Detect and Prevent Security Risks in Your Web Applications: Guide


September 2022

In this article, we will explain what web application vulnerability scanning is, how a web application vulnerability scanner works, and the most common vulnerabilities detected by these scanners. We will also introduce some of the top web application vulnerability scanners on the market and provide tips on how to choose the right one for your business.

Understanding Web Application Vulnerability Scanning

Vulnerability scanning for web applications searches for any potential sections where malicious attackers could exploit security weaknesses. This can be done manually or with the help of automated tools, which are known as web application vulnerability scanners.


A web application vulnerability scanner works by crawling through the code of a web application and looking for common vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities can then be exploited by hackers to gain access to sensitive data or take control of the system.

Understanding What a Web Application Vulnerability Scanner Is

Vulnerability scanners are programs that analyze websites for any security flaws automatically. Scanners that are more advanced can explore an application more by utilizing other sophisticated methods.


For example, Astra's Pentest which is a product by Astra Security application security testing uses the latest techniques to test applications. This means that it can uncover vulnerabilities other scanners would not be able to such as asynchronous SQL injection and blind SSRF.

Web Application Vulnerability Scanner: How Does It Work?

Web vulnerability scanners streamline various functions to make your life easier, including but not limited to application spidering and crawling, uncovering default or common content, and testing for typical vulnerabilities.


Vulnerability scanning can either be done passively or actively. Passive scans only do non-intrusive checks, so they don't physically touch or interact with anything to see if it's vulnerable. It'd be like if you were investigating a door, but instead of trying to open it yourself, you just looked at it from the outside to see if it was locked or not. If the door is closed, that means there's nothing else you can do with that lead.


In a nutshell, the term "active scan" refers to a simulated attack on your site order by an outsider. If you think about it as a door, the fact that it might be locked would not prevent you from proceeding. Your research will tell you to test the door, perhaps picking the lock or breaking through it.


In some cases, such as with a program that runs in the background to capture information from unprotected computers (network scanning), Authentication is sometimes required. Some scanning devices may acquire these permissions on their own, while others will need them supplied ahead of time.

Common Vulnerabilities Detected by a Web Application Vulnerability Scanner

Scanners that scan for a wide range of issues can be highly reliable in detecting several kinds of frequent vulnerabilities. Scanners can detect a larger number of problems since their logic is more up-to-date. Keeping your digital presence updated is key to maintaining a strong cybersecurity posture - as soon as a flaw is made public, hackers can exploit it.


Some of the vulnerabilities that are commonly detected by scanners include:

Reflected cross-site scripting (XSS)

Automated scanners, for example, scan test strings that include HTML markup and look for these items in the replies, indicating basic XSS flaws.

Straightforward directory listings

Vulnerabilities of this type can be identified when the attacker requests a directory path from the server. If the response contains text that looks like a listing of files and directories, then it is likely that this vulnerability exists.

Directory traversal

By submitting a traversal sequence to a test server and analyzing the responses, you may be able to detect path vulnerabilities.

SQL injection

By interfering with an app's database queries, an attacker can exploit the app. detectable signs of this include basic payloads that cause error messages.

Open redirection

A scanner is able to discover these vulnerabilities by bombarding the system with different versions of payloads. These are designed to test whether a parameter can redirect an individual to an external domain that they don't control.


A single methodology is often used for automated application security testing, which explains the numerous false positives some scanners produce.

Top Web Application Vulnerability Scanners on the Market

Astra's Pentest

As the name suggests, Astra's Pentest is more of a pentesting product than just a vulnerability scanner. However, it does come with a robust automated vulnerability scanner that you can purchase as a standalone product.


The DAST vulnerability scanner that comes with Astra's Pentest is a fantastic tool for scanning any online application. Plus, they update the scanner rules every week to help you keep up with constantly evolving vulnerabilities.


Key Features:

  • Astra's Pentest can scan regular applications as well as single-page ones.
  • It works in collaboration with the CI/CD pipeline and other platforms, such as Slack and Jira.
  • It scans pages that require a log-in by recording the process of logging in.
  • Astra's vulnerability management dashboard allows you to do compliance-specific scans so you can ensure your company's safety.
  • The free vulnerability scan comes with video walkthroughs to help your developers work more quickly on the fixes, as well as a prioritized list of security concerns.
  • You can be sure that if you choose a manual penetration, there will be no false positives.


Astra's Pentest is an uncomplicated, easy-to-use security testing tool that includes 3000+ tests to confirm no vulnerability goes unnoticed. There is a team of qualified security experts that can assist you, even if you need assistance.


Veracode is a prominent vendor in the field of application security testing, with three distinct sorts of security testing: SAST, DAST, and Software composition analysis. This tool is built to help manage the fast pace of development associated with DevOps. It can scan hundreds of apps and APIs at once, which helps you save time and identify potential issues early on. It's an ideal solution for corporations with huge IT budgets.


Key Features:

  • With Veracode, you'll have a less than 5% false-positive rate.
  • You can find security flaws in a live application.
  • The scan settings can be customised to meet your needs.
  • With this interface, you can keep track of how previous scans are doing while other scans are in progress.


The Intruder web application scanner helps you assess security risks quickly and easily. With this tool, you can check for a variety of vulnerabilities including misconfigurations, outdated patches, SQLi, XSS and CVEs noted in the OWASP top 10. Intruder is a powerful vulnerability and exploits testing tool for your IT environment.


Key Features:

  • Take a bird's-eye view of your application security concerns.
  • Fewer entry points make it harder for hackers.
  • The report aids in the completion of compliance questionnaires.
  • By finding and fixing vulnerabilities quickly, you can prevent attackers from exploiting them.


Web application vulnerability scanners are an important tool for keeping your web applications secure. By submitting payloads to test for vulnerabilities, you can ensure that your web applications are safe from attack. There are several web application vulnerability scanners on the market, so be sure to pick one that works for you.

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Fahad Ali, Author

Fahad is PM at ARFASOFTECH but has a knack for writing. He enjoys writing about the latest technologies and evolving trends. Most of his writings revolve around trending technologies and their integration into operations.

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