Free for Open Source Application Security Tools
Contributor(s): Sherif Koussa, Dirk Wetter
OWASP’s mission is to help the world improve the security of its software. One of the best ways OWASP can do that is to help Open Source developers improve the software they are producing that everyone else relies on. As such, the following lists of automated vulnerability detection tools that are free for open source projects have been gathered together here to raise awareness of their availability.
We would encourage open source projects to use the following types of tools to improve the security and quality of their code:
- Static Application Security Testing (SAST) Tools
- Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) Tools
- (Primarily for web apps)
- Interactive Application Security Testing (IAST) Tools - (Primarily for web apps and web APIs)
- Keeping Open Source libraries up-to-date (to avoid Using Components with Known Vulnerabilities (OWASP Top 10-2017 A9))
- Static Code Quality Tools
Disclaimer: OWASP does not endorse any of the Vendors or Scanning Tools by listing them below. They are simply listed if we believe they are free for use by open source projects. We have made every effort to provide this information as accurately as possible. If you are the vendor of a free for open source tool and think this information is incomplete or incorrect, please send an e-mail to dave.wichers (at) owasp.org and we will make every effort to correct this information.
Free for Open Source Tools
Tools that are free for open source projects in each of the above categories are listed below.
OWASP already maintains a page of known SAST tools: Source Code Analysis Tools, which includes a list of those that are “Open Source or Free Tools Of This Type”. Any such tools could certainly be used. One such cloud service that looks promising is:
In addition, we are aware of the following commercial SAST tools that are free for Open Source projects:
- Coverity Scan Static Analysis - Can be lashed into Travis-CI so it’s done automatically with online resources. Supports over a dozen programming languages.
- HCL AppScan CodeSweep - This is a SAST community edition version of HCL AppScan. Free for everyone to use. It is delivered as a VS Code plugin and scans files upon saving them. The results show the location of a finding, type and remediation advice. The tool currently supports Python, Ruby, JS (Node, Angular, JQuery, React, etc) , PHP, Perl, Go, TypeScrit & a few more.
If your project has a web application component, we recommend running automated scans against it to look for vulnerabilities. OWASP maintains a page of known DAST Tools, and the License column on this page indicates which of those tools have free capabilities. Our primary recommendation is to use one of these:
- OWASP ZAP - A full
featured free and open source DAST tool that includes both automated
scanning for vulnerabilities and tools to assist expert manual web
app pen testing.
- The ZAP team has also been working hard to make it easier to integrate ZAP into your CI/CD pipeline. (e.g., here’s a blog post on how to integrate ZAP with Jenkins).
- Arachni - Arachni is a commercially supported scanner, but its free for most use cases, including scanning open source projects.
- VWT Digital’s sec-helpers - Collection of dynamic security related helpers. Sec-helpers is a bundle of useful tests and validators to ensure the security of a given domain.
We are not aware of any other commercial grade tools that offer their full featured DAST product free for open source projects.
IAST tools are typically geared to analyze Web Applications and Web APIs, but that is vendor specific. There may be IAST products that can perform good security analysis on non-web applications as well.
We are aware of only one IAST Tool that is free after registration at this time:
- Contrast Community Edition (CE) - Fully featured version for 1 app and up to 5 users (some Enterprise features disabled). Contrast CE supports Java and .NET only.
Open Source Software (OSS) Security Tools
OSS refers to the open source libraries or components that application developers leverage to quickly develop new applications and add features to existing apps. Gartner refers to the analysis of the security of these components as software composition analysis (SCA). So OSS Analysis and SCA are the same thing.
OWASP recommends that all software projects generally try to keep the libraries they use as up-to-date as possible to reduce the likelihood of Using Components with Known Vulnerabilities (OWASP Top 10-2017 A9). There are two recommended approaches for this:
Keeping Your Libraries Updated
Using the latest version of each library is recommended because security issues are frequently fixed ‘silently’ by the component maintainer. By silently, we mean without publishing a CVE for the security fix.
- Maven Versions plugin
- For Maven projects, can be used to generate a report of all dependencies used and when upgrades are available for them. Either a direct report, or part of the overall project documentation using: mvn site.
- A GitHub only service that creates pull requests to keep your dependencies up-to-date. It automatically generates a pull request for each dependency you can upgrade, which you can then ignore, or accept, as you like. It supports tons of languages.
- Recommended for all open source projects maintained on GitHub!
Detecting Known Vulnerable Components
As an alternative, or in addition to, trying to keep all your components up-to-date, a project can specifically monitor whether any of the components they use have known vulnerable components.
Free tools of this type:
- OWASP has its own free open source tools:
- GitHub: Security alerts for vulnerable
Commercial tools of this type that are free for open source:
- Contrast Community Edition (CE) (mentioned earlier) also has both Known Vulnerable Component detection and Available Updates reporting for OSS. CE supports Java and .NET only.
- Snyk - Supports Node.js, Ruby, Java, Python,
Scala, Golang, .NET, PHP - Latest list here:
- A Commercial tool that identifies vulnerable components and integrates with numerous CI/CD pipelines. It is free for open source: https://snyk.io/plans
- If you don’t want to grant Snyk write access to your repo (see
it can auto-create pull requests) you can use the Command Line
Interface (CLI) instead. See: https://snyk.io/docs/using-snyk.
If you do this and want it to be free, you have to configure
Snyk so it know its open source:
- Another benefit of using the Snyk CLI is that it won’t auto create Pull requests for you (which makes these ‘issues’ more public than you might prefer)
- They also provide detailed information and remediation guidance for known vulnerabilities here: https://snyk.io/vuln
- They make their component vulnerability data (for publicly known vulns) free to search: https://www.sourceclear.com/vulnerability-database/search#_ (Very useful when trying to research a particular library)
- WhiteSource - Supports 200+ programming languages.
- Azure version: https://marketplace.visualstudio.com/items?itemName=whitesource.ws-bolt
- GitHub version: https://github.com/apps/whitesource-bolt-for-github
Code Quality tools
Quality has a significant correlation to security. As such, we recommend open source projects also consider using good code quality tools. A few that we are aware of are:
- SpotBugs - Open source code
quality tool for Java
- This is the active fork for FindBugs, so if you use Findbugs, you should switch to this.
- SpotBugs users should add the FindSecBugs plugin (http://find-sec-bugs.github.io/) to their SpotBugs setup, as it significantly improves on the very basic security checking native to SpotBugs.
- This is a commercially supported, very popular, free (and commercial) code quality tool. It includes most if not all the FindSecBugs security rules plus lots more for quality, including a free, internet online CI setup to run it against your open source projects. SonarQube supports numerous languages: https://www.sonarqube.org/features/multi-languages/
- DeepScan is free for open source projects on GitHub.
Security Tools Built into DevOps/CI Environments
- GitLab - is building security into their platform and it is quickly
evolving as described here:
- They are leveraging the best free open source tools they can find and building them into the GitLab CI pipeline to make it easy to enable them. This includes many categories of security tools:
- The specific tools enabled are language specific.
- These security features are free for public open source projects on GitLab.com
Please let us know if you are aware of any other high quality application security tools that are free for open source (or simply add them to this page). We are particularly interested in identifying and listing commercial tools that are free for open source, as they tend to be better and easier to use than open source (free) tools. If you are aware of any missing from this list, please add them, or let us know (dave.wichers (at) owasp.org) and we’ll confirm they are free, and add them for you. Please encourage your favorite commercial tool vendor to make their tool free for open source projects as well!!
Finally, please forward this page to the open source projects you rely on and encourage them to use these free tools!