DAST in 5 Minutes (Or Less): What You Need to Know

What is DAST in 5 mins

As the influence of web applications continues to grow, securing them becomes a critical business imperative. The widespread use of web applications makes web application security (AppSec) a complicated and ongoing issue, particularly in the current landscape.

Incorporating a systematic procedure like security testing can help detect security vulnerabilities and weaknesses in any running application and reduce the possibility of cyber attacks.

What is DAST?

Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) is widely used by security and development teams to identify vulnerabilities in web applications. DAST testing involves simulating attacks on a running web application to identify security risks such as authentication failures, injection flaws, cross-site scripting (XSS), and other vulnerabilities that can be exploited by attackers.

DAST allows you to find and fix security vulnerabilities before they become security issues. Plus, it can help you meet compliance regulations and ensure your customers’ data is secure.

For a more detailed overview of DAST, we have a more detailed blog post.

How does DAST work?

Before scanning a web app, DAST scanners crawl through it to locate and test every available input on app pages. DAST scanners are capable of detecting vulnerabilities that are not visible in the source code, such as configuration issues and authentication vulnerabilities.

DAST is most effective when used as part of a comprehensive web application security testing strategy. It gels well with security testing solutions like application penetration testing and static application security testing (SAST).

What are the benefits of DAST?

DAST solutions are technology-independent, making them compatible with any programming language or framework. This flexibility allows organizations to implement DAST into their existing development and testing workflows without the need for significant changes. Additionally, DAST can help organizations ensure compliance with industry standards and regulations such as PCI DSS compliance.

To test the efficacy of encryption, DAST can attempt to break through it. This method can help identify potential weaknesses in the encryption and their possible impact on business operations in the event of a breach.

What are some limitations of DAST?

One of the primary challenges with DAST is its inability to keep pace with the continuous delivery pipeline of the software development lifecycle . As the development approach has shifted away from the traditional waterfall model, DAST tools may struggle to keep up with the speed and frequency of releases.

Another challenge with DAST is the potential for generating false positives, which can lead to developers spending additional time validating flagged risks. Moreover, DAST tools are not always capable of identifying latent vulnerabilities, such as design flaws or problematic coding patterns. While DAST tools examine requests and responses, they cannot detect non-compliant application code or source code.

What are the differences between DAST and SAST?

Although DAST is an essential tool for identifying security vulnerabilities, it should not be used in isolation. Typically, it is used in conjunction with other testing tools such as Static Application Security Testing (SAST). Here are the areas where both application security testing methods complement each other:

Security testing approach Black-box (analyzes the app from the outside) White-box (investigates the software from within)
Source code examination Operational testing (does no detect coding faults) Coding faults (does not detect runtime mistakes or defects in data flow)
Performance analysis detects even the portions of RAM that are susceptible to exploitationcan identify whether the user has the authority to access resourcescan trace any vulnerable plugin, which results in elevation of privilege doesn’t give you much information on memory usage and management

While SAST focuses on the code, DAST focuses on the application’s behavior and response to external stimuli. As such, a combination of SAST and DAST can provide greater coverage of vulnerabilities and a more comprehensive view of the security posture of an application.


If you want your business to stay ahead of the game, you cannot ignore the importance of DAST.

As technology advances and the use of web applications become increasingly prevalent, the risks associated with cybercrime also continue to grow. DAST helps protect your application from malicious users and ultimately saves you money by staying ahead of potential cyber threats and protecting sensitive data.

If you are interested in DAST and how GuardRails can help, feel free to get in touch.

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*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from GuardRails authored by GuardRails. Read the original post at: