Written By :Appsierra

Tue Jun 11 2024

5 min read

What is Dynamic Application Security Testing - How It Works

Home >> Blogs >> What is Dynamic Application Security Testing - How It Works
Security Testing

If anything that’s more qualified than penetration testing, it's dynamic application security testing. They perform a powerful assessment of the application’s security with deep scans and generate detailed reports on weaknesses & vulnerabilities. Further learn about its benefits, challenges, and tools with the help of our elaborate blog

In today’s landscape, security is one of the fundamental pillars of digitalization. Everybody needs a strong defense front, from small businesses to large enterprises, to protect their applications from potential cyber threats. Luckily, we have dynamic application security testing to serve this purpose.

Yes, it actively investigates the running applications with manual and automated tests. Thereupon, it helps prevent costly remedies to patch the attack consequences. What more does it do? You might have that question in your mind. Isn’t it? Know more such insights and facts by reading our blog till the end.

Turn to Testing Assistance!

Would you like your testing requirements to take precedence in our queue? You're just a few clicks away from making it a reality! Reach out to us, receive a complimentary consultation.

How do we define dynamic application security testing?

Dynamic application security testing (DAST) is a type of black-box testing that checks applications from the end-user perspective. It thoroughly analyzes and identifies vulnerabilities and security weaknesses during the application runtime. To put it simply, these testing tools simulate real-world attacks to unravel the exploit points in the app.

Common threats include SQL injections, XSS scripts, Cross-site request forgery (CSRF), etc. In reality, the source code for an application is confidential and tough to estimate. Therefore, most attackers target dynamic environments. Another key point is dynamic security testing comes with combined static and penetration testing.

Thus, it provides a comprehensive and better security assessment in the affordable range. Notably, global cybercrime damage costs are expected to grow by 15%, reaching $10.5 trillion annually by 2025. That means that DAST tools will become necessary in every sector very soon. Further, explore its advantages and features in the next section.

Appsierra specializes in multiple testing services and is rapidly growing as a testing company, gaining recognition with their name, such as:

What are the perks of using DAST application security?

Dynamic application security testing tools run on the operating code within the interface. So, it terms multiple threat-finding processes in a single task. Including scripting, authentication, requests, responses, and many more. Now let’s observe more such advantages:

Low false positives

Usually, dynamic security testing doesn’t scan the whole app. Therefore, it generates fewer false positives and greater accuracy than Static AST. You can validate the vulnerabilities much faster by comparing their prevention to past scan reports.

Memory usage

Static analysis does not provide any information regarding memory usage. But it's a different case with dynamic application security testing. It executes different payloads into memory and directly reports the memory consumption of RAM Or CPU to testers.

Better performance

Unlike static testing, DAST methodology enables you to compare resource usage to industry-standard benchmarks. The final report also adds suggestions to resolve the vulnerabilities and improve the security scenario for ideal performance.

Coverage and reports

One of the main benefits of dynamic application security testing is comprehensive coverage of the entire app, including front-end, backend, and APIs, and better detection of coding errors and architecture flaws. Moreover, it accurately reports the entire task in less time without human intervention.

Encryption

Instead of checking the encryption algorithm, dynamic application security testing tools try to break through it. This technique helps testers to estimate the possible impact of an attacker. Thus, you can employ better encryption and authentication mechanisms.

All these advantages are superior and necessary for creating a safe application. Let’s understand how DAST app security works in the next section.

In what ways does dynamic application security testing work?

The DAST application security tools employ both manual and automation testing to assess thoroughly. Here, simulation means a real-time attack on the application. In short, fault injection techniques are inserted into the app to find SQLis. Now, let’s learn the testing procedure in detail:

Scanning

The chosen DAST tool primarily scans the target mobile or web application to detect the entry points while assessing the overall security setup of the app. Here, exploit points could be different app elements, like URLs, APIs, and forms.

Simulation of attacks

In this stage, your dynamic application security testing services will start simulating real-world attacks by sending requests to the application. It attempts to exploit the vulnerabilities, including common web application testing threats like XSS, CSRF, and injections.

Vulnerability detection

After simulation, the DAST tool analyzes the responses from the application. In effect, it determines whether any vulnerabilities or security weaknesses are exposed. In that case, the tool will generate a report specifying the issue's nature, type, and severity.

Reporting

At last, the DAST tool gives an elaborate report on the test findings. Including all the data on exposed vulnerabilities while adding suggestions for remediation. This report ultimately helps developers and testers to fix and improve the application's security.

This is a simple yet progressive testing technique for applications. So, repeating at regular intervals ensures security in the long run. Let’s explore the collection of dynamic application security testing tools in the next section.

