Numerous intentionally vulnerable systems and applications are widely utilized for educational purposes in the field of cybersecurity. These platforms are specifically created to offer a secure environment for individuals to enhance their abilities in ethical hacking, penetration testing, and vulnerability assessment. Among the notable intentionally vulnerable web applications are Metasploitable, Damn Vulnerable Web Application (DVWA), WebGoat, Mutillidae II, and bWAPP (Buggy Web Application).
- PurpleBox: PurpleSynapz, an organization actively involved in red teaming exercises with reputable companies, has taken the initiative to compile a collection of vulnerabilities encountered during live projects. This repository serves as a training and assessment resource for their researchers before they are exposed to real-world operations. It is made available in the form of an intentionally vulnerable virtual machine that can be downloaded by anyone interested in gauging their preparedness for real-world engagements. The current version of the virtual machine encompasses over 10+ vulnerabilities, ranging from misconfigurations to Privilege Escalation. To access and download this resource, visit https://kb.purplesynapz.com/purplebox.
- Metasploitable simulates a complete network with multiple vulnerable services, making it a target suitable for practicing penetration testing and vulnerability assessment often used to learn and demonstrate the use of penetration testing tools, particularly the Metasploit Framework. Metasploitable is designed to provide a virtual machine environment with intentionally vulnerable services, primarily for practicing penetration testing and exploiting vulnerabilities. It simulates a network environment with multiple vulnerable services, covering a wide range of system-level vulnerabilities with varying levels of difficulty, catering to both beginners and more experienced users.
- Mutillidae covers a wide range of common web vulnerabilities, including injection attacks, broken authentication, insecure direct object references, and more often used by beginners and security enthusiasts to understand and exploit common web application vulnerabilities with extensive documentation and hints for each vulnerability. Mutillidae offers a comprehensive web application with various vulnerabilities to practice and learn web application security with a set of web application vulnerabilities, including injection attacks, broken authentication, insecure direct object references, and more. Further, it provides different levels of difficulty, allowing users to progress from basic to advanced exploitation techniques.
- DVWA (Damn Vulnerable Web Application) is developed specifically for learning and practicing web security offering different levels of vulnerabilities categorized by difficulty, allowing users to progress from basic to advanced exploitation techniques covering various vulnerabilities, including SQL injection, cross-site scripting, command injection, and more. DVWA provides a web application with different levels of vulnerabilities to develop skills in web security covering various web vulnerabilities such as SQL injection, cross-site scripting, command injection, and more. Categorizing vulnerabilities based on difficulty thus provides a gradual learning curve.
- bWAPP (Buggy Web Application) offers a broad range of vulnerabilities, such as injection flaws, insecure storage, broken authentication, and more known for its extensive coverage of different types of vulnerabilities and its user-friendly interface. bWAPP is designed to enhance knowledge and practice of web application security providing a broad range of web vulnerabilities, including injection flaws, insecure storage, broken authentication, and more by offering vulnerabilities of varying difficulty levels, suitable from beginners till intermediate learners.
- WebGoat provides a wide range of vulnerabilities and challenges, offering a practical way to understand and exploit web vulnerabilities focusing on educating users about security concepts and techniques through well-documented hands-on exercises. WebGoat focuses on teaching and learning web application security by providing a hands-on, vulnerable web application environment thus educating users about web security concepts and techniques through various hands-on exercises and challenges. WebGoat provides challenges and exercises that cover a spectrum of difficulty levels, allowing users to gradually improve their skills.
While Metasploitable primarily focuses on the virtual machine environment and does not need to provide a graphical user interface (GUI); Mutillidae, DVWA, bWAPP, WebGoat offer user-friendly interfaces, making it easy to navigate and interact with the vulnerabilities. Documentation and guides are provided to assist users in understanding and exploiting the vulnerabilities.
Metasploitable provides an overall simulation of a vulnerable network environment, whereas Mutillidae, DVWA, bWAPP, and WebGoat specifically concentrate on web application vulnerabilities. These applications offer diverse sets of vulnerabilities and educational resources, catering to different skill levels and areas of interest in the cybersecurity field. However, it is important to note that while these applications serve as valuable tools for learning and practicing cybersecurity, they do have a few limitations:
- Outdated Software: These platforms often use outdated software versions, libraries, and frameworks. While this is done intentionally to create vulnerabilities, it means that the applications do not reflect the security measures and best practices of modern applications. This can create a gap in learning for users who want to gain practical knowledge of securing up-to-date systems.
- Limited Real-world Relevance: While these platforms simulate vulnerabilities, they may not always reflect the complexity and diversity of real-world security flaws. Real-world systems are often much more intricate, and vulnerabilities can be hidden in unexpected places. Therefore, relying solely on these platforms may not fully prepare users for real-world security challenges.
- Limited coverage of attack vectors: These applications may focus primarily on web-based vulnerabilities and may not cover other attack vectors like network-level attacks or mobile application security. Although these platforms cover a wide range of common security vulnerabilities, they may not include some lesser-known or newly discovered vulnerabilities.
- Lack of updates and support: As these applications are primarily used for educational purposes, they may not receive regular updates and ongoing support. This means that they may not be up to date with the latest security patches or improvements, limiting their relevance and effectiveness.
- Lack of documentation: Some of these applications may lack comprehensive documentation or guidance, making it challenging for beginners to understand and navigate the vulnerabilities and learning opportunities they present.
- Stability and Performance Issues with Specific Environments: These platforms are typically designed to run in specific environments or configurations. They may not work seamlessly across different operating systems or network setups. This can be an obstacle for users who want to work in diverse environments or who have specific infrastructure requirements. Setting them up can be challenging due to its dependencies on various technologies, such as Java, Tomcat, and a database.
PurpleBox being a collection of vulnerabilities found across recent real-world engagements thus fills up the limitations. If you want to learn more about PurpleBox join our telegram group and participate in interesting discussions. https://t.me/PurpleSynapz/7
Further releases can be checked upon https://github.com/purplesynapz/purplebox