Netsparker vs. Burp Suite: Automatic vs. Manual

When you choose a web application vulnerability scanner, choose the one that fits your business requirements. Netsparker and Burp Suite are both very good tools for vulnerability detection but they are built for different specific purposes.

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Burp Suite is one of the best manual penetration testing tools on the market. There is some automatic functionality in Burp Suite Pro but the product does not focus on it. Netsparker focuses on automation and integration. It is a complete solution that helps penetration testers work less. This can be very helpful if you have limited resources.

Ease of Set-up and Use

To use the Netsparker web application scanner, you just need to give it the targets. To set it up, you configure basic features such as access rights. Of course, if you want to integrate it with other tools, you need a little more work. Burp Suite works as a proxy and even its basic setup is quite complicated. You need to configure it so that it intercepts traffic between your browser and the web server.

The interfaces of these two tools also prove that they are meant for different types of users. The Burp Suite interface is excellent for technical experts, especially penetration testers. The Netsparker interface is made so that non-technical employees can easily rerun existing tests and interpret results.

Burp Suite is praised for its reports that are easy to read for developers. Netsparker generates excellent developer reports, too, and much more. It also creates executive reports that let you quickly focus on what’s important. Last but not least, it builds compliance reports that you can use to prove that you meet the requirements such as PCI DSS, HIPAA, and ISO 27001.

Accuracy and Proof

If you use Burp Suite, you can prove every security vulnerability that you discover. However, you must do it manually. You must find out how the vulnerability works and create a payload that proves it. Burp Suite gives you a lot of tools for this purpose. This is an excellent solution for zero-day and exotic vulnerabilities.

When you use the Netsparker web application security scanner, it proves vulnerabilities for you automatically. Its scanning technology detects a vulnerability, for example, an SQL injection or Cross-Site Scripting, and creates a payload that proves it. Once proven, it gives you the output that guarantees that this is not a false positive. Netsparker has one of the best detection rates in the industry, but it will not be able to prove some very rare vulnerabilities. Still, it will save you a lot of work.

Integration

Burp Suite is built as a standalone solution. It has some integration capabilities, but it is primarily designed to be used for manual application security testing. You can integrate Burp Suite with common CI tools. However, it has no issue tracker integration.

Netsparker is designed for integration. It is an automated solution, so it is made to be part of the workflow. This includes both the issue workflow and the software development lifecycle. Netsparker assesses the impact of vulnerabilities so that you know what is of critical importance. It also lets you monitor the state of vulnerabilities and manage them by working together with the issue tracker.

Which Tool to Choose?

If you need to choose between Netsparker and Burp Suite, you must decide what is most important for you. Would you rather perform manual security testing for all vulnerabilities? Or are you looking for a way to reduce manual vulnerability tests so that your experts can focus on the most important issues?

You can also use the two solutions together. Netsparker can handle most of the issues: find them, prove them, and let you manage them. Then, your security expert could use Burp Suite along with some open source tools like OWASP ZAP to work on issues that cannot be handled automatically. Except for DAST web vulnerability scanners, your complete information security environment could also include dedicated network security tools, SAST tools, server-side protection, and other solutions.

Thank you for your interest in Netsparker and we hope that whatever you choose, it will help you maintain excellent web security.

What our customers are saying

"I had the opportunity to compare external expertise reports with Netsparker ones. Netsparker was better, finding more breaches. It’s a very good product for me."
"As opposed to other web application scanners, Netsparker is very easy to use. An out of the box installation can detect more vulnerabilities than any other scanner."
"We chose Netsparker because it is more tailored to web application security and has features that allow the university to augment its web application security needs."