List of popular dynamic application security testing tools

Usually, DAST tools use penetration testing techniques, but each tool has a different approach towards evaluation. Thus, choosing the right tool for each need is difficult. So carefully read the explanation of tools below and choose your suitable one:

Burp Suite

Burp Suite is a proxy tool for web and mobile application security testing. Its browser integration enables users to assess the URLs and modify HTTP messages quickly. Further, the platform employs WebSocket communication for testing a broad range of app architectures. As a result, users can customize test environments and optimize efficiency.

Acunetix

Acunetix is a web app security solution that can detect over 7,000 diverse vulnerabilities, including misconfigurations and out-of-band threats. It uses blended DAST and IAST scanning and remediation to provide better threat coverage. In addition, it assists users with explicit guidance on addressing issues while highlighting codes for correction.

StackHawk

StackHawk is a dynamic analysis security testing tool that offers a developer-centric approach. It promotes easy incorporation of security testing with exhaustive scans into their CI/CD workflows. Moreover, this platform is language-independent, scans various application architectures, and allows customizing the test scripts.

Checkmarx

Checkmarx is one of the popular security testing services that allows understanding the app’s behaviors during simulation. The platform can seamlessly integrate into existing software pipelines and encourages standalone AST. Not to mention, it supports 30 programming languages and provides unified reports, including past scans.

Invicti

Invicti is purposely designed for enterprise environments. It offers automated security testing capabilities that integrate into SDLC. Here, teams can address vulnerabilities with unique scanning and streamline the remediation processes. Moreover, the precision of reports is all thanks to the combined signature and behavior-based testing.

So, those mentioned above are a few of the premiere tools in dynamic application security testing. Team preferences, infrastructure, project-specific requirements, etc, usually influence the overall tool selection. Now, let’s see some of its challenges.

Challenges DAST application security poses while testing

Indeed, dynamic mobile application security testing can locate problems that can’t be found with static analysis. For example, authentication and server configuration issues are known only when a user logs in. But it also poses several challenges on the contrary, such as:

Session management

Session management is difficult for DAST tools as it can’t keep up with the cookies and tokens. On the other hand, a DAST scan might take hours, depending on the app's functionalities. Therefore, develop a workflow that refreshes the app before old tokens expire.

False negatives

The security testing services can declare malicious files as false negatives or deem user requests false positives. There’s always a chance for this situation. So, removing false positives using manual testing and false negatives with DAST tools is better.

Privilege escalation

Automated dynamic application security testing scans usually test apps for predefined methods, but there’s a slight scope for privilege escalation. Therefore, scanning should have automated scripts designed exclusively for the context and needs that need testing.

Non-crawlable URLs

The dynamic security testing tools cannot crawl every URL the application uses. It's tough to predict because the backend can accept multiple variables in a single program. Therefore, employ a manual crawl to each function to find all URLs.

In the next section, learn the best practices for better usage of the DAST technique.

How do we ensure successful application security testing?

Do you know that 75% of security professionals have observed increased cyberattacks? They advised it's better to integrate security methods. But to reap maximum benefits using DAST security testing services, follow these mentioned best practices in real-time and engage professionals like Appsierra to stay one step ahead, always:

Use DAST early

Adapting to DAST tools from the beginning of SDLC helps companies prevent vulnerabilities in mission-critical applications. Furthermore, it accounts for saving time, money, and workload on a significant scale.

Combie SAST and DAST

Static AST creates a useful snapshot of vulnerabilities in the application source code. On the other hand, DAST provides real-time demonstration using penetration testing to safeguard applications. Together, they fix the security gaps better, leaving no scope for attackers.

Defensive coding

Developers should focus on coding better for secure applications right from the start. They should indulge in using diverse counterattack practices in the coding stage. As a result, they can easily predict loopholes before they even get reported.

Close collaboration with DevOps

Dynamic application security testing tools should be integrated with testing and bug-fixing systems. Because it not only allows prioritizing the vulnerabilities but also encourages effective collaboration with the DevOps team. In addition, the team can streamline tracking and allow quicker resolution.

Conclusion

Dynamic application security testing is essential to the rapidly changing security outlook. These tools don’t require prior insights into the application, so they are easy to implement and more affordable than SAST. You can even combine the commercial and open-source DAST tools for better security. So, if you want to invest in application security testing, hire developers with years of expertise at Appsierra.

Related Articles

Cyber Security Testing Services

Web Security Testing

Network Security Testing

Application Security Testing
 

Contact Us

Let our experts elevate your hiring journey. Message us and unlock potential. We'll be in touch.

Phone
blog
Get the latest
articles delivered to
your inbox

Our Popular Articles