/**** JS For Blog TOC ****/

Wednesday, 15 February 2023

This online pentest tool helps you fortify your SaaS & APIs on autopilot

Conducting an online pentest will help you minimize the risk posed by cybercriminals who exploit vulnerabilities to gain control over your web apps and APIs.

It's a good thing that you're looking into online pentesting tools because more than half of your peers are already conducting these assessments in-house:

Best online pentest tools for web applications & APIs

Online/web pentest tools are also commonly referred to as automated penetration testing tools or web app vulnerability scanning tools and they simulate automated attacks on your web app and APIs, without requiring you to install any software on your network or workstations! 

I'm going to reveal to you a specific automated penetration testing tool that not only helps you discover vulnerabilities, but it's one that is actually built to be used by your software development team without the need for help from external security teams. 

This online pentesting tool actually helps your devs become more than they are.

Table Of Contents

    What Is Online Pentesting & How Does It Help SaaS Companies?

    Online penetration testing is an automated hacker-style attack aimed at identifying the existing vulnerabilities in a SaaS system and gauging your web application's security controls. 

    Online pentesting tools perform what is commonly referred to as a vulnerability assessment on your web application and APIs. 

    Top SaaS companies that employ online pentesting platforms are able to not only fix their security flaws, but also prove to their customers, partners and investors that they are a trustworthy business.

    Online pentest tool for web applications and APIs

    Naturally, this increased trust helps to close more deals, faster, because security is a key factor in an enterprise software buyers' purchasing decision. 

    Can I Pentest My Own Web Application and APIs?

    Yes, you can pentest your web application and APIs, by running online or automated penetration testing tools such as Cyber Chief.

    In the past, you had to hire experienced security professionals to manually pentest your web application and APIs. Thanks to the technological advancements made by web pentest tools like Cyber Chief, you can conduct many of these security tests as part of your software development workflow, without relying on expensive security consultants at every turn.

    Do you want to see an online pentest tool that helps you achieve 7-star application security?

    How Do You Automate Penetration Testing?

    Pen testing should become a priority on your list of best security practices. It is no longer an optional element of your software development workflow.

    It is simple! You only need an online penetration tool. And in this case, we will take Cyber Chief as an example to help us understand this concept.

    With Cyber Chief online penetration testing tool, you don’t need any cybersecurity experience to find and fix vulnerabilities in your SaaS applications, including APIs.

    It integrates into your software deployment pipelines to automatically scan all your environments (eg. production, testing, staging, etc).

    That way, your SaaS application will have near-zero vulnerabilities every time you ship a new version. Besides, Cyber Chief is a vulnerability scanning tool eases your team's work and increases productivity while identifying and sealing all security loopholes with every line of code typed.

    What Type of Security Testing Do Automated Penetration Testing Tools Perform?

    Online or automated penetration testing tools mainly perform gray box and black box tests. But what do these two terms mean? 

    From the name, black box testing involves a testing process where the functions of the software or application are unknown. It entails checking your software without being provided any authentication credentials.

    On the other hand, gray box testing involves auditing your application for vulnerabilities both as an unauthenticated user and an authenticated user.

    Online pentest tools for web apps & APIs

    Ideally you should be running gray box or authenticated security tests on your web apps and APIs. Why? Because attackers are succesfully stealing login credentials from your users. So you need to make sure that when an attacker hacks your application, they do as little damage as possible.

    However, the best-practice security structure also requires white-box testing to identify vulnerable lines of code in your codebase. You need a static vulnerability scanner for this if you want to do this testing on a regular basis as part of your code commits. 

    It can also be performed as part of an in-depth manual penetration testing as a service process.

    Can All Online Penetration Testing Tools Be Used by Anyone?

    It is tempting to say yes, but unfortunately, the answer is not. Most automated penetration testing tools were designed for cybersecurity experts or ethical hackers. That is why it introduces complexity in the application development process if you instruct your software engineers to use it.

    Unfortunately, most software engineers do not use online pretesting tools because it slows down their application development process. These older "brand-name" tools require experience to set up and use. Additionally, it may take edges to patch vulnerabilities identified by an automated penetration tool. 

    Understandably, software engineers do not use penetration testing tools because they want to meet their deadlines. They don’t want to get stuck figuring out how to patch vulnerabilities they were not trained to handle. 

    Want to try a frictionless online pentest tool that can help your devs find & fix vulnerabilities?

    Does that mean you should not introduce an automated penetration testing tool? No. Because new automated penetration testing tools, like Cyber Chief, solve this very problem and help software development teams shift left with security.

    For example, Cyber Chief is an online penetration testing tool that has been built especially for software developers to use within their software development workflows.

    In fact, it is os frictionless and user-friendly that instead of slowing down your application development process, Cyber Chief seamlessly integrates into your code deployment pipelines. 

    This helps your developers find and fix vulnerabilities without having to rely on security professionals. Your developers literally become more than they are and feel empowered to ship your app with zero known vulnerabilities in the process.

    Can An Online Penetration Testing Tool Replace Manual Pentesting Services?

    Penetration testing robots integrate with your data to provide massive productivity increases.

