ZAP API Basics

In this tutorial, I’d like to share a few ZAP API basics. This should make it possible for anyone to integrate ZAP into various pipelines.


  • ZAP installed
  • jq installed

Minimum configuration of ZAP

Start ZAP now, if you get asked for select the persistent session – just select option “No, I don’t want…” and press button “Start”.

Select persist ZAP Session

Now open “Preferences” and ensure that ZAP API is enabled.

Enable ZAP API

Our last action for configuration is to enable ZAP Proxy.

ZAP Proxy

Start ZAP via command line

# show help (macOS)
$ /Applications/OWASP\\ -h

# show default directory (macOS)
$ ls -la ~/Library/Application\ Support/ZAP/

# start ZAP in daemon mode with specific port and apikey (macOS)
$ /Applications/OWASP\\ -daemon -port 8090 -config api.key=12345

# open ZAP API in browser
$ open http://localhost:8090/UI

Add URL (Site)

# add URL
$ curl -s "http://localhost:8090/JSON/core/action/accessUrl/?apikey=12345&url=" | jq .

Show ZAP Sites and Hosts

# list all sites
$ curl -s "http://localhost:8090/JSON/core/view/sites/?apikey=12345" | jq .

# list all hosts
$ curl -s "http://localhost:8090/JSON/core/view/hosts/?apikey=12345" | jq .

ZAP HTTP Sessions

# list all httpSession sites
$ curl -s "http://localhost:8090/JSON/httpSessions/view/sites/?apikey=12345" | jq .

# create new httpSession
$ curl -s "http://localhost:8090/JSON/httpSessions/action/createEmptySession/?apikey=12345&" | jq .

# show active httpSession
$ curl -s "http://localhost:8090/JSON/httpSessions/view/activeSession/?apikey=12345&" | jq .

ZAP Spider scan

# start spider scan
$ curl -s "http://localhost:8090/JSON/spider/action/scan/?apikey=12345&zapapiformat=JSON&formMethod=GET&url="

# show spider scan status
$ curl -s "http://localhost:8090/JSON/spider/view/status/?apikey=12345" | jq .

ZAP Context

# list all context
$ curl -s "http://localhost:8090/JSON/context/view/contextList/?apikey=12345" | jq .

# create context
$ curl -s "http://localhost:8090/JSON/context/action/newContext/?apikey=12345&contextName=Default+Context" | jq .

# show specific context
$ curl -s "http://localhost:8090/JSON/context/view/context/?apikey=12345&contextName=Default+Context" | jq .

# add regex into includeInContext
$ curl -s "http://localhost:8090/JSON/context/action/includeInContext/?apikey=12345&contextName=Default+Context&ex=*" | jq .

# list all includeRegexs
$ curl -s "http://localhost:8090/JSON/context/view/includeRegexs/?apikey=12345&contextName=Default+Context" | jq .

ZAP Active scan

# start active scan
$ curl -s "http://localhost:8090/JSON/ascan/action/scan/?apikey=12345&zapapiformat=JSON&formMethod=GET&url="

# show active scan status
$ curl -s "http://localhost:8090/JSON/ascan/view/status/?apikey=12345" | jq .

ZAP alerts and reports

# list alert counts by url
$ curl -s "http://localhost:8090/JSON/alert/view/alertCountsByRisk/?apikey=12345&url=" | jq .

# list alerts by risk
curl -s "http://localhost:8090/JSON/alert/view/alertsByRisk/?apikey=12345&url=" | jq .

# show json report
$ curl -s "http://localhost:8090/OTHER/core/other/jsonreport/?apikey=12345" | jq .

# list all alerts
$ curl -s "http://localhost:8090/JSON/core/view/alerts/?apikey=12345" | jq .

ZAP shutdown

# shutdown
$ curl -s "http://localhost:8090/JSON/core/action/shutdown/?apikey=12345"

Running ZAP Attack Proxy on Jenkins

This tutorial will explain how easy you implement ZAP Attack Proxy into Jenkins. Therefor we create a Freestyle job and will use the “Official OWASP ZAP Jenkins Plugin“. That you can follow and reproduce the tutorial, you need a running Jenkins instance with SSH access to it and proper system rights (OS, Jenkins).

Install ZAP Attack Proxy

Following steps needs to be done when SSH connection, to Jenkins, is established.

# download installer script
$ wget

# set chmod of script
$ chmod +x

# execute installer script
$ ./

# add environment variable (ZAPROXY_HOME)
$ echo "ZAPROXY_HOME=/usr/local/bin/" >> /etc/environment

# restart Jenkins
$ systemctl restart jenkins

Note: If you don’t restart Jenkins after creating “ZAPROXY_HOME”, you will run into trouble like “java.lang.IllegalArgumentException: ZAP INSTALLATION DIRECTORY IS MISSING, PROVIDED [ null ]”

Install needed Jenkins PlugIn’s

Search for “OWAS ZAP” and for “HTML Publisher” plugins.

