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What is Dynamic Application Security Testing and How to Perform it?

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Cyber Security

Cyber Security

Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) is an application testing technique that helps in identifying vulnerabilities by injecting attack vectors into web applications. It uses automation to test the security of modern web applications and their infrastructure. Penetration testers, ethical hackers, or cyber attackers can use it to find out the flaws in websites during penetration testing engagements.

The testing works on two levels: passive scanning and active scanning. Passive scanning evaluates how well a website’s static assets are protected whereas active scanning tests for dynamic vulnerabilities like SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS), Local/Remote file inclusion, authentication bypasses, etc. This method also provides detailed reports that help organizations understand what kind of information is at risk due to these vulnerabilities so that they can take steps accordingly for the security of the assets.

How to Perform DAST on an Application?

There are two primary methods for Dynamic Application Security Testing on an application.

The first method is to use a web proxy that can intercept requests and responses between the user browser and server. This allows penetration testers/ethical hackers to modify variables, headers, etc., in order to fool applications into giving away sensitive information or performing actions without proper authentication.

Proxy tools work by inserting themselves between your browser or other client software (such as JavaScript) and the target website you’re testing. They then monitor all traffic passing through them so they can understand what’s being sent back and forth from the site under test. Since that includes every keystroke entered into forms on websites plus any cookies received back, it means that proxies can effectively log users in just like they were using the website themselves.

A Dynamic Analysis proxy tool is used to support Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST). It can be installed on any laptop or desktop computer running Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, etc., and configured in the same way as other Web Proxy tools like Burp Suite/ZAP. However, unlike these tools, it includes attack capabilities that allow you to identify vulnerabilities in target websites by injecting various payloads into requests without needing API integration with external scanner modules.

The second method for Dynamic Application Security Testing is API testing which offers several advantages over manual DAST techniques including:

  • Ability to test custom applications not available on the internet.
  • Faster than browser-based tests because of no need for proxies or VPNs.
  • Faster than manual testing because it can be automated.
  • It is less error-prone since tests are not performed manually

The Dynamic Analysis API Testing tool, used for Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) has the following features:

  • Dynamic Applications Penetration Test Dashboard – The Dynamic Analysis DAST dashboard provides a consolidated view of all test executions. This allows you to easily see which vulnerabilities were identified by each scan and drill down into individual scans to inspect results more closely or filter based on specific criteria such as severity, location, etc.
  • Role Based Access Control – Permissions can be set at both global level allowing certain users access only to some parts of an application under test while restricting other users from accessing these areas completely; and also at scan level allowing different users to test certain areas of the application.
  • Dynamic Analysis API Testing Tool – Dynamic Analysis DAST tool is used for Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST). It can be installed on almost any system which has Java Runtime Environment version >=JRE(min) of the Dynamic Analysis DAST tool.
  • Real-time Alerts – Dynamic Analysis has a built-in alerting system that sends out notifications via email, SMS, or even Jabber messages when certain types of vulnerabilities are detected during Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST). This is useful to track down any newly discovered issues as soon as they arise and notify team members about them so that remedial actions can be taken immediately. It also ensures minimal impact on production systems since alerts will only go out for high severity findings.
  • Concise Reporting – Dynamic Analysis provides concise reports based on code level analysis allowing you to view all results by class name making it easy for developers to fix bugs quickly without having to sift through pages of logs or checking individual requests.

Static analysis refers to security testing techniques that involve passively analyzing the application’s code. Dynamic Analysis, on the other hand, is a type of dynamic testing that involves performing various actions while interacting with the web pages generated by an application in real-time. Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) provides more accurate results than traditional Dynamic Penetration Test tools because it doesn’t depend on any client-side software or browser plugins – instead of using native APIs exposed by browsers themselves. This allows the Dynamic Analysis API Testing tool to access pages and associated assets invisible to other proxies who are limited by what can be accessed via JavaScript alone.

Why Should You Perform DAST on Your Applications?

Dynamic Applications are often web-based or mobile-based which makes them more susceptible to cyber-attacks. Dynamic applications have vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers who want unauthorized access to sensitive information such as credit card numbers, personal identification, etc. Dynamic Application Security Testing is performed by examining an application for vulnerabilities and then providing solutions so these vulnerabilities do not exist in production environments.

Dynamic Application Security testing requires you to have access to Dynamic Apps which means they need proper security controls implemented on them before the testers/analysts start their work on the Dynamic App testing process with DAST tools. On a network, a penetration testing team may do advanced network security audits, vulnerability tests, and penetration tests. Network vulnerability scanners and network security scanners are other names for network penetration testing tools.

What are the challenges in performing a DAST?

Dynamic Application Security Testing is done by examining an application for vulnerabilities and then providing solutions so they do not exist in production environments. Dynamic Applications are often web-based or mobile-based which makes them more susceptible to cyberattacks, thus the Dynamic Apps need proper security controls implemented before starting with the Dynamic Application testing process using DAST tools/software solutions.

There are numerous challenges associated with performing Dynamic Application Security Testing on a Dynamic App such as:

  • Identifying dynamic applications correctly through manual analysis of contents within the source code
  • Ensuring that all required files have been identified properly so there is no scope of missing files during penetration testing or hacking attempts. There can be several hidden folders that contain information about data stores used by Dynamic Applications.
  • Dynamic applications have a lot of dependencies as well which makes Dynamic Application Security Testing a challenge.
  • Dynamic Applications are often web-based or mobile-based making them more susceptible to cyberattacks, thus the Dynamic Apps need proper security controls implemented before starting with the Dynamic Application testing process using DAST tools/software solutions.

Conclusion:

Dynamic Application Security Testing is a process of testing the application to find out if there are any vulnerabilities that may be used by hackers. Hackers can use these vulnerabilities for malicious intent and it’s important to have this type of security in place so your company doesn’t become a victim to cyberattacks.

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