The digital market has a plethora of tools for one’s testing requirements. Accessing and utilizing these tools has become extremely convenient for organisations for their testing needs. When it comes to the specific niche of API security testing, the tools that rule the market are a one-stop shop for identifying and mitigating vulnerabilities and security risks.
Amongst the many tools, be it open-source or commercial, that appease the security testing requirements, a few have been elaborated upon below to give a more comprehensive understanding of API testing tools. Their features, certain roadblocks that are faced while testing and their overarching benefits that can overcome these hurdles and make them the go-to tools, are focus areas herein-
Postman acts as an interface platform to interact and integrate with APIs. Being a collaborative platform, both developers and testers can utilize Postman for exporting and importing the collection, respectively. Extending its support on various platforms, including Mac, Windows, Chrome and Linux, it is a highly up-to-date tool with its latest version of 7.31.1 released in August 2020.
- Takes into account all variable names and values
- Provides design and mock APIs, monitoring, documentation and test automation
- Provides the independence to organisations in creating testing scripts which can then, be automated for all APIs
However, a common challenge that may arise while using this interface can be in terms of its predefined scripts for security testing. This may be a hurdle if expertise in handling the platform is not hands-on. That being said, there are certain benefits aligned in using this platform as well.
- Effective platform to be deployed for integration
- Highly updated and in lines with the latest in technology
- Supports a universal learning language for developers
- Collaborative platform for teams to manage their operations
An open-source platform, Vooki gives testers two options to test- web applications or standalone REST APIs. For the latter, it provides the option of importing the Postman collection seamlessly without having to set up a different environment. Its latest version of Vooki 4.0 was released in October 2020, making it a fairly updated tool.
- Supports Windows and Mac platforms
- Incorporates two types- Free Web App Vulnerability Scanner and Free REST API Vulnerability Scanner
With its test cases being limited, it can pose as a challenge for a larger test coverage. Also, as it shows only low hanging fruits, i.e., easy to identify bugs, it can give false positives at times and neglect critical bugs. However, the benefits of using this tool are all-inclusive.
- Easily imports Postman’s environment including all variables and parameter values, as well as the collection- thus, no requirement for an additional set up.
- Scans applications and APIs in a wholesome and time-efficient manner.
Developed by Flipkart, ASTRA (Automated Security Testing for REST APIs) is an automated open-source API security testing tool that effectively identifies and fixes vulnerabilities early-on in the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC).
- Seamless integration of APIs within the Continuous Integration/Delivery cycle.
- Primarily for penetration testing for REST APIs.
- Can be used as a standalone tool for testing a number of parameters within an API.
- Requires manual inputs to define the parameters.
As Vooki, ASTRA can sometimes show false positives and mainly focuses on low hanging bugs. Thus, for critical bugs, the APIs need to be tested from a functional standpoint. However, its benefits are highly lucrative, making it the pick of the bunch for API security testing.
- Catches bugs early-on in the development stage.
- Cost-effective and facile integration with APIs.
4. Burp Suite
Burp Suite is a paid tool for REST API testing. It has two editions- Community Edition and Professional Edition. The latter provides seamless automated scanning of APIs. With Burp Suite, Postman can get easily integrated. After a request is sent from Postman, Burp Suite captures it, can alter it if needed and then pushes it forward to the server.
- Extremely scalable for testing APIs.
- With Burp Collaborator, Out-of-Band App Security Testing (OAST) is effectively used- this essentially uncovers the underlying errors that do not get manifested on the website and any kind of breach in the database can be identified easily with the help of such a third party.
- Functional testing can also be performed alongside.
- Seamless integration with Postman
Burp Suite is a highly effective tool and the only obstacle that one might face is in using the Burp Collaborator to its optimal use if one does not possess hands-on experience. Otherwise, the benefits supersede any kind of challenges along the way.
- Test cases are extremely well-defined, thus, tests all types of bugs from low to critical.
- Shows surety of bugs, i.e., confirmed bugs or the bugs that need to be rechecked via functional testing.
- With the help of Out-of-band application security testing (OAST), the highest level of vulnerabilities can be uncovered and mitigated.
As a paid tool, Acunetix is an automated tool that supports REST APIs and has a large number of test scenarios. It can easily be integrated with systems. From Standard, Premium to Acunetix 360, it provides a wide range of modules or editions to select from.
- Supports more than 6500 vulnerabilities that can be identified in a go.
- Integration with tracking systems is extremely potent.
- Highly updated with latest bugs.
The only issue that might be faced is in terms of its configuration and false positives due to the high number of test cases. But these can be overcome with the overarching pros of using such an effective payload tool.
- Provides a wholesome test coverage.
- Support system is extremely optimal.
- Extremely effective as a large number of test cases are taken into account with expedient scanning.
SoapUI is purely used for API testing. It has two editions within: Community Edition (which scans SOAP and REST APIs) and Pro Edition (which tests REST, SOAP, GraphQL, microservices and other back-end services). It can easily import and integrate with APIs.
- For the Pro Edition, tests can be connected to data from Excel, CSV, databases and other data sources
- Automatic updation of requests
- Generates reports in multiple formats
- Tracks improvements, degradations and trends
- Enhanced test coverage with the aligned features of the Pro edition
- Effective testing due to easy extraction of data
- Supports Continuous Integration/Delivery pipeline
7. API Fortress
API Fortress is a highly comprehensive API testing tool for testing as well as monitoring. It can be hosted on cloud, can be integrated with one’s self-hosted cloud or on a hybrid platform. From an array of solutions to support performance, load and functional API testing, it offers varied features as well.
- Seamless testing via CI/CD pipeline
- Continuous API monitoring, mocking and testing
- Performs REST, GraphQL, SOAP, microservices and web services testing
- Easily integrates with other platforms
- Highly collaborative tool for efficient functioning within teams
- Generates and develops a volume of functional tests
As an API testing tool, Swagger includes open source as well as a professional toolset. It has three plans: Open Source, SwaggerHub Free and SwaggerHub Pro. From OpenAPI Specification to SwaggerHub, it encompasses performance, functional and security testing. OpenAPI Specification seamlessly designs, monitors, tests, documents and deploys APIs, thus, supporting a RESTful interface development and consumption of an API.
- Offers consistency in the API design
- Effective collaboration amongst teams
- Expediting API lifecycle via a central repository and effective documentation
- Helps in curating API standardization
- Furthers effective collaboration for team management
- Documentation becomes seamlessly interactive
Thus, as the niche of API security testing progresses, the tools in the market become really important to be thoroughly analysed- weighing their pros and cons, their features that suit your testing requirements, etc. Although the aforementioned tools are not the only go-to tools available in the market, these have been suggested by our security experts at QA InfoTech who have hands-on experience on these tools.