Explaining the OWASP ZAP Proxy & Burp Suite tool in one video in just one hour

GenTiL
9 min readJun 11, 2024

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(burp vs zap) image from apisec.ai

To watch the video explaining the OWASP ZAP Proxy & Burp Suite tool in just one hour, you can watch it now from this link

Today we will talk about the two most famous penetration testing tools, Burp Suite and Zaproxy. To understand them, we must first know what a Web Application is and how it works.

What is Web Application and how does it work

What is Web Application?

A web application is a program that can be accessed and used through a web browser rather than installed on a personal computer. Web applications can be as simple as a single web page or as complex as social media sites, online banking systems, and complex business applications.

Web Application Components

  1. Client
  • Represents the user interface of a web application. The web application is accessed via the internet browser on the user’s device. The user interface can include HTML pages, CSS files, and JavaScript for dynamic interaction.

2. Server

  • It handles customer requests and processes data. It can include a web server that serves pages, an application server that processes business logic, and a database server that stores data.

3. Database

  • A system for storing structured data that can be accessed and processed by a web application. Popular databases include MySQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, and Oracle.

How Web Application works

1. Send the request (Request)

  • The user initiates an action on the user interface (such as clicking a button or entering data into a form).
  • An HTTP request is sent from the user’s browser to the web server.

2. Receiving and processing the request

  • The web server receives the request and determines how to handle it based on the URL path and request type (GET, POST, PUT, DELETE).
  • If data processing is required, the request is passed to the application server which executes the required business logic.

3. Interaction with the database

  • If the request needs to read or write data, the application server interacts with the database.
  • For example, if the request is for user data, the application server performs a query to the database to retrieve the requested information.

4. Generating response

  • After processing the request, the application server generates a response that includes the requested data.
  • The response may be an HTML page, JSON data, an XML file, or any other type of data.

5. Send the response to the client

  • The web server sends the response back to the user’s browser.
  • The browser interprets and displays data to the user, and this may include updating all or part of the web page using technologies such as AJAX.

Examples of Web Applications

  1. E-commerce
  • Sites like Amazon and eBay allow users to buy and sell products online.

2. Social Media

  • Sites like Facebook and Twitter enable users to communicate and share content.

3. Online Banking

  • Services such as PayPal and banking apps provide users with the ability to manage their bank accounts and conduct financial transactions.

4. Content Management

  • Systems like WordPress and Drupal enable users to create and manage website content.

Technologies used in developing Web Applications

  1. HTML/CSS
  • A language for structuring and coordinating web pages.

2.JavaScript

A programming language used to create interactive web pages.

3. Frameworks

  • Frameworks such as React, Angular, Vue.js, are used to facilitate the development of complex user interfaces.

4. Server-based programming language

  • Languages ​​like Python, Ruby, PHP, Node.js, and Java are used to write application logic on the server.

5. Databases

  • Database management systems such as MySQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, and SQL Server are used to store and process data.

HTTP Request: What it is and how it works

What is HTTP Request?

HTTP Request is a request sent from a client (such as a web browser) to a server for specific resources such as HTML pages, CSS files, or images. This request is based on the HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) protocol, which is the basis for transferring data over the web.

How does HTTP Request work?

  1. Initiate a request : The client initiates a specific request when the user types a URL in the address bar of the browser or clicks on a link.
  2. Formation of the request : The request consists of three main parts:
  • The first line : contains the type of request (such as GET, POST), the requested path (URL), and the protocol version (such as HTTP/1.1).
  • Headers : Provide additional information such as the type of content accepted, browser type, and others.
  • Body : Contains the data sent with the request (usually used with POST and PUT).

HTTP Response: What it is and how it works

What is HTTP Response?

HTTP Response HTTP Response is the response that the server sends to the client after processing the HTTP request. This response includes the requested data or error messages if the server cannot process the request.

How does HTTP Response work?

  1. Receive Request : The server receives an HTTP request from the client.
  2. Request processing : The server processes the request, such as searching for the requested file or executing a specific code.
  3. Sending a response : The response consists of three main parts:
  • The first line : contains the protocol version, status code (such as 200 OK), and status message.
  • Headers : Provide information about the transmitted data, such as content type, length, etc.
  • Body : Contains the required data such as HTML, JSON, or files.

The difference between HTTP and HTTPS

HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) is the primary protocol for transferring data over the web, but it is not secure because it sends data as plain text. HTTPS (HTTP Secure) is the secure version of HTTP, using SSL/TLS encryption to protect data during transmission, ensuring data confidentiality and integrity.

URL: What is it?

URL (Uniform Resource Locator) is the address that identifies the location of a specific resource on the web. The URL consists of several parts:

  1. Protocol : such as HTTP or HTTPS.
  2. Domain name : such as www.example.com .
  3. Path : Indicates the location of the resource on the server.
  4. Parameters : Additional information sent with the request.
  5. Segmentation : refers to a specific part within the resource.

