Dynamic Application Security Testing: Tools and Tips

Dynamic Application Security Testing: Tools and Tips

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With data breaches continuing to increase, web application security only increases in importance. Yet many websites never consider security when being developed. That’s why DAST is important. DAST tools allow you to test the security of your applications in real-time and identify any vulnerabilities that may exist. In this blog post, we will discuss the basics of DAST and provide a list of five popular DAST tools. We will also show you perform DAST.

Importance of web application security:

Security issues can lead to significant financial loss, legal implications, and damage to your brand or reputation. A security breach can result in the theft of customer data, loss of company secrets, or denial of service attacks that prevent your customers from accessing your site.

Security issues in web applications:

There are many different types of attacks that can be launched against a web application, and it is essential to protect your data from these threats:

  • SQL injection: This is when an attacker inserts malicious code into your database to extract sensitive information.
  • Cross-site scripting: Here a hacker may inject malicious scripts or code into your website that is then executed by the victim’s browser.
  • Cross-site request forgery: This is when an attacker tricks a user into submitting a malicious request to your web application.
  • Denial of service: This is when an attacker prevents legitimate users from accessing your web application.

Now let’s see how DAST can help.

Dynamic application security testing (DAST)

This is the process of automatically testing web applications for vulnerabilities when they’re live and running. It’s important to note that DAST can only test for vulnerabilities that are present at the time of the test – it cannot find weaknesses in the application’s code.

DAST is generally performed using a web application scanner, which is a piece of software that crawls the application and looks for common vulnerabilities.

Web application scanners can be either black-box or white-box. Black-box scanners do not require any knowledge of the inner workings of the application, while white-box scanners do. Most DAST tools are black-box scanners.

There are many different types of web application scanners, but the most common are vulnerability scanners, penetration testing and auditing tools.

Vulnerability scanners are automated tools that scan for known security flaws.

Penetration testing tools are used to exploit vulnerabilities in order to determine the extent of the damage they can cause.

Auditing tools are used to ensure that the security measures in place are working properly.

Now that we’ve covered the basics of DAST tools, let’s take a look at some of the most popular DAST tools on the market.

5 popular DAST tools:

  1. Astra Pentest:

This is a pen testing tool that can test for vulnerabilities in any web application, regardless of the technology it is built on. It tests websites against 3000+ known threats and on detecting flaws, it goes on to provide ways to fix them. It also includes a risk score so you can understand the level of threat. Along with the tool Astra Security provides support whenever you need it.

2. Burp Suite Professional:

This is a well-known web application scanner that finds the majority of the security flaws in web applications. It includes a range of features, such as the ability to intercept and modify requests and responses, crawl an application, and scan for vulnerabilities.

3. OWASP ZAP:

Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP) is another great tool for scanning websites. It’s also open source making it free and easily accessible. This tool is fairly simple so anyone can get started with it and integrate it into your development or testing process.

4. Nessus Professional:

This tool can be used to scan for over 60,000 different types of known security concerns. It is fast and accurate and includes features such as the ability to scan for vulnerabilities in real-time.

5. HCL AppScan:

This is an all-rounder software and application testing tool for detecting vulnerabilities and other security concerns. It includes features such as the ability to scan for vulnerabilities in real-time, identify sensitive data, and generate reports.

Now that we’ve looked at some of the most popular DAST tools, let’s see how to use them.

Steps to perform DAST:

  1. The first step is to select appropriate tools for scanning and attacking. As we’ve seen, there are many different types of web application scanners on the market, so it’s important to choose one that is right for you.
  2. Next, understand the application that you want to scan. This means understanding how the application works and what technologies it is built on.
  3. Once you have a good understanding of the application, you can start scanning for vulnerabilities. The scanner will crawl through the application looking for common vulnerabilities.
  4. It’s important to remember that DAST cannot find weaknesses in the application’s code. It can only find vulnerabilities that are exposed to the user.
  5. Once you have found vulnerabilities, it is important to fix them. Many scanners include features such as vulnerability reporting and remediation advice to help you do this.
  6. Finally, it’s important to test the fixes to make sure that they have fixed the vulnerabilities.

Conclusion

Web apps are frequently targeted by attackers so securing them is critical. As we’ve seen, dynamic application security testing is valuable for finding vulnerabilities in web applications. There are several distinct types of DAST tools on the market, so it’s critical to pick the best one for you. Once you have found vulnerabilities, it is important to fix them. Many scanners include features such as vulnerability reporting and remediation advice to help you do this. Finally, it’s important to test the fixes to make sure that they have fully fixed the vulnerabilities.

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