    But contrary to wishful thinking popular belief, and despite the increased application of ML and AI technologies, an online pentesting tool can only achieve about 55-60% of the results of a manual ethical hacker performing penetration testing on your applications.

    These online penetsting tools cannot be deployed for every testing scenario. For example, you can use some of them on social engineering, wireless network scanning, and web apps. 

    Additionally, automated web vulnerability scanners cannot always identify attack surfaces, specific rogue software, and versions that might be running on SaaS systems. They also lack a deep knowledge of security issues, cannot think like an attacker, and may not give as detailed a report as one that you might get from a manual pen testing company.

    In other words, robots cannot still replace humans. To security-proof your system, you need a manual pentesting service offered by a cybersecurity expert or security teams.

    Want my team to show you how too can have 7-star application security?

    Can Automated Penetration Testing Tools Also Perform Vulnerability Assessments?

    Yes, essentially the output of an automated penetration testing tool is referred to as a vulnerability assessment.

    However, most vulnerability assessment tools are designed to only tell you what is wrong with your software and APIs, not how to fix those vulnerabilities.

    They are built for cyber security experts, and you will rely on those experts to help you understand what needs to be fixed. And most importantly, what the best practices fixes are.

    Naturally, there is a lot of friction in this process.

    As a software development leader, you need a tool that helps your developers find and fix vulnerabilities. And that should be done without always having to rely on expensive external security consultants.

    Fortunately, tools such as Cyber Chief exist to help you solve this problem. It is an automated penetration testing tool. It provides detailed vulnerability fixes, including code snippets, to help your software development team.

    As a result, using Cyber Chief helps you to save both money and many hours of developer productivity over time.


    I mentioned patching a security vulnerability is time-consuming and may take your software engineers many hours or days to find the right fix on Google.

    Well, that’s not the case if your team uses Cyber Chief.  

    Cyber Chief saves many person-weeks of developer productivity over time and also ensures that best-practice fixes are applied to the application because it provides details vulnerability fixes, including code snippets, where possible.

    Want a vulnerability assessment report with best practice vulnerability fixes?

    Can A Network Vulnerability Scanner Also Find Vulnerabilities in Web Apps and APIs?

    In short, no.

    Many network scanners also talk about scanning web apps but simply cannot perform crucial penetration tests behind an application's login, which will leave your application vulnerable to attacks.

    Network scanners ensure your broader corporate network is secure and network and endpoint security.

    However, the best web app vulnerability testing tools specialize in helping you find and fix security vulnerabilities in your software. They do this by performing vulnerability scans behind your app's login and ensuring your APIs are free of security holes.

    What is the difference between network security scanners and vulnerability scanning tools for web apps and APIs?

    I use the analogy of MRI and X-ray to comprehend this difference: both techniques reveal the internal body structure but show different results.

    An X-ray mainly identifies bone fractures, dislocations, misalignment, or narrowed joint spaces. On the other hand, an MRI gives more detailed body structures, including soft tissues, nerves, and blood vessels.

    Just as you cannot substitute an X-Ray with an MRI, you shouldn't rely on endpoint or network vulnerability scanners to help you find OWASP Top 10 vulnerabilities in your web applications and APIs.

    What Security Vulnerabilities Does an Automated Penetration Test Tool Find?

    Cyber Chief is an automated penetration test tool that can find thousands of vulnerabilities in your web applications, APIs, and cloud network through its various vulnerability scans.

    However, as a software development leader, you're most interested in protecting your application from vulnerabilities in the OWASP Top 10 list. A more detailed list of vulnerabilities is offered by the SANS CWE 25 and includes the vulnerabilities like these:

    CWE-787: Out-of-bounds Write

    This vulnerability allows the software to write data past the end or before the beginning of the intended buffer. This can lead to undefined or unexpected results, typically causing data corruption or crashes.

    CWE-79: Improper Neutralization of Input During Web Page Generation ('Cross-site Scripting')

    This vulnerability occurs when the application does not neutralize a user-control input properly before being replaced in the output. This can lead to many problems, including untrusted or incorrect data types in the database.

    CWE-89: Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in an SQL Command ('SQL Injection')

    Best web pentest tools

    As the name implies, the software constructs all or part of an SQL query using externally-influenced data input from an upstream component, causing sql injection vulnerabilities. It also does this without neutralizing or incorrectly neutralizing that input. 

    CWE-20: Improper Input Validation

    This vulnerability happens when the application fails to validate or incorrectly validate input data. Find more details at mitre.org.

    CWE-125: Out-of-bounds Read

    As the name implies, this vulnerability occurs when the application reads data past the end or before the beginning of the intended buffer. It allows hackers to access sensitive information and may also cause crashes. 

    CWE-78: Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in an Operating Systems Command ('OS Command Injection')

    The application constructs all or part of an operating system command using externally-influenced input from an upstream component without or incorrectly neutralizing elements that may modify it. 

    CWE-416: Use After Free

    This vulnerability is created when a program references a memory when it is already freed. It can cause a crash, unexpected values, or execute code.

    CWE-22: Improper Limitation of a Pathname to a Restricted Directory ('Path Traversal')

    A program can use an external pathname intended for a file or folder underneath a restricted directory without improperly neutralizing it.

