Marketing Glossary - Development - Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST)

Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST)

What is Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST)?

Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) is a security process that tests an application from the outside in by examining it in its running state. This type of testing is designed to identify security vulnerabilities that are present in a live web application or service. DAST is often referred to as black-box testing because it does not require visibility into the source code of the application.

Where is it Used?

DAST is primarily used in web applications and services to identify security flaws like SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS), and other vulnerabilities that an attacker could exploit. It is an essential component of a comprehensive application security program, particularly useful for applications that are already in production.

How Does it Work?

Dynamic Application Security Testing involves:

  • Automated Scanning: Utilizing tools that simulate attacks on the web application to identify vulnerabilities.
  • Manual Testing Techniques: Complementing automated scans with manual testing to explore security weaknesses that automated tools might miss.
  • Regular Assessments: Conducting tests regularly or continuously as part of the software development lifecycle to catch vulnerabilities early and often.
  • Real-Time Analysis: Analyzing the application in its operational environment to assess its behavior under attack-like conditions.

Why is Dynamic Application Security Testing Important?

  • Security Risk Management: Helps manage security risks by identifying and addressing vulnerabilities before attackers can exploit them.
  • Compliance: Ensures compliance with security regulations and standards that require regular security assessments of applications.
  • Customer Trust: Maintains and increases user and customer trust by protecting sensitive data and preventing breaches.
  • Cost-Efficiency: Reduces potential costs associated with security breaches, which can include remediation costs, fines, and damage to reputation.

Key Takeaways/Elements:

  • External Testing Perspective: Simulates an external hacker’s perspective to identify exploitable vulnerabilities.
  • Comprehensive Vulnerability Coverage: Identifies a broad range of security issues that are only detectable through a running application.
  • Tool Integration: Often integrates with other security testing tools and methodologies for a layered security approach.
  • Continuous Security Evaluation: Ideal for ongoing security evaluation, particularly in agile and DevOps environments.

Real-World Example:

An e-commerce company uses DAST tools to continuously scan their online shopping platform. Before major shopping holidays, they increase testing frequency to ensure any new updates or features do not introduce vulnerabilities that could be exploited during high-traffic periods, thereby safeguarding customer transactions and sensitive information.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

How does DAST differ from SAST (Static Application Security Testing)?

While DAST analyzes the application from the outside during runtime to find vulnerabilities, SAST examines the source code internally and statically, without running the application.

Can DAST identify all types of vulnerabilities?

DAST is effective at identifying runtime vulnerabilities and issues related to user interaction, which are difficult to detect through static analysis. However, it may not identify all possible security flaws, especially those related to the application's internal architecture.