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NGINX App Protect vs. Cloudflare WAF vs. open-appsec, Which Solution Provides the Best Security?



Choosing the best web application firewall can be an uphill task if you want something that is easy to integrate and protects against attacks while automatically detecting threats using machine learning.


There are lots of web application firewalls that you can use to secure your website or API and gain your customers' trust while staying in compliance with security regulations.


NGINX App Protect and Cloudflare WAF are two common web application firewalls you can use. But choosing the best between them can't be done without comparing their features like pricing, deployment, and security protection.


This article compares NGINX App Protect and Cloudflare WAF features and introduces a new security solution called open-appsec.


NGINX App Protect vs. Cloudflare WAF vs. open-appsec


The table below compares some of the features of Cloudflare WAF, NGINX App Protect, and open-appsec.

Choosing the best security solution can be an uphill task if you want something that is easy to integrate and protects against common attacks while automatically detecting threats using machine learning.


There are lots of web application firewalls that you can use to secure your website or app and gain your customers' trust while staying in compliance with security regulations.


NGINX App Protect and Cloudflare WAF are two common web application firewalls that safeguard web resources. But choosing the best between them can't be done without comparing their features like pricing, deployment, security protection, etc.


This article compares NGINX App Protect and Cloudflare WAF features and introduces a new security solution called open-appsec.


NGINX App Protect vs. Cloudflare WAF vs. open-appsec


The table below compares some of the features of Cloudflare WAF, NGINX App Protect, and open-appsec.

Property

Cloudflare WAF

NGINX App Protect

open-appsec

Security

ML-based. No signature needed

No

No

Yes

Zero-day protection (Text4Shell, Log4Shell, Spring4Shell, etc.)

No

No

Yes

API protection

Yes

Yes

Yes

OWASP TOP 10

Yes

Yes

Yes

Anti-bot

Yes

Yes

Yes (premium feature)

Integration

NGINX, NGINX Ingress, Envoy Add-On

No

Yes

Yes

Kubernetes Ingress

No

Yes

Yes

Gateway VM for AWS, Azure, and VMWare

No

Yes

Enterprise version

Management

Declarative configuration and deployment

No

Yes

Yes

SaaS Web-based Event Management & Dashboards

Yes

Yes

Yes

Terraform

Yes

Yes

Yes

Code and Price

Free

No

Yes (30 days free trial)

Yes

Open-source

No

Yes

Yes

From the comparison table above, it is clear that NGINX App Protect, Cloudflare WAF, and open-appsec are great security tools to protect your website or app.


Regarding security, they all tick yes to all the options because they offer machine learning-based threat detection, API protection, anti-bot, and prevent OWASP Top 10 vulnerabilities.


Both NGINX App Protect and open-appsec offer more integration options than Cloudflare WAF. In terms of price, NGINX App Protect offers a free 30 days trial, while Cloudflare doesn't. open-appsec is free and open-source, with a premium version available for additional protection.



NGINX App Protect Pros and Cons


These pros and cons are from reviews of people who have used NGINX App Protect.

Pros

Cons

It protects APIs and web applications against common and advanced attacks.

NGINX App Protect policies have to be handled manually, and users have to create them from scratch, which is time-consuming.

It protects your applications and APIs on-premise, on the Kubernetes environment, and integrates with the NGINX platform.

No zero-day pre-emptive protection as the solution is based on signatures.

NGINX App Protect reduces false positives with automated behavior analysis.

The dashboard doesn't provide a comprehensive view of the connection status.

It can be integrated with the CI/CD pipelines.



NGINX App Protect, also known as F5 NGINX App Protect, is a modern application-security solution that integrates seamlessly with the DevOps environment to secure your code and customers.


This security tool utilizes the power of F5 security to safeguard APIs and apps from the most advanced threats and attacks. With this security tool, businesses can avoid regulatory non-compliance and reduce loss of revenue and reputation with scalable and high-performance security.


NGINX App Protect is flexible, seamlessly integrated with the NGINX platform, and can integrate into the DevOps process.


Some key benefits of NGINX App Protect are app-centric protection, alignment with modern application architecture, CI/CD integration, and centralized control and visibility.


Below are some of NGINX App Protect features.

  • Protect apps and APIs. It protects applications and APIs against common and advanced threats. Also, you can keep your app secure and high-performance with security controls compiled into bytecode and leverage controls directly from F5 WAF. NGINX App Protect can be deployed in blocking mode with trusted signature detection and few false positives.

  • Secure your app wherever they are deployed. NGINX App Protect supports modern application deployment topologies. Also, it reduces complexity and tool sprawl because it offers seamless integration with the NGINX platform. You can build consistent application security controls for web apps, microservices, containers, and APIs and confidently run open-source software.

