DAST Testing: What It Is and Why It’s Important

DAST stands for Dynamic Application Security Testing and it is a technique for detecting software security flaws. This type of testing is essential since it may help discover and repair security breaches before they can be exploited by hackers. In this blog post, we will discuss the features of DAST and some common tools that are used for this type of testing. We’ll also go through why DAST is so vital to application security.

What Is DAST Testing?

A type of penetration testing, DAST is a procedure for detecting security flaws in an application. It is different from other types of security testing, such as Static Application Security Testing (SAST) or Interactive Application Security Testing (IAST), because it can detect run-time vulnerabilities in an application. DAST can be used to identify issues such as SQL injection vulnerabilities, cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities, and buffer overflows.

Why Is DAST Important?

DAST is used to test an application’s security from the outside in as the app is run, it represents the hacker’s approach to detecting vulnerabilities in an application. It also assists you in following industry standards like PCI DSS and HIPAA.

Features of DAST

DAST is a penetration testing tool that may be used to assess the security of web applications. The tool will scan your application and identify any issues that could be exploited by attackers. DAST can also provide you with a detailed report on its findings, including how severe each issue is (high or low). You can then fix these issues before they are exploited by hackers!

DAST can be used to scan web applications, mobile apps, and APIs. It detects SQL injections, cross-site scripting (XSS), and buffer overflows, among other things.

There are several features that make DAST unique:

Dynamic: The testing is done while the application is running, unlike static analysis which analyzes code without executing it and hence requires access to the source code.

Application: The testing focuses on finding vulnerabilities in an application or website, rather than other parts of infrastructure such as networks and operating systems.

Security: The goal of these tests is to identify potential security flaws that hackers may use. DAST aligns very well with the kind of rapidity with which applications are built and updated today.

What Are Commonly Used Tools for DAST?

There are many different tools available for Dynamic Application Security Testing, but some of the most popular ones include Astra Pentest, OWASP ZAP Proxy and Burp Suite Professional Edition (Burp Pro).

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Who Needs DAST The Most And The Least?

DAST is most often utilized by businesses that need to adhere to industry standards such as PCI DSS and HIPAA. However, it can also be helpful for any organization that wants to ensure the security of its applications.

DAST is less commonly used by small businesses because they may not have the budget or resources to invest in this type of testing. However, it is still important for them to consider using DAST if they have web-based applications that store or process sensitive data.

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Steps For DAST Testing

Now that you understand what DAST is and why it’s important, let’s take a look at the steps for performing DAST testing.

  • Identify the applications or websites that will be tested.
  • Determine which vulnerabilities should be targeted.
  • Select the appropriate tool(s) for DAST testing.
  • Execute the tests and analyze the results.
  • Fix any vulnerabilities that were identified in the test.

Pros And Cons Of DAST

Pros:

-Can help identify and fix security issues before they are exploited by hackers.

-Conducting DAST can assist you in complying with industry standards.

-Recommendations for improvement of application security are included in the DAST report.

Cons:

-Requires technical expertise to use effectively.

-Can be expensive to implement and maintain.

Conclusion

DAST is an important tool for detecting and repairing security flaws in your applications before they can be exploited by hackers. It can help you to adhere to industry standards and protect your data from intruders. If you are looking for a tool to perform DAST testing, consider using one of the many available options such as Astra’s Pentest Suite, OWASP ZAP Proxy, or Burp Suite Professional Edition (Burp Pro).

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About the Author

Ronan Healy

Hi everyone. I'm part of the EuroSTAR team. I'm here to help you engage with the EuroSTAR Huddle Community and get the best out of your membership. Together with software testing experts, we have a range of webinars and eBooks for you to enjoy and we have lots of opportunities for you to come together online. If you have any thoughts about the community, please get in contact with me.
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