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Application Security Testing Methods and How They Differ: SAST, DAST, and IAST

Application security testing (AST) can be of different kinds, and knowing which one to use may be difficult. In this blog post, we will discuss the three most common types of application security testing: static application security testing (SAST), dynamic application security testing (DAST), and interactive application security testing (IAST). We will explain the differences between these three types of testing, their pros, and cons, and help you decide which type is best for your needs.

Types of Application Security Testing Methods

Application Security Testing Methods and How They Differ SAST, DAST, and IAST
Application security testing (AST) can be of different kinds, and knowing which one to use may be difficult between SAST, DAST, and IAST.

SAST

This is a type of application security testing that analyzes source code for potential vulnerabilities. SAST tools examine the code itself, rather than how the code is executed. This makes SAST an ideal choice for applications that are in development or have not yet been released to the public. Static analysis can identify issues such as coding errors and insecure configurations, but it cannot detect issues that occur during runtime.

SAST Pros:

  • SAST tools can help you find flaws in your code as and when you’re working on it
  • Many SAST tools allow integrations with most coding platforms such as GitHub, Eclipse, etc.
  • It is more accurate and reports fewer false positives

SAST Cons:

  • Since it does not test applications during runtime, it can miss critical vulnerabilities
  • Doesn’t look for flaws after deployment

DAST

This is a type of application security testing that tests an application while it is running. DAST tools use automated scanners or manual testers to simulate attacks on the live application. This allows DAST to find vulnerabilities that may only be exploitable when the application is running. However, since dynamic application security testing (DAST) does not have access to the source code, it cannot identify issues that occur during compile time.

DAST Pros:

  • DAST can find vulnerabilities that only occur during runtime
  • It can test applications that are already deployed
  • It’s effective in finding high-level vulnerabilities

DAST Cons:

  • Can take up more time
  • May cause the application to crash during testing
  • Not as accurate as SAST as it may report quite a few false positives.
  • Since DAST tools do not have access to the source code, they cannot identify issues that occur during compile time.
  • It’s more challenging to employ on apps that need a lot of user input as it can be difficult to automate

IAST

This type of application security testing is much like DAST as it is performed on applications that are running. However, it goes a step further and “interacts” with the application while testing. This can include fuzzing, injecting code into the application, testing with different inputs, etc. IAST tends to be more accurate than DAST, as it detects flaws based on the application’s response to the inputs given. It’s also just as good as DAST in detecting issues that occur during runtime.

IAST Pros:

  • IAST is more accurate than DAST, as it detects flaws based on the application’s response to the inputs given.
  • It can detect issues that occur during runtime
  • IAST is just as good as DAST in detecting issues that occur during runtime

IAST Cons:

  • Can be more difficult to set up
  • Takes more time than SAST or DAST
  • May require more technical expertise than SAST or DAST

SAST vs. DAST vs. IAST:

In short, SAST tests an application’s source code while DAST tests an application while it is running/in its live environment. IAST tests applications by interacting with them with various inputs and analyzing the application’s response to them.

So, what’s the best type of Application Security Testing (AST) for your needs?

The answer to that depends on what type of application you’re testing, how much of it has been developed, and the goal of the test.

  • If you’re looking for a way to find coding errors and insecure configurations in your code, SAST is the best option for you.
  • If you’re looking for a way to find vulnerabilities that occur during runtime, DAST is the best option.
  • And if you’re looking for a more accurate and in-depth assessment of your application’s security, IAST is the best option.

However, keep in mind that no single type of application security testing can provide a complete view of an application’s security posture.

Conclusion

Application security testing is vital and crucial for ensuring safe and secure applications are put out in the world.

As a matter of fact, there are other two application testing methods that we omitted but are open to discussing in the future; Software Composition Analysis (SCA) which acts differently from the others, it monitors open-source, third-party libraries, for vulnerabilities in all types of mobile or web applications, and Penetration Testing (pen test) is the reliant on human agent to assess the application’s architecture, components, and code libraries by simulating an attack.

SAST, DAST, and IAST are three different types of application security testing methods with their own strengths and weaknesses. Choose the right type of AST for your needs or use all three in conjunction to get the most comprehensive view of your application’s security posture.

Author Bio-

Ankit Pahuja is the Marketing Lead and Evangelist at Astra Security. Ever since his adulthood (literally, he was 20 years old), he began finding vulnerabilities in websites & network infrastructures. Starting his professional career as a software engineer at one of the unicorns enables him in bringing “engineering in marketing” to reality. Working actively in the cybersecurity space for more than two years makes him the perfect T-shaped marketing professional. Ankit is an avid speaker in the security space and has delivered various talks on top companies, early-age start-ups, and online events.

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3 Ways to Make Remote Learning Easier for Your Child

As COVID-19 restrictions are lifted across the nation, many students find themselves back in their regular classrooms, attending school in person as they did every day prior to March 2020. Some schools, however, remain online or give students the option to attend class remotely, as the pandemic allowed us to stretch our limits of what we could imagine being possible and many have found remote working and learning to have many benefits. While remote learning might be the right option for your child, there is no denying that attending school virtually has its downsides. Now that we are no longer in the throws of harsh COVID-19 restrictions, some students might feel isolated from their friends who have returned to in-person schooling. 

Here are some ways you can help support your child during remote schooling. 

Have a Special Space Dedicated to Learning

Permanently designate a specific room or area of your home for schooling. Just like you might have your own home office to help you keep a strong work-life balance, your child needs the same. Whether you’re working from home as a physician for ThriveMD or a student learning remotely, having your own space to work that is separate from the rest of the house is important. Putting together a special space for time spent in the classroom and discouraging your child from using the space for other purposes is the key to keeping them focused during virtual schooling while keeping the stress of the classroom outside of their other responsibilities at home.

Designate Special Activities for Breaks

Studies show that students who are learning remotely perform best when work is done in 30-minute increments, encouraging frequent short breaks between lessons or assignments. When students take a break, they often turn to the TV or a computer for entertainment, which can draw them in and make it difficult for them to return to the classroom and stay focused when their beak is over. If this describes your child, try to think of a few special activities that they can do on breaks. This can include an art project like coloring or sculpting with play, outside time for them to play with toys or take a walk, or independent reading time with a book of their choice. 

Schedule Play Dates and Outings

Remote learning can be isolating, especially for younger children who might not understand why they are not able to see their friends every day as they used to a school. Try to schedule a safe play date or activity for your child and a few of their friends after school at least once a week, to give them a much-needed break and to nurture their social and emotional needs which might be lacking as a result of remote learning. 

The addition of working remotely to our lives might be one of the only positive effects of the last 2 years. Remote learning can be a great option for students who have challenges in traditional classroom settings but can come with its own setbacks. Use these simple tips to support your child both in and out of the virtual classroom.