    CWE-352: Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF)

    This is defined by the application’s failure to sufficiently verify whether a well-formed, valid, or consistent request was intentionally provided by the correct user who submitted it.

    Do you want an automated security testing tool that finds these vulnerabilities in your application & APIs?

    CWE-434: Unrestricted Upload of File with Dangerous Type

    The vulnerability allows a hacker to upload or transfer executable files that can run within the program’s environment.

    CWE-476: NULL Pointer Dereference

    This happens when an application dereferences a pointer expected to be valid but null, causing a crash or unexpected exit.

    CWE-502: Deserialization of Untrusted Data

    The application deserializes untrusted data without ensuring the validity of the expected outcome.

    CWE-190: Integer Overflow or Wraparound

    The software performs calculations that yield an integer flow when the resulting value is assumed to be larger. This can cause other weaknesses or introduce errors within the program. 

    CWE-287: Improper Authentication

    The program fails to correctly or sufficiently verify users.

    CWE-798: Use of Hard-coded Credentials

    The application contains hard-coded credentials for inbound or outbound communication to external components. 

    CWE-862: Missing Authorization

    The failure of an application to authorize users when they attempt to access resources or perform an action.

    CWE-77: Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in a Command ('Command Injection')

    This vulnerability occurs when the program constructs all or part of a command using externally-influenced input without neutralizing the elements.

    CWE-306: Missing Authentication for Critical Function

    The application fails to authenticate for functionality that requires a provable user identity. It may also use significant amounts of resources when it should not.

    CWE-119: Improper Restriction of Operations within the Bounds of a Memory Buffer

    The program writes or reads data from a memory buffer when it can do the same to a memory location outside the intended boundary of the buffer.

    CWE-276: Incorrect Default Permissions

    This happens when the program allows anyone to modify installation files. It usually occurs during software installation.

    CWE-918: Server-Side Request Forgery (SSRF)

    The web server fails to verify that the received URL or similar request goes to the appropriate destination.

    CWE-362: Concurrent Execution using Shared Resources with Improper Synchronization ('Race Condition')

    This is a security concern when the synchronization is in security-critical code, including recording whether or not a user is authenticated or modifying important state information that an outsider should not change.

    CWE-400: Uncontrolled Resource Consumption

    This happens when the software fails to control resource allocation, maintenance, and consumption. This allows an outsider to influence resource usage, which can eventually exhaust them.

    CWE-611: Improper Restriction of XML External Entity Reference

    This vulnerability causes the application to process an XML document with XML entities with URIs that resolve to documents outside of the intended sphere of control. 

    CWE-94: Improper Control of Generation of Code ('Code Injection')

    The application uses external input to construct all or part of the code segment without properly neutralizing it.

    What Are the Key Differences Between Free Web Application Security Tools and Paid Pentesting Tools?

    Free web application security tools may seem the best option because of the cost. However, they often require a lot of customization to meet your requirements.

    And only people with cybersecurity experience and credentials can undertake this customization. Without this experience, using them is practically impossible. That's why the initial cost advantage of open source tools usually disappears very quickly.

    Differences Between Free Web Application Security Tools
      and Paid Online Pentesting Tools
    Source: QT Group

    On the other hand, a commercial penetration testing tools like Cyber Chief is designed to be used by software developers. It is straightforward to deploy and use, even if your developers have zero cybersecurity skills or accreditations. And it still allows you to implement critical web app security controls.

    Before you choose the right automated penetration test tool for your team read our guide to the best web app pentesting tools and consider the following factors to make the best decision:

    • You ideally need both a dynamic and static scanner to identify vulnerable code and attack your during web applications during runtime.

    • If you want to shift left with security then your tool must provides fixes with code snippets where possible.

    • Your tool should have posture of your application and APIs.

    • An vulnerability management system that can detect vulnerabilities and automatically manage them to help developers assign accountability, collaborate and prioritize the bugs that need to be fixed first.

    • Choose an easy-to-use vulnerability scanner that runs vulnerability scans right from your DevOps code deployment pipelines.

    • Would you better off with a cloud-based, "agentless" application vulnerability scanner to eliminate installation and licensing headaches.

    How Can I Improve My Application Security Posture?

    Ideally, your web apps/SaaS applications and APIs should have continuous security checks throughout the development cycle to identify all vulnerabilities.

    But how can you do that?

    Want my team to show you how too can have 7-star application security?

    A minimum best-practice AppSec structure for SaaS companies can improve the security posture by doing ALL of the following activities regularly:

    • Static vulnerability scanning

    • Dynamic vulnerability testing

    • Manual penetration testing

    • Cloud console penetration tests

    Learn more about how you can put the right application security structure in place to help you build a culture of security within your software development team.

    Can I Get a Online Pentest Tool Free Trial?

    The answer is yes. Like most software, you can sign up for a Cyber Chief trial account. This allows you to test its features and functionality before you pay for it. 

    You only proceed to the next phase if you are satisfied with the results, which I'm sure you will be.

    Start your Cyber Chief 14-day free trial today.

    SaaS Brief