Simulate attacks on your server with Nikto /
quickly test your WAF setup

06/06/2024

Nikto is a powerful, open-source web server scanner designed to identify potential security issues and vulnerabilities in web servers. It plays a crucial role in assessing the security posture of web applications by detecting outdated software versions, misconfigurations, and dangerous files. One of its valuable applications is in testing the implementation and effectiveness of Web Application Firewalls (WAFs), ensuring they provide the intended security protections.

Introduction

Nikto is a powerful, open-source web server scanner designed to identify potential security issues and vulnerabilities in web servers. It plays a crucial role in assessing the security posture of web applications by detecting outdated software versions, misconfigurations, and dangerous files. One of its valuable applications is in testing the implementation and effectiveness of Web Application Firewalls (WAFs), ensuring they provide the intended security protections.

Use Cases

Identifying Vulnerable Software Versions: Nikto scans for outdated versions of web servers and software that might be susceptible to known vulnerabilities.

Detecting Insecure Files and Scripts: It identifies default and potentially dangerous files/scripts that might be inadvertently left on the server.

Server Configuration Analysis: The tool checks for common misconfigurations that could lead to security issues.

Testing Web Application Firewalls: By simulating various attack patterns, Nikto can help assess the effectiveness of a WAF in blocking malicious traffic.

Security Audits and Compliance: Useful for conducting regular security audits and ensuring compliance with security standards.

Setting Up Nikto with Docker

Using Docker simplifies the setup and ensures a consistent environment for running Nikto. Here’s how to set it up:

Install Docker: Make sure Docker is installed on your system. You can download and install it from Docker’s official website.

**Pull the Nikto Project ** : Open a terminal and pull the Nikto repo from GitHub with the following command:

git clone https://github.com/sullo/nikto.git

Go to the folder :

cd nikto

Build the image :

docker build -t sullo/nikto .

Run Nikto: You can run Nikto against a target web server using the pulled Docker image:

docker run --rm sullo/nikto -Display V -h [target_ip_or_domain]

Useful Options

Target Host (-h): Specify the target host to scan.

  docker run --rm sullo/nikto -h example.com

Verbose (-Display V): Print each request on the screen.

 docker run --rm sullo/nikto Display V -h example.com

Port (-p): Define the port to scan (default is 80).

  docker run --rm sullo/nikto -h example.com -p 8080

Output Format (-o and -Format): Save the scan results in various formats such as HTML, CSV, or XML.

docker run --rm sullo/nikto -h example.com -o results.html -Format html

Plugins (-Plugins): Run specific plugins for more targeted testing.

  docker run --rm sullo/nikto -h example.com -Plugins outdated

Conclusion

Nikto is a versatile and essential tool for web server security assessments, particularly useful for verifying the implementation and effectiveness of Web Application Firewalls. Its comprehensive scanning capabilities and ease of use, especially when set up with Docker, make it a valuable asset for security professionals aiming to safeguard web applications. Whether for routine security audits or compliance checks, Nikto helps in identifying and mitigating potential vulnerabilities effectively.