Watchfire AppScan 7.5
Strengths: Easy on administrators and contains a solid user interface
Weaknesses: One false positive detected
Verdict: Easy to install and easy to use, this product works well for overburdened IT departments
Watchfire AppScan 7.5 is a software-based offering that runs from the Windows platform. You may remember earlier versions of AppScan that required a Linux-based server and were run through a web browser. This is no longer the case. The utility is a slick, native Win32 application that is easy to install and navigate.
The interface is broken into three panes. It is easy to navigate between the panes and to understand what each pane is used for. On access, AppScan 7.5 checks for updates from the Watchfire server and installs them at the click of the mouse.
Assessment is performed in two phases. The first crawls the website looking for the number of pages that can be discovered. The next phase tests these pages for vulnerabilities.
The number of vulnerability checks is massive -22,183 at the time of writing -which makes for a complete, but also lengthy, test. The test clocked in at a little over 90 minutes to run against the PHP-based website, with 156 URLs discovered.
The test did report one false positive, an SQL injection vulnerability, which was fooled by the custom error pages used by the website, which does not run SQL. AppScan 7.5 includes a feature to send false positive results back to Watchfire for remediation in future updates of the product.
The installation was so easy that anyone with a minimum level of knowledge should be able to install the product.
Documentation is included electronically in the form of easy-to-follow PDF files. The layout is logical and the files are indexed and searchable. However, thanks to the ease of installation, the documentation will not be necessary for most administrators.
Watchfire's customer support team is accessible online via a dedicated portal or through email. The company also offers phone-based services. Watchfire's technical support features unlimited technical incidents. There is also an online support community that allows for the discussion of issues and custom written modules from the user community to be written.
With a starting price of £9,600, the AppScan offering was in the middle of the spectrum. Since the solution offers many useful features and maintenance is included, the cost is justified.