<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1076912843267184&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

Dynamic application security testing (DAST)

What is DAST?

Dynamic application security testing (DAST), is a crucial aspect of modern software development and cybersecurity. It is a non-functional testing process that assesses the security of an application by using specific techniques. The primary goal of DAST is to identify security weaknesses and vulnerabilities within an application. Malicious actors could exploit these vulnerabilities, leading to data breaches, system compromises, and other security incidents.

The importance of DAST

Understanding DAST is essential, with cyber threats ever-evolving and increasingly sophisticated. Organizations risk exposing sensitive data, facing regulatory non-compliance, and damaging their reputation without robust security testing processes like DAST.

Identifying vulnerabilities: DAST helps organizations identify vulnerabilities and security weaknesses in their applications. By doing so, they can proactively address these issues before cybercriminals exploit them.

Compliance requirements: Many industry regulations and data protection laws, including DAST, mandate implementing security testing practices. Compliance with these regulations is crucial to avoid legal and financial consequences.

Risk mitigation: DAST enables organizations to mitigate the risk of cyberattacks and data breaches. Identifying vulnerabilities early allows for timely remediation, reducing the potential impact of security incidents.

Reputation management: A security breach can tarnish an organization's reputation. Understanding and implementing DAST can help maintain customer trust by demonstrating a commitment to security.

Different types of DAST

Manual assessment: Is a fundamental pillar of dynamic application security testing. It entails the hands-on expertise of skilled security professionals who meticulously delve into an application's security layers. This human-centric approach is invaluable in uncovering vulnerabilities that automated tools might overlook. Its true strength lies in its ability to detect intricate issues, such as elusive business logic errors, intricate race conditions, and ever-elusive zero-day vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities are often concealed deep within the application's code, requiring the intuition and experience of a human auditor to unearth. Manual DAST is the ideal choice when dealing with complex applications requiring a nuanced understanding of the software's inner workings.

Automated DAST: Harnesses the power of specialized dynamic application security testing tools and software designed to scan applications for weaknesses systematically. This method excels in identifying the more common vulnerabilities that can plague applications, doing so efficiently and consistently. Automated DAST is the go-to option for routine scans across various applications, ensuring that a broad range of potential issues are swiftly identified. It complements manual assessment by quickly identifying low-hanging fruit and allowing security professionals to focus on the more intricate security challenges.

Hybrid approach: This synergistic approach is increasingly popular in the world of DAST. Many forward-thinking organizations combine the strengths of both manual and automated dynamic application security testing methodologies to create a comprehensive security testing strategy. This approach deploys automated tools for routine scans, swiftly identifying prevalent vulnerabilities and maintaining a vigilant eye on the entire application portfolio. Manual assessment is then strategically reserved for critical applications or situations that demand a deep dive into complex scenarios. This combination optimizes the utilization of human expertise where it matters most while ensuring consistent security testing across the board. The result is a dynamic and efficient approach to DAST that adapts to the specific needs of each application and the organization as a whole.

Business benefits of DAST

Enhanced security: DAST helps organizations bolster their security posture by identifying and addressing vulnerabilities, reducing the risk of cyberattacks.

Cost savings: Early identification and remediation of vulnerabilities are more cost-effective than dealing with the aftermath of a security breach.

Regulatory compliance: Meeting regulatory requirements through DAST ensures legal compliance and avoids potential fines.

Competitive advantage: Demonstrating a commitment to DAST security can give organizations a competitive edge by building trust with customers and partners.

How to limit attacks using DAST

Regular testing: Perform regular DAST scans on all applications and systems to identify vulnerabilities promptly.

Vulnerability remediation: Prioritize and address identified vulnerabilities promptly, ensuring they are fixed or mitigated.

Employee training: Train your staff in DAST practices to ensure efficient testing and response to security findings.

Continuous monitoring: Implement continuous monitoring to detect and respond to emerging threats and vulnerabilities.

DAST use cases

Web applications: DAST is commonly used to test web applications for vulnerabilities like SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS), and security misconfigurations.

Mobile applications: Mobile app developers utilize DAST to assess the security of their applications on different platforms and devices.

API security: DAST can be applied to test the security of APIs, which are integral to many modern applications.

IoT devices: DAST can help ensure the security of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, protecting them from potential attacks.

Learn more

For further insights into DAST, explore the following articles:

Special Report


The Evolution of Application Security

Learn more

Blog Report


Why you need to upgrade your application security testing

Learn more



DNA of an app: Why traditional app sec testing misses modern threats

Learn more

Ready to get started?

Contact us for a personalized demo