An Overview of DAST, SAST, and IAST: What is Different Between Them?

4 Min. Read

DAST, SAST, and IAST are all digital marketing software tools that are used to evaluate the quality of a website. DAST stands for Dynamic Application Security Testing, SAST is Static Analysis Security Testing, and IAST is Internationalization Awareness Security Testing. These three different types of web security testing have both advantages and disadvantages associated with them.

In this article, we will talk about what each type of security testing entails as well as some pros and cons of each one.

What Is DAST?

DAST is a type of security testing that analyzes the running code or dynamic app to detect possible vulnerabilities. In other words, DAST looks for errors in your HTML and CSS as well as any faulty JavaScript codes. It also evaluates how secure your website is from Cross-Site Scripting (XSS), SQL injection attacks, file uploads, and many other security vulnerabilities.

Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST)
Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST)

DAST software refers to any software that is used for DAST, such as WhiteHat Security’s Web Application Scanner. There are several different types of DAST software available on the market and each one has its own advantages and disadvantages depending on what you need from a security testing tool.

DAST X stands for Dynamic Application Security Testing X. This type of software testing is a newer version of DAST and unlike the original, it can test both static and dynamic applications. It also provides more comprehensive results than other security testing tools because it looks for vulnerabilities that may exist in the application at every point during runtime.

Pros and Cons of DAST

DAST software has two main advantages. The first advantage is that it can find vulnerabilities in your dynamic web application, so if there are any errors or faulty codes, they will be detected by DAST. It also tests for applications throughout the entire runtime of the app instead of just at one specific point like other security tools do.

The second main advantage of DAST is that it requires very little input on your part. You do not need to provide the software with any information about what needs to be tested or how it should go about doing so. All you have to do is install the tool and then let it test your website at its own discretion, which means no human interaction is required.

On the downside, DAST can only find vulnerabilities that are already present in your application. It cannot identify potential security threats that may arise in the future. Additionally, it is not as accurate as some of the other security testing tools available on the market.

What Is SAST?

SAST is another type of software testing that analyzes the code statically in order to find out what potential security issues may be present on your website. While this test does not look at how it functions, but rather looks for possible coding errors or faults, there are some drawbacks. For example, SAST cannot always identify vulnerabilities that may occur during runtime. Additionally, this type of software testing is not as comprehensive as DAST.

Static Analysis Security Testing (SAST)
Static Analysis Security Testing (SAST)

SAST software refers to any software that is used for SAST, such as HP’s Fortify Static Code Analyzer. Just like with DAST software, there are several different types of SAST software available on the market and each one has its own advantages and disadvantages depending on what you need from a security testing tool.

Pros and Cons of SAST

SAST has two main advantages over DAST. The first advantage is that SAST can find vulnerabilities in your code no matter how it is executed, whether statically or dynamically. Additionally, this type of security testing is more comprehensive than DAST and can identify a wider range of potential threats.

On the downside, SAST takes longer to complete a security test because it must analyze your code in order to find any possible vulnerabilities. In addition, SAST is not as accurate when compared to DAST software.

What Is IAST?

IAST is the most recent addition to the security testing category, and it offers some advantages over both DAST and SAST.

Internationalization Awareness Security Testing (IAST)
Internationalization Awareness Security Testing (IAST)

This type of software testing analyses the web application based on internationalization standards. This means it provides a wider range of security testing that is more thorough than the other two types of software testing tools. However, IAST has some disadvantages as well due to its relative newness in the market. Similar to DAST, IAST makes use of similar software of which many are available having their own pros and cons.

Pros and Cons of IAST

IAST has three main advantages over both DAST and SAST. The first is that IAST can find vulnerabilities in your application at runtime, which is something neither of the other two security testing tools can do. Secondly, IAST is more comprehensive than either DAST or SAST and can identify a wider range of potential threats. Finally, IAST is more accurate than DAST and SAST.

On the downside, IAST is still a relatively new security testing tool and as such, may not be as reliable as some of the older options currently available on the market. Additionally, IAST can be slow when it comes to completing a security test.

Choose Between DAST, SAST, and IAST

The best way to choose between DAST, SAST, or IAST is to consider what you need from a security testing tool. If your application runs on both dynamic and static content then it would be wise to go with the newer version of DAST called DAST X that tests for vulnerabilities at every point during runtime. If you are looking for a more comprehensive security test then IAST would be the best option. However, if you are looking for a fast and easy way to find coding errors on your website, SAST is the better choice.

No matter which type of software testing you choose, it is important to keep in mind that security vulnerabilities can exist in any part of your website and no single test can find them all. It is therefore essential to use multiple types of security testing software in order to get the most comprehensive coverage.

Tools for DAST, SAST, and IAST

There are a number of different tools available for DAST, SAST, and IAST. The most popular ones are listed below:

DAST

  • WhiteHat Security’s Web Application Scanner.
  • HP’s Fortify Static Code Analyzer.
  • Astra Pentest.

SAST

  • IBM AppScan Standard Edition.
  • Checkmarx CxSAST.
  • Fortify On Demand.
  • Astra Pentest.

IAST

  • HP’s Webinspect Enterprise Edition.
  • IBM AppScan Source Edition.
  • Astra Pentest.
  • Checkmarx CxSAST is a SAST tool that can also be used for IAST.

Conclusion

The article has given you a basic idea of what DAST, SAST, and IAST are, their differences. It also tells how to opt for them as per your requirements, the advantages and disadvantages of choosing each type over the other.

After reading this post you will be more confident in making an informed decision about which tool is best suited for your needs or if it’s worth investing in anyone at all.

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Thank you for reading my blog.

If you have any questions or feedback, please leave a comment.

-Charbel Nemnom-

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