Jenkins Plugin OWASP ZAP
Official OWASP ZAP
Jenkins Plugin HTML Publisher
HTML Publisher

Configure Jenkins Freestyle job

All what we need is there, we can start to setup a Jenkins “Freestyle project” with the name “ZAPAttackProxy”.

Create new Jenkins Freestyle Project
Jenkins Freestyle Project

The next setting is optional… I recommend to find your own value (I go with 5 for that example).

Discard old builds
Max # of builds to keep

On every build (Jenkins job run) the workspace should be clean. Please enable the checkbox.

Delete workspace before build starts
Delete workspace before build starts

We add now the build step. This build step is available because of the PlugIn “Official OWASP ZAP“.

Add build step Execute ZAP
Build step: Execute ZAP

Now we have many fields to configure. We start to set the values for section “Admin Configurations”.

ZAP Admin Configuration
Admin Configuration

As we already installed ZAP and created the entry into /etc/environment, we can now use that variable.

ZAP Installation Method
Installation Method

For ZAP Home Directory we add the path to the workspace and let the build create the directory “.ZAP”. For Session Management we choose “Persist Session” and give filename “my_session”.

ZAP Home Directory and Session Management
Home Directory & Session Management

Under section “Session Properties” you add the Context Name “default” and for “Include in Context” you can add IP’s and/or Domains. For that example I choose “*”.

ZAP Session Properties
Session Properties

In section “Attack Method” you can choose different attack methods like Spider Scan and so on. Please set always a “Starting Point”. The settings here are self explainable.

ZAP Attack Method
Attack Method

Enable checkbox “Generate Reports” in section “Finalize Run”. Now enter a filename and select “XML” and “HTML” format.

ZAP Finalize Run
Finalize Run

Note: You can ignore the HTTP 404 error.

We are done! To provide on our job dashboard a link for HTML report, you can use now the HTML Publisher.

ZAP Publish HTML reports
Publish HTML reports

Execute the job and play with “Attack Methods”…

Build a Docker Penetration Test environment

Today we build a penetration test environment via Docker. That means no Plug-Ins (for example: Java) are needed! If you are Mac OS X users, a VNC client is already included (since Yosemite).


# download all needed Docker images
$ docker pull owasp/zap2docker-stable
$ docker pull citizenstig/dvwa
$ docker pull jmbmxer/threadfix

# list local Docker images
$ docker images
REPOSITORY                TAG                 IMAGE ID            CREATED             SIZE
owasp/zap2docker-stable   latest              a774bdc65502        3 months ago        1.557 GB
jmbmxer/threadfix         latest              b6f1907a61cd        5 months ago        941 MB
citizenstig/dvwa          latest              c8312743bc09        23 months ago       478.5 MB

ZAP Attack Proxy

# run Docker container with ZAP Attack Proxy (insert and remember password)
$ docker run -u zap -p 5900:5900 -p 8080:8080 -v /tmp/reports:/home/zap/reports --name zap -i owasp/zap2docker-stable x11vnc --forever --usepw --create

# start VNC (Mac OS X)
$ open /System/Library/CoreServices/Applications/Screen\

…or use the short way via: [cmd] + [space] and type screen sharing

vnc connection to zap

Insert “localhost” and your given password… and follow introduction for ZAP startup. Now you configure the ZAP Proxy Settings.

zap proxy configuration

Note: Select IP “” for later use. You can also use “$ docker inspect zap” to find out the internal IP, but this could change on next start.


# run Docker container with DVWA (2nd terminal)
$ docker run -d -p 8081:80 --name dvwa citizenstig/dvwa

# wait for startup
$ docker logs -f dvwa

# get host ip (from where you run browser)
$ ifconfig

Now start your Firefox browser and change proxy settings. Insert your IP!

firefox proxy settings

Call URL for DVWA in Firefox and run your penetration tests.

pentest firefox zap

When you are done, export XML report

zap xml report
From now on, you can stop all running docker container.


# run Docker container with ThreadFix
$ docker run -d -p 8443:8443 --name threadfix jmbmxer/threadfix start

# wait for startup
$ docker logs -f threadfix

Open Safari and call URL: https://localhost:8443/threadfix. Login with User: “user” and Password: “password”. Create a new team and add a application to team.

# open directory in finder
$ open /tmp/reports/

Import the ZAP XML report.

threadfix zap report

That is it… enjoy and expand your pentest laboratory!