Dynamic application security testing (DAST) is a process that identifies security vulnerabilities in a running application. Unlike static application security testing (SAST), which analyzes an application’s source code, DAST tests the application in its operating environment, simulating the tactics an attacker might use to exploit security holes.
- Web applications: DAST can be used in a web application to detect vulnerabilities such as cross-site scripting (XSS) or SQL injection attacks.
- Software testing: DAST can be utilized in the software testing phase to ensure that applications are secure when interacting with other systems or users.
Advantages and disadvantages of DAST
- Real-time detection: DAST identifies vulnerabilities in a running application, providing real-time feedback on security issues.
- Simulates attacks: DAST can simulate potential attacks, offering an understanding of how an application might respond to actual threats.
- Requires a running application: Since DAST tests applications in their running state, it requires the application to be up and running, which might not always be possible.
- Potential performance impact: DAST might affect the application’s performance being tested, especially if it is in active use.
- Use DAST during the testing phase of your software development process to identify and mitigate potential security issues.
- Complement DAST with SAST for a comprehensive security check — while DAST identifies vulnerabilities during runtime, SAST can catch issues during the coding phase.