Web Application Security Testing with Burp Suite

by:

Technology

If you are a web developer and want to use Burp Suite to make sure your application is secure, then this blog post is for you! This article will go over the basics of Burp Suite and how it can be used as an effective tool in finding vulnerabilities within a web application. We’ll also go on to compare Burp Suite with OWASP ZAP.

What is Burp Suite?

Most businesses and organizations employ web applications. However, the problem with web applications is that they’re often very vulnerable to hackers because of how easy it can be for a hacker to exploit vulnerabilities in them. If you want one tool which you can use as an offensive or defensive security testing mechanism when it comes to web applications, then Burp Suite is the tool you should be using.

Burp Suite is a tool for web application security testing that was created by PortSwigger Ltd. It consists of various modules which can be used for different tasks, such as scanning for vulnerabilities in web applications, performing manual tests on them, and also creating custom extensions for it.

Burp Suite is quite popular because of how easy it is to use with its user-friendly interface. It’s used by many developers and organisations for web application security testing.

How Effective is Burp Suite in Finding Vulnerabilities in a Web Application?

Burp Suite is a very effective tool in finding vulnerabilities within a web application. It includes various modules which can be used for different tasks, such as scanning for vulnerabilities, performing manual tests on web applications, and creating custom extensions.

The effectiveness of this software is supported by its internal mechanisms, which work together to eliminate false positives and guarantee that the information shared is correct. This tool allows you to combine both manual and automated pen testing approaches, providing deep penetration and analysis.

Pros:

  • Very effective in finding vulnerabilities.
  • Includes various modules which can be used for different tasks.
  • Eliminates false positives.
  • Can be used for both manual and automated techniques.

Cons:

  • Could improve report generation.
  • More features in the free/community version.

What can Burp Suite do?

There are many things you can use Burp Suite for when it comes to web application security testing:

Spider Tool – Crawls site and finds pages along with their URL keys.

Repeater Tool – Allows the user to modify requests before sending them to the web application to test if their hypothesis is correct or not regarding the vulnerability.

Proxy Tool – Intercepts and can modify all the traffic between the browser and web application.

Intruder Tool – Performs automated attacks in order to find vulnerabilities.

Scanner Tool – Scans for known vulnerabilities within a web application.

Comparer Tool – Compare responses from two different requests, such as when testing for a Cross-Site Scripting vulnerability.

Extension Builder – Allows you to create custom extensions for Burp Suite in order to extend its functionality.

Paramalyzer – Analyzes, and reports on all parameters within a site. Allows you to assess the impact of various parameters that are present within a web application.

Burp Collaborator – A tool that allows you to share vulnerabilities with other people so that you can collaborate and work together.

How to use Burp Suite for Web Application Security Testing?

Now that we know a bit more about what Burp Suite is and what it can do, let’s take a look at how you can use it for web application security testing.

  • Get all the URLs – Use Burp Suite’s spider tool to produce a list of all the URLs found on that specific site so you know what targets exist within your scope.
  • Configure the Proxy – In order to use Burp Suite, you need to configure your browser with a proxy for it to work.
  • Create Lists – You can create lists of keywords or elements that appear within web applications that you want Burp Suite to look out for while performing scans and attacks on them.
  • Perform an Attack – You can perform various types of attacks on a web application by using the Intruder tool, such as a brute force attack or parameter injection.
  • Scan for Vulnerabilities – Once you have identified the targets, start by scanning them for known vulnerabilities using Burp Suite’s scanner tool. This will help you to get an idea of which vulnerabilities may exist on that specific page.
  • Reproduce the Vulnerability – If you find any vulnerabilities during your scan, try to reproduce them in a safe environment so you can understand how they work and what the impact of the vulnerability is.
  • Automate the Attack – Next, use Burp Suite’s Intruder tool to perform automated attacks on those pages in order to find any additional vulnerabilities that may exist.
  • Repeat – Use Burp Suite’s Repeater tool to test your hypothesis regarding a certain vulnerability by modifying requests before sending them to the web application.
  • Compare Responses – Use the Comparer Tool to compare responses from two different requests, such as when testing for a Cross-Site Scripting vulnerability.

Generate Reports – Burp Suite includes a report generator that allows you to generate reports on the findings of your scans and attacks.

Burp Suite Vs OWASP ZAP

There are many different tools for testing web application security, but two of the most popular ones are Burp Suite and OWASP ZAP.

While both Burp Suite and OWASP ZAP are used for web application security testing, they are two very different tools that serve different purposes.

To find out which tool is better, let’s take a look at various factors such as pricing, features offered by the tools, as well as some of the downsides associated with each one.

Burp Suite – Burp Suite is designed to perform manual penetration tests and can be integrated with other software (such as Metasploit). It includes various tools that can be used to perform different tasks, such as scanning web applications, finding vulnerabilities, and exploiting them to produce interesting findings which you need to manually report.

Pricing: Burp Suite’s Community version is free but the features offered by it are limited. The Enterprise version starts at $6,995 per year.

Pros: The main advantage of using Burp Suite is its powerful features.

Cons: Its biggest downside is the price tag associated with it.

OWASP ZAP – On the other hand, Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP) is a free, open-source OWASP penetration testing tool maintained by the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP). It doesn’t offer as many features as Burp Suite but serves as a great tool for beginners who want to get started with web application security testing. 

Pricing: OWASP ZAP comes free since it is open-source.

Pros: Free and open-source. Quick and easy to install.

Cons: The main downside of OWASP ZAP is that it offers fewer features and can be a bit difficult to use for people who are not familiar with the tools offered by it.

So, if you are looking for a powerful application that offers premium features, Burp Suite is your best option. However, if you are only interested in learning more about web application security and don’t want to invest too much money in the tools that you will be using for this purpose, OWASP ZAP is your best option.

With that being said both tools are very effective in finding vulnerabilities within a web application.

Conclusion

Burp Suite is a very powerful tool that you can use to test web application security. It allows you to perform both manual and automated tasks, includes various modules which are used for different purposes, eliminates false positives, while also allowing in-depth penetration analysis. Although it’s mostly used by professionals, everyone who wishes to learn more about web application security, the various vulnerabilities that can exist in them as well as how to exploit them, should get their hands on Burp Suite and start using it.

Tech Guest Post Category accepted at FMT website. Email at fastmoldtech@gmail.com.