HTTP proxies and traffic analysers

Burp Suite

Burp Suite is an HTTP proxy, developed by PortSwigger. There is a private and a free version. The free version lacks the scanner, and the private version is very expensive. Even with the missing scanner, as a proxy it is the basic tool for web application pentesting and bug bounty hunting.


If you go to the Proxy tab, you will see four buttons (Forward, Drop, Intercept is on, and Action), to control the requests: send and receive.

Burp Proxy
With Forward, Drop, Intercept is on, and Action, you can catch a request from your web
browser, analyse the content, modify it, and send it to the application.

These are the most basic options, and the most frequently used buttons in any HTTP proxy. Burp can do more.


The Intruder tab offers a tool that automates the sending of modified requests. This tool makes it possible to send a large number of requests with testing strings, lists of numbers, and real values.

Burp Intruder
You can choose how the tool inserts the different values and where.
Burp Intruder
** Create a list with all the different types of testing strings to load in Intruder**.

Then you can analyse the responses, looking for specific behaviours that could signal a vulnerability.


Burp Repeater
Burp's Repeater can be useful when interacting with the application's backend, modifying
a certain request.


Extensions can be found in the Burp app store and can be added just like a JAR file. Most of them are free.

The tool is awesome. But like said, the scanner is only available in the paid version which is expensive.


ZAP evolved from Paro, and was developed by the OWASP project. It is very similar to Burp Suite and has a proxy, and tools such as a repeater, intruder, fuzzer, and a vulnerability analysis tool.


Fiddler is another HTTP proxy, and is more targeted at .NET developers. It does not have the assessment options like Burp or Zap, but is useful when analysing applications developed in .NET, where the binary format is difficult to understand by other proxies.


During web application security assessments, it is not very common to analyse network traffic. And sometimes there are applications that use some components not running on the common 80 or 443 ports, and open other ports and services.

In this context, we can use it to analyse traffic between localhost and the internet, to understand a specific behaviour.

Use flows to limit the scope. Create a filter by hostname, otherwise you will get flooded with other packets that are not part of the specific connection you are checking. To make host name filters work, enable DNS resolution in settings: Go to menu View -> Name Resolution, and enable the necessary options Resolve * Addresses. Look for the hostname and create a filter from it.


Firebug is a Firefox extension commonly used by developers to detect errors during the execution of web applications. But it can also be used to assess applications and understand abnormal behaviours. Firebug is included in Firefox’s Developer edition by default.

Installing Firefox’s Developer edition

  1. Download the firefox*.tar.bz2 file from Mozilla’s website.

  2. Open Terminal and navigate to the folder where the file is saved.

  3. Copy firefox*.tar.bz2 file to the /opt folder.

sudo cp -rp firefox*.tar.bz2 /opt
  1. Delete the downloaded firefox*.tar.bz2 file.

sudo rm -rf firefox*.tar.bz2
  1. Navigate to the /opt directory.

  2. Un-tar the firefox*.tar.bz2 file.

sudo tar xjf firefox*.tar.bz2
  1. Delete the firefox*.tar.bz2 file.

sudo rm -rf firefox*.tar.bz2
  1. Change ownership of the folder containing Firefox Developer Edition /opt/firefox:

sudo chown -R $USER /opt/firefox
  1. Create the shortcut:

nano ~/.local/share/applications/firefox_dev.desktop


[Desktop Entry]
Name=Firefox Developer 
GenericName=Firefox Developer Edition
Exec=/opt/firefox/firefox %u
Comment=Firefox Developer Edition Web Browser.
StartupWMClass=Firefox Developer Edition
  1. Mark the launcher as trusted and make it executable.

chmod +x ~/.local/share/applications/firefox_dev.desktop
  1. To access Firebug, right-click on a website and select Inspect Element.

Other useful developer tools