Burp Suite

Intruder

Intruder is an automated penetration testing tool that allows users to send multiple HTTP requests to identify vulnerabilities in applications. This tool is mainly used to experiment with a wide range of inputs at different points in the application. These inputs can be passwords, CSRF tokens, or even user logins. Intruder relies on dictionaries and templates to generate input, and analyzes responses to look for signs of vulnerabilities, such as differences in size or response content.

Repeater

Repeater allows users to manually modify and resubmit HTTP requests to analyze responses. This tool is used to verify hypotheses that arise during testing, such as ensuring that a particular change in demand results in a different response. Through the Repeater interface, users can modify any part of the request including headers, sent data, and URL, then submit the request and compare the response with expectations.

Sequencer

Sequencer analyzes the quality of random generation of security verification sessions, such as session tokens, email verification codes, etc. This tool collects samples of codes and analyzes them statistically to determine their randomness and strength. This analysis is important because non-random codes may be vulnerable to guessing or other attacks.

Decoder

Decoder allows users to decode and encode data in multiple formats. The tool supports encodings like Base64, URL encoding, HTML encoding, and others. They can be used to analyze and understand encrypted data exchanged between client and server, as well as to generate encrypted input for use in requests.

Compare

Comparer is used to compare text and binary data. This tool helps identify differences between two requests or responses, which can be useful in analyzing how the application’s response changes based on different inputs. Comparer can also be used to identify nuances that may indicate security vulnerabilities.

Extender

Extender allows users to download and manage Burp Suite extensions to extend its functionality. Burp Suite provides a flexible environment for developers to create custom extensions using Java. Extensions can add new features, integrate with other tools, or customize the tool’s behavior based on users’ needs.

Proxy

Proxy allows interception and modification of HTTP traffic between the browser and the server. All HTTP requests and responses are routed through the Burp Suite proxy, allowing users to see and modify all traffic. This tool can be used to analyze communications, discover vulnerabilities, and understand how the application handles data.

Scanner

Scanner automatically searches for vulnerabilities in web applications. This tool performs a comprehensive scan of the application, looking for a variety of vulnerabilities such as XSS, SQL Injection, and CSRF. The scanning process can be customized to cover specific parts of the application or to check for specific types of vulnerabilities.

Dashboard

Dashboard is a central interface that allows users to view and manage all the activities and tools within Burp Suite. The main dashboard displays all ongoing activities, alerts, and reports, allowing users to monitor progress and manage testing processes effectively.

OWASP Zap Proxy

Sites

Sites displays a list of all sites that have been scanned or interacted with. Through this menu, users can access details of the scans performed on each site, including links discovered, potential vulnerabilities, and structural information about the site.

Alerts

Alerts displays security alerts detected during the scan. These alerts include information about the type of vulnerability, its severity, and where it was discovered. This tool helps track and remediate vulnerabilities discovered during the scan.

History

History Records all intercepted HTTP requests and responses. This tool provides a comprehensive log that users can review to analyze the activities performed during scanning sessions. This record can also be used to resubmit or modify requests.

Active Scan

Active Scan is an interactive scan that searches for vulnerabilities through direct interaction with the application. It sends multiple requests to the application, trying to exploit known vulnerabilities and identifying new vulnerabilities based on responses.

Passive Scan

Passive Scan is a non-interactive scan that monitors traffic and detects vulnerabilities without directly interacting with the application. This scan is performed while traffic is passing through the proxy, allowing vulnerabilities to be detected without affecting the application.

Break

Break allows users to intercept and modify HTTP requests and responses as they pass through the proxy. Users can pause traffic, modify data, and then allow the request or response to continue. This tool is useful for analyzing and understanding how an application handles data.

Fuzzer

Fuzzer Used to send a large set of inputs to an application to test how it handles unexpected data. Users can customize inputs and scan settings to look for vulnerabilities such as SQL Injection, XSS, and others.

Forced Browse

Forced Browse attempts to find hidden or non-indexed resources by automatically generating HTTP requests. This tool can detect hidden files and database entries, which helps in finding sensitive information that may be available without proper protection.

Ajax Spider

Ajax Spider searches for vulnerabilities in dynamic web applications using AJAX techniques. This tool scans applications that use JavaScript to load content dynamically, enabling it to discover links and sources that may not be visible to traditional tools.

Spider

Spider indexes all links and sources within a web application to understand its structure. This tool collects all possible links and sources, which helps in defining the full scope of the test and understanding how the application is structured.

Session Management

Session Management allows managing sessions for interacting with a web application to test session security. Users can manage and modify sessions, test vulnerability of session management, and verify the security of logins and logouts.

Authentication

Authentication provides tools to manage and bypass authentication systems during scanning. Users can configure authentication scenarios to suit their scanning needs, and test the strength and security of the authentication procedures used in the application.

Reports

Reports Generates detailed reports on vulnerabilities and issues discovered during the scan. The reports contain comprehensive information about vulnerabilities, recommendations for repair, and scan details, which helps in documenting and analyzing scan results to take necessary action.

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