  • Rapid security deployment. You can deploy security rapidly when you use NGINX App Protect and use declarative policies that facilitate security as a code. Also, DevOpsSec can easily automate security with NGINX App Protect open API endpoints and CI/CD tools. It leverages a non-touch configuration method to simplify DoS security for modern applications.

  • Centralized control. Users can deploy NGINX App Protect WAF in an app-centric and self-service manner. It offers holistic visibility into WAF deployment and leverages existing policies from F5 Advanced WAF. Also, it seamlessly integrates security controls with NGINX Ingress Controller and NGINX Plus.

  • Reduce false positives. NGINX App Protect reduces false positives with automated behavior analysis and high-confidence signatures.

  • Layer 7 DoS security. It safeguards against difficult-to-detect layer 7 DoS attacks like Slow POST, Slowloris, Challenger Collapsar, HTTPS, etc. Also, NGINX App Protect uses automated user behavior analysis to protect applications and improve policies.


Cloudflare WAF Pros and Cons


These pros and cons are from reviews of people who have used Cloudflare WAF to protect their web applications.

Pros

Cons

Cloudware WAF prevents SQL Injection and cross-site scripting and removes malware from your application.

Cloudflare WAF accuracy can be improved by limiting the number of false-negative alerts.

Cloudflare WAF protects websites built on various CMS platforms like WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla without an extra fee.

No zero-day pre-emptive protection as the solution is based on signatures.

Cloudflare protects against DDoS, OWASP Top 10, and malicious bot attacks.

Requires on-going manual tuning of signatures

It prevents account takeover and credentials theft.

Customizing the rules can be difficult for beginners.




Cloudflare WAF is a web application firewall that protects your site from cross-site scripting, SQL injection, zero-day attacks, OWASP vulnerabilities, and threats that target the application layer.


It is used by large enterprises, e-commerce companies, and financial institutions to identify and block threats that can harm their systems.


Cloudflare WAF offers full DDoS protection that blocks millions of attacks daily and automatically learns from each new threat. It has a robust rules engine that makes it easy to customize your rules and can handle your existing and custom rules.


With its ModSecurity rule sets, Cloudflare WAF protects your web application against OWASP security flaws while offering a cloud-based service that requires no hardware or software to install and maintain.


You get additional functionalities for free with Cloudflare WAF because of its integration with the general services. This makes it possible to safeguard your web application against DDoS attacks and enjoy global CDN to make it run faster.


You can find Cloudflare WAF features below.

  • SSL security. You can add your WAF policy to SSL encrypted traffic and not upload certificates or buy costly hardware. Also, it terminates SSL connections without additional latency.

  • Integrate DDoS mitigation. Cloudflare WAF allows complete protection against DDoS attacks with no additional implementation required.

  • Integrate with CDN service. It offers full integration with CDN service, making it easy to distribute your content globally with reduced latency.

  • OWASP vulnerability protection. Cloudflare ModSecurity rule sets safeguard your web app from threats as identified by The Open Web Application Security Project by default.

  • Platform-specific rule sets. With Cloudflare WAF, your CMS platforms, like WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal, will receive detailed protection without extra fees.

  • Robust WAF settings. Cloudflare WAF has robust settings that block attacks before they threaten your website. Also, users can set the WAF to Simulate mode to record the response to test for false positives. Or, initiate a challenge page to ask visitors to submit a CAPTCHA before continuing to the website.


open-appsec Pros and Cons


Are you looking for a way to block attacks on your web application before they happen? open-appsec uses machine learning to continuously detect and preemptively block threats before they can do any damage. Our code has also been published on GitHub, and the effectiveness of our WAF has been successfully proven in numerous tests by third parties. Try open-appsec in the Playground today.

Pros

Cons

Protect against malicious attacks like zero-day attacks, cross-site scripting, SQL injection, etc.

You can’t find a lot of information about it on the internet.

Prevent intrusion of your network by monitoring web traffic.

open-appsec has a small community of users.

Uses a machine learning engine to preemptively and continuously monitor your web application security.

It is a new security tool.

Open-source and free, with the code available on GitHub.


open-appsec provides automatic web application and API security using a machine learning-based engine to detect and prevent threats. The ML-based engine analyzes incoming HTTPS requests to identify patterns and automatically deter malicious requests.


It safeguards your API and web application against zero-day attacks and OWASP TOP 10 without you having to adjust it constantly like other WAFs.


Here are some of the features of open-appsec

  • ML-Based WAF. It preemptively prevents application layer attacks that attempt to gain unauthorized access to your organization's server. Common layer attacks it protects against are BGO hijacking, Slowloris, Show post, Large payload post, etc. Also, It deters DDoS attacks that can prevent your application from communicating or delivering content to users.

  • Prevent common security vulnerabilities. open-appsec prevents attacks, including OWASP Top 10 like broken access control, SQL injection, and cross-site scripting, using machine learning. Also, it offers protection from zero-day attacks that attempt to cause damage to systems affected by vulnerabilities.

