One among the many offerings of the application security testing (AST) platform, dynamic application security testing (DAST) methodology focuses on testing the various components of the web application while they’re running. Real-time attack simulations are used to find the vulnerabilities within the application which are then evaluated to understand their impact on the application’s performance.
DAST methods are best utilized at the end of the software development lifecycle (SDLC) to capture all of the early flaws and bugs that could pose a critical threat later on. In this manner, the DAST approach is often utilized as a part of a security testing approach that ensures the overall protection of web applications.
What’s the purpose of dynamic application security testing?
DAST methodologies are different from the traditional security approaches since it conducts more than one test to understand the application security and its weaknesses. One of the main features is its periodic inspection capabilities as soon as changes are made to the software before its release or updates are pushed live. Therefore, DAST takes on the role of black-box penetration testing and looks for bugs and/or vulnerabilities throughout the lifecycle of the application.
Some of the benefits of using the DAST method include the discovery of vulnerabilities apart from those in the source code, flexible and customized testing, simulation of real-time attacks, detailed testing and scalability. The testing solution is programmed to start during the early stages of software development in order to discover the bugs and/or flaws in the foundational design and framework. It’s mainly used during the development and quality assurance (QA) procedures for providing the perspective of a hacker attempting to breach a running application. With the availability of a customizable solution for testing during the deployment and in the later stages of development, testing teams have the provision of engaging in SQL injection, cross-site scripting attacks, and other specific attack methods.
3 Benefits of Using the Dynamic Application Security Testing Approach
Here are some of the benefits of incorporating the DAST method in ensuring optimal web application security.
- Schedule tests as and when required – Testing teams can utilize the web security testing feature whenever needed or even perform them continuously throughout the web application’s lifecycle. They can also change the testing environment for providing an accurate simulation of the overall infrastructure and the resources and ensure high testing accuracy. This flexibility comes accompanied by scalability so as to make sure that other variables such as increased website traffic or usage would have any impact on the vulnerabilities and protection of the system.
If the firm belongs to a specific industry with individualized threats and assets in need of protection, the testing can also be modified to fit these requirements for better security. Threats faced by the healthcare industry can be completely different from the financial industry and therefore need attack simulations more suited for their needs. This is to ensure that the end results and any actionable insights gained can be used for preparing realistic and highly customized solutions for dealing with actual threats.
- In-depth testing – As threats continue to evolve for more successful cyberattacks, it becomes even more crucial to advance the testing process to detect more vulnerabilities and simulate more attack scenarios. In this context, the DAST methodology offers great flexibility and versatility wherein each threat can be visualized and dealt with separately. Following this, detailed feedback and remediation steps are also provided to help out the testing and development teams in dealing with the discovered vulnerabilities, flaws, and other security issues.
With DAST tools, an initial web crawl is done using crawlers after which the web applications are examined for visible vulnerabilities. All interactions with applications are done using HTTP which allows them to test them in great depth, no matter the programming language or coding framework. With the consequent tests, the attack surface is widened and misconfigurations and other security flaws are analyzed to detect internal security risks and see if additional tests are needed for more insights.
- Continuous testing mode – With DAST tools, you have the provision of continuous assessment for web applications undergoing updates and other foundational changes. While SAST tools are more focused on preparing direct solutions for remediation and ensuring continuous integration, DAST tools are better in providing a third-person perspective for the updates/changes within the application. This provision continues during and after deployment for making sure that no new threats pop up. DAST tools also require less access to the source code, as opposed to the SAST method, since it utilizes external attacks more which also assists in the continuity of testing.
It’s important that firms know the purpose of the dynamic application security testing process before implementation as this assists them in formulating their overall cyber protection computer security` goals and preparing for the entire procedure. It’ll also ensure that the selection of the third-party service provider will be to the mark and the best in the field in terms of quality and experience.