider: The spider tool crawls the target application, following links and submitting forms to build up a map of the application's functionality.

Pricing

Burp Suite is available in both a free and paid version. The free version is fully functional, but it does have some limitations. The paid versions include: 

  • Burp Suite Professional: This package costs $449 per user per year, but you can add more people to your account at any time. The price is calculated based on how many remaining days there are in their current subscriptions. 
  • Burp Suite Enterprise: This edition comes at a price of $8,395 per year, which includes one concurrent scan. You can add another for an additional $599.

Why we recommend this tool: Burp Suite is a comprehensive penetration testing platform that can be customized to meet your specific requirements and covers a wide range of testing requirements.

4. ZAP

Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP) is a dynamic application security testing tool for finding vulnerabilities in web applications, and like all OWASP projects, it's completely free and open source.

The OWASP ZAP is an excellent tool to use in place of Burp Suite. The ZAP security scanner can find potential vulnerabilities in your web application even before it's deployed. This is made easy by the automated nature of this tool.

It can be easily deployed at scale because it is open-source, so it makes an ideal beginner's tool for assessing web traffic security.

Zap is a great tool for beginners, but it falls short when you want more details and higher coverage of your scan.

Top Features

  • AJAX Spidering: The advanced testing tool for discovering requests on AJAX-rich web apps that cannot be found with traditional tools, and you customize your crawl configurations.
  • Automated Scripting: With ZAP's extensibility and scriptability features, you can automate many of your application security testing needs with scripts written in almost any programming language.
  • Intercepting Proxy: With the help of this amazing feature, you can analyze how your web application server responds when it receives certain types of messages.

Pricing

As an open-source tool, ZAP is free. 

Why we recommend this tool: It's easy enough for anyone, even if you're just starting out with pen testing or have some experience under your belt—it will suit all levels of expertise.

5. Astra Pentest

The Astra Pentest is a premier API pen test tool that can conduct more than 3000 tests to find vulnerabilities within APIs.

The platform is designed to be simple and straightforward, making it ideal for beginners. It also offers a wide range of features, making it a versatile tool for more experienced users.

Astra's security engine is powered by creative hacker knowledge and constantly evolves their techniques to stay one step ahead of today's most sophisticated cybercriminals and hackers.

Even though they provide a solid platform for all your security testing needs, they aren't pen testing professionals.

Top Features

  • Interactive Dashboard: With their all-purpose dashboard, you can manage and monitor vulnerabilities from anywhere in the world.
  • Actionable Reports: The platform creates a detailed and comprehensive report that is easy to read and contains all of the information necessary for taking action on its findings.
  • Easy to Integrate: With Astra's pentest platform, you can integrate your scans with workflow management tools like Slack and Jira to make security testing a part of the software development lifecycle.

Pricing

Astra Pentest offers three plans that users can choose from; however, only their "Pentest" plan ($4,500 per year) comes with a pentest. 

They do offer additional pen testing and enterprise plans, but you'll have to contact them for their pricing.

Why we recommend this tool: The Astra PenTest platform has a simple interface that makes finding vulnerabilities and getting in contact with support easy. 

FAQ

Why Should You Perform Penetration Testing?

Performing penetration testing is important for a number of reasons. For starters, it helps identify vulnerabilities in your system that attackers could exploit. By testing your system's defenses, you can ensure that they are up to par and able to resist attacks.

Penetration testing also improves your organization's security posture. When you identify and address weaknesses in your system, you can reduce the risk of data breaches and other security incidents by making it more difficult for attackers to breach your network.

Additionally, penetration testing provides valuable insights into your organization's security processes and procedures. Conducting tests regularly helps you identify areas where improvements can be made.

All this knowledge is used to refine and improve your organization's security posture.

How is Penetration Testing Automated?

In the past, penetration testing was a manual process that required significant time and resources. However, with the advent of new technologies, penetration testing can now be automated. 

To conduct an automated penetration test, security professionals need to identify the targets for testing, such as websites, web applications, network infrastructure, etc. 

Once the targets have been identified, they will need to configure the automated tools and processes for testing. Then, the automated penetration testing process will begin. 

The tools and processes will work to identify vulnerabilities in the target systems and applications. Security professionals will need to analyze vulnerabilities and determine which pose a risk to the organization once they have been uncovered.

There are a number of different tools that can be used for automated penetration testing (some of them are listed above). 

How Much Does Manual Pen Testing Cost?

The cost of manual pen testing depends on a number of factors, including the size and complexity of the system being tested, the level of expertise of the testers, and the time frame in which the testing needs to be completed. 

Generally speaking, manual pen testing is a major expense for an organization, costing anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. For this reason, many businesses only opt to conduct manual testing once per year.

Final Thoughts

There are a variety of different pen testing tools available on the market. It is important to choose the right tool for the job at hand, as not every tool is suitable for your unique API. While this can seem like a challenge, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • What are the limitations of the tool? Will you have to supplement with another tool or service?
  • What type of support is available?
  • Are you able to use the tool to its full potential?

With these things in mind, you should be able to choose the right pen testing tool for your needs.

If you still have questions, reach out to our team and get a free vulnerability assessment.

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