The e-commerce landscape has been dramatically boosted in recent times by advances in Internet technologies enabling many more people to connect to the Internet and do more transactions.
Today, a lot more businesses rely on their websites for a major source of generating revenue. Hence, the security of such web platforms needs to be prioritized. In this article, we will take a look at a list of some of the best cloud-based VAPT (Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing) tools available today, and how they can be leveraged by a startup, small and medium businesses.
First, a web-based or e-commerce business owner needs to understand the differences and similarities between Vulnerability Assessment (VA) and Penetration Testing (PT) to inform your decision when making choices on what is best for your business. Although both VA and PT provide complementary services, there are but subtle differences in what they aim to achieve.
Difference between VA and VT
When performing a Vulnerability Assessment (VA), the tester aims to ensure that all open vulnerabilities in the application, website, or network are defined, identified, classified, and prioritized. A Vulnerability Assessment is said to be a list-oriented exercise. This can be achieved by the use of scanning tools, which we take a look at later in this article. It is essential to perform such an exercise because it gives businesses a critical insight into where the loopholes are and what they need to fix. This exercise is also what provides the necessary information for businesses when configuring firewalls, such as WAFs (Web Application Firewalls).
On the other hand, a Penetration Testing (PT) exercise is more direct and is said to be goal-oriented. The aim here is to not only probe the application’s defenses but also to exploit vulnerabilities that have been discovered. The purpose of this is to simulate real-life cyber-attacks on the application or website. Some of this could be done using automated tooling; some will be enumerated in the article and could also be done manually. This is especially important for businesses to be able to understand the level of risk a vulnerability poses and best to secure such vulnerability from possible malicious exploitation.
Therefore, we could justify that; a Vulnerability Assessment provides input into conducting Penetration Testing. Hence, the need to have full feature tools that can help you achieve both.
Let’s explore the options…
Astra is a full feature cloud-based VAPT tool with a special focus for e-commerce; it supports WordPress, Joomla, OpenCart, Drupal, Magento, PrestaShop, and others. It comes with a suite of applications, malware, and network tests to assess your web application’s security.
It comes with an intuitive dashboard that shows a graphical analysis of threats blocked on your website, given a particular timeline.
Some features include.
Application Static and dynamic code analysis
With static code and dynamic analysis, which checks an application’s code before and during run-time to ensure that threats are caught in real-time, which can be immediately fixed.
It also does an automated application scan for known malware and removes them. Likewise, file difference checks to authenticate the integrity of your files, which may have been maliciously modified by an internal program or external attacker. Under the malware scan section, you could get useful information on possible malware on your website.
Astra also does automatic threat-detection and logging, which give you an insight into what parts of the application are most vulnerable to attacks which parts are most exploited based on previous attack attempts.
Payment gateway and Infrastructure testing
It runs payment gateway pen-testing for applications with payment integrations—likewise, Infrastructure tests to ensure the security of the application’s holding infrastructure.
Astra comes with a network penetration test of routers, switches, printers, and other network nodes that could expose your business to internal security risks.
On standards, Astra’s testing is based on major security standards, including OWASP, PCI, SANS, CERT, ISO27001.
Invicti is an enterprise-ready medium-to-large business solution that has a number of features. It boasts of a robust scanning feature which is trademarked as Proof-Based-Scanning™ technology with full automation and integration.
Invicti has a large number of integrations with existing tools. It is easily integrated into issue tracking tools like Jira, Clubhouse, Bugzilla, AzureDevops, etc. It also has integrations with project management systems like Trello. Likewise, with CI (Continuous Integration) systems like Jenkins, Gitlab CI/CD, Circle CI, Azure, etc. This gives Invicti the ability to be integrated into your SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle); hence your build pipelines can now include a vulnerabilities check before you roll out features on your business application.
An intelligence dashboard gives you insight into what security bugs exist in your application, their severity levels, and which ones have been fixed. It also provides you with vulnerabilities information from scanning results and possible security loopholes.
Tenable.io is an enterprise-ready web application scanning tool that gives you important insights into the security outlook of all your web applications.
It is easy to set up and start running. This tool doesn’t focus on just a single application you have running, but all the web apps you have deployed.
It also bases its vulnerability scanning on widely popular OWASP Top Ten Vulnerabilities. This makes it easy for any security generalist to initiate a web app scan and understand results. You can schedule an automated scan to avoid a repetitive task of manually re-scanning applications.
Pentest-tools scanner gives you full scanning information on vulnerabilities to check for on a website.
It covers Web-fingerprinting, SQL Injection, Cross-site Scripting, Remote command execution, Local / Remote file inclusion, etc. Free scanning is also available but with limited features.
Reporting shows details of your website and the different vulnerabilities (if any) and their severity levels. Here is a screenshot of the free ‘Light’ Scan report.
In the PRO account, you can select the mode of scan you want to perform.
The dashboard is quite intuitive and gives a wholesome insight into all scans conducted and the varying severity levels.
Threat scanning can also be scheduled. Likewise, the tool has a reporting feature that allows a tester to generate vulnerability reports from the scans conducted.
This provides Google Cloud users the ability to set up security monitoring for their existing projects without extra tooling.
SCC contains a variety of native security sources. Including
Cloud Anomaly Detection – Useful for detecting malformed data packets generated from DDoS attacks.
Cloud Security Scanner – Useful for detecting vulnerabilities such as Cross-site Scripting (XSS), use of clear-text passwords, and out-of-date libraries in your app.
Cloud DLP Data Discovery – This shows a list of storage buckets that contain sensitive and/or regulated data
Forseti Cloud SCC Connector – This allows you to develop your own custom scanners and detector
It also includes partner solutions such as CloudGuard, Chef Automate, Qualys Cloud Security, Reblaze. All of which can be integrated into Cloud SCC.
Website security is challenging, but thanks to the tools which makes it easy to figure out what’s vulnerable and mitigate the online risks. If not already, try the above solution today to protect your online business.
Idris is a software engineer, with backgrounds in computer networking.