  • API security. It protects your API by deterring malicious access and abuse. APIs are targets for attackers because they are commonly used and enable access to sensitive software data and functions. Some APIs may have vulnerabilities like broken authentication and authorization, code injection, and rate limiting.

  • Prevent bot attacks. Malicious bots are software applications that run automated tasks with bad intent. Most web application threats and attacks happen with the help of bots. Attacks like DoS, brute force attacks, spam, and malware result from bad bots. open-appsec identifies and deters automated attacks before they negatively affect your web application.

  • Prevent intrusion. Intrusions are attempts by attackers to steal personal information from your system. They include network intrusions like DDoS, Man in the Middle, and SQL injection. open-appsec protects web applications against intrusion by monitoring harmful traffic.

  • Ease of management. Users can manage open-appsec easily because it provides an Enterprise Grade SaaS Web UI, Infrastructure-as-code using Terraform and GraphQL API.

  • Integration. open-appsec integrates into modern environments like Kubernetes and the public cloud. Also, DevOpsSec can easily integrate it into the CI/CD pipeline.


Getting started with open-appsec is easy.


Kubernetes

open-appsec works for applications and APIs running on the Kubernetes environments. You can integrate it as a load balancer for services inside the Kubernetes clusters. To get started, you can choose between two deployment options; install with interactive CLI tools or the K8 custom resource.


NGINX

Another way open-appsec can be deployed is as an add-on to protect apps and APIs served by web servers or NGINX Reverse Proxy.


Web UI

open-appsec has a cloud-hosted environment where you can manage your assets, policies, and cloud logging with a graphical dashboard. You can use the web UI to manage several deployments, assets, and policies. Also, users can use the web UI to view and analyze events.


Playground

open-appsec has two playgrounds that make it easy to get familiar with the product - Kubernetes Ingress or NGINX playgrounds.



The Kubernetes and NGINX playgrounds use a demo web app with several vulnerabilities to teach you how to

  • Protect web apps and APIs running on the Kubernetes or NGINX environment.

  • Attack the web app by performing a simple SQL injection.

  • Deploy open-appsec on Kubernetes or NGINX to protect the web app.

  • Attack the web app again to ensure it is protected.

  • Connect your asset to the SaaS web-based management.


Conclusion


Protecting your web assets like APIs and applications is necessary to stay compliant, protect your users' data, and build customers' trust. The three web security solutions we compared in the article are great tools because they can prevent the theft of your customers' information and attacks.


You can choose NGINX App Protect if you want a security tool to protect your web app on-premise and on the Kubernetes and NGINX environment. It is flexible, highly scalable, and seamlessly integrates with NGINX and the DevOps process. With this tool, your organization or business can avoid regulatory non-compliance and prevent loss of revenue.


If you want a cloud-based service that doesn't need any hardware or software to install, you can choose Cloudflare WAF. Cloudflare WAF safeguards your assets from cross-site scripting, zero-day attacks, SQL injection, and layer attacks. It can be deployed with a single click and comes with a rule engine that easily handles your existing rule sets.


If you need a web security solution that can be deployed on several environments and offers protection against attacks using machine learning, you can choose open-appsec. open-appsec offers protection against zero-day attacks and OWASP TOP 10 vulnerabilities and can be integrated into modern environments.


Frequently Asked Questions


Is Cloudflare a WAF or CDN?


Cloudflare is a global network that ensures that everything you connect to the internet is secure, fast, private, and reliable. It offers both a content delivery network (CDN) and a WAF. Organizations can protect their corporate networks and devices, while businesses can secure their websites, applications, and APIs with Cloudflare.


Does NGINX App Protect Prevent Bot Attacks?


NGINX App Protect has a default policy that safeguards your website or app from OWASP Top 10 and bot attacks.


References

https://www.peerspot.com/products/comparisons/cloudflare-web-application-firewall_vs_nginx-app-protect

https://www.gartner.com/reviews/market/cloud-web-application-and-api-protection/compare/cloudflare-vs-nginx

https://www.nginx.com/free-trial-request/

https://www.nginx.com/products/nginx-app-protect/web-application-firewall/#Strong-App-Centric-Security

https://docs.nginx.com/nginx-app-protect/configuration-guide/configuration/

https://www.nginx.com/products/nginx-app-protect/

https://www.peerspot.com/products/nginx-app-protect-pros-and-cons

https://www.peerspot.com/products/nginx-app-protect-reviews

https://www.cloudflare.com/waf/

https://www.g2.com/products/cloudflare-waf/reviews

https://www.gartner.com/reviews/market/cloud-web-application-and-api-protection/vendor/cloudflare/product/cloudflare-waf

https://www.sunnyvalley.io/docs/network-security-tutorials/what-is-network-intrusion






Experiment with open-appsec for Linux, Kubernetes or Kong using a free virtual lab

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