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SAST vs DAST – Which one should you use? [2022]

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According to the ’10th State of Software Security Report’ by Veracode, at the very first vulnerability scan, over 80% of apps were found vulnerable. From a sample of almost 85,000 applications from 2,300 firms across the globe, 70% of development organizations reduce the number of bugs in their code after this initial scan. As a result, we can understand that web application security testing is an essential task in the development of any application.

There are two common types of security tests that can be used during this process: Static and Dynamic. Static Application Security Testing (SAST) consists of analyzing the code to find vulnerabilities, while Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) refers to executing a program on a computer system with the intent to uncover flaws or weaknesses. Which type should you use? Read on to find out.

Static Application Security Testing

SAST is a type of static code analysis that analyzes the static program structure and determines if any vulnerability exists. This involves scanning an application’s source code to find issues before it gets compiled or executed by a user. Static code analysis is static because it doesn’t require the program to be executed.

It helps developers understand how their application malfunctions and identify coding errors early on in the development process.

Tools used for SAST

  1. HP Fortify static analysis tool.
    • The HP Fortify static analysis tool is an excellent way to find common vulnerabilities and security defects in your code.
    • It provides a systematic way to improve the quality of your code, so you can be sure that it is safe and secure.
  2. IBM AppScan static code analyzer.
    • AppScan is a static code analyzer that can help identify security vulnerabilities in your applications.
    • It scans source code and binaries to find potential security issues, such as buffer overflows, SQL injection attacks, and cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks.
    • Applications hosted on IBM Cloud can also be scanned using this tool.
  3. Veracode static & dynamic code analyzer.
    • Veracode provides a combined static & dynamic code analyzer. It detects known security vulnerabilities.
    • False positives can be virtually eliminated, allowing for quicker resolution of issues found throughout the development process.
    • Veracode also detects vulnerabilities that can be missed by both manual and automated vulnerability assessment solutions.

Advantages

  • SAST can find vulnerabilities in the code before they are exploited. It also helps developers understand how their application works and identify coding errors early on in the development process
  • It does not require running the application.

Disadvantages

  • It requires access to the source code which may not always be possible if you’re working with a third-party vendor.
  • Static analysis cannot detect issues that occur at runtime such as memory corruption, dynamic input/output parameters or buffer overflows.
  • SAST can be time-consuming and complex to set up and use.

Dynamic Application Security Testing

In dynamic application security testing, tools are used to monitor the traffic between devices on a network and its server while it performs various functions such as inputting data into forms within an app to see how this activity can be manipulated in order for hackers to gain access.

In DAST, we monitor what happens when there’s “real life” interaction with the site and not just the execution of automated scripts against it (which may miss certain vulnerabilities).

Tools used for DAST

  1. Astra’s Pentest.
    • To ensure that no vulnerability is overlooked, both automatic and manual tests can be performed.
    • Get the most up-to-date techniques for resolving bugs, tailored to your problems, as well as video Proof of Concepts (PoCs) that show you how to produce them.
    • Astra intelligently calculates a risk score for each vulnerability and does the risk grading.
  2. Acunetix web vulnerability scanner (WVS).
    • It is a specialized tool for finding security flaws in your website. It scans and reports all vulnerabilities it finds.
    • WVS doesn’t require any installation on your computer, so you can use it right away within the browser.
    • Installation of updates is not required as it is a cloud based tool.
  3. Burp Suite Pro.
    • The Proxy tool allows you to intercept and modify traffic between your browser and the web server.
    • The Spider tool of the Burp Suite is a program that crawls through websites and gathers information about their content and structure.

Advantages

– DAST can find vulnerabilities that static testing may miss

– It tests how the app behaves under real-world conditions

Disadvantages

– It is more expensive compared to SAST tools.

– DAST’s capabilities are limited to testing web applications.

Conclusion

Which one is right for you? It depends on your requirements. If you need to find vulnerabilities in an application before it is deployed, Static Application Security Testing is the way to go. However, if you’re only interested in web application security, Dynamic Application Security Testing is the better option. Whichever tool you choose, make sure you are using a reputable vendor and that your applications are being tested regularly for security vulnerabilities.

 

We are a team of writers passionate about innovation and entrepreneur lifestyle. We are devoted to providing you the best insight into innovation trends and startups.

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