Dynamic Application Security Testing – The Need of the Hour



In today’s digital era, applications have become the core part of every organization. Whether it is a banking application, e-commerce website or any other web or mobile based software – applications are handling very sensitive data like financial transactions, personal information etc every single day. With increasing dependency on applications, the security of these applications has become a top priority. While developing secure applications is important, it is equally crucial to continuously test them for vulnerabilities post deployment. This is where dynamic application security testing comes into the picture.

What is Dynamic Application Security Testing?
Dynamic application security testing  involves automatically probing live applications to detect security vulnerabilities. In DAST, a vulnerability scanning tool actively interacts with the application in the same way as an attacker would, rather than just passively analyzing the application’s source code or configuration files. This interaction with the running application helps uncover vulnerabilities that may go undetected with static analysis alone. Some common techniques used in DAST include injection attacks (SQL, OS command, LDAP etc.), authentication bypass, cross-site scripting (XSS), broken access control etc.

Having a DAST program helps organizations comply with regulatory mandates like PCI DSS which require periodic vulnerability scans. It also allows continuous monitoring of applications as codebases evolve over time with real world usage, rather than relying only on infrequent pentests. This captures vulnerabilities introduced due to fixes, feature additions, migrations etc. that static testing may miss.

Advantages of DAST

1. Continuous Testing

DAST solutions allow scheduling recurring vulnerability scans which can catch new issues as applications change. This provides continuous monitoring without needing human testers to manually probe applications between pentests. Bugs found earlier can be fixed sooner before exploitation.

2. Scalability

With DAST, thousands of tests can be run automatically on multiple applications simultaneously. This is more efficient and affordable for security teams dealing with large and complex application estates. Manual testing does not provide this level of ease and coverage.

3. Actionable Results

DAST reports clearly list vulnerabilities by severity, along with remediation guidance. This makes it simple for dev/sec teams to prioritize weaknesses and fix them promptly. As compared to manually written pentest reports which may lack structure.

4. Shift-left in DevSecOps

DAST integrated into the development cycle via APIs/SDKs allows shifting security left. Issues found earlier can prevent costly reworks later. This speeds up fix times and improves overall application security. Static analysis alone may miss critical runtime issues.

Challenges of DAST

1. False Positives

Not all vulnerabilities detected by DAST scanners translate to real exploits due to context that tools lack. While useful for prioritization, manual validation is still required to remove false alarms from reports.

2. Configuration Weaknesses

Well configured security controls may block certain attacks, confusing scanners. Context awareness of filters/WAFs is still an area of improvement for DAST.

3. Testing limitations

DAST relies on pre-defined test sets within capability of tools. Sustainable 0-days or vulnerabilities in authentication/session logic may remain unfound.

4. Changing Technology Stack

Updating DAST tools for new frameworks, APIs, languages, platforms requires continuous investment. Outdated tool versions analysing modern apps have reduced efficacy.

Best Practices for Effective DAST

To overcome the above challenges and get the most value from DAST:

1. Use Source Code Analysis in parallel – Leverage findings from both dynamic and static testing.

2. Automate re-testing after fixes – Scan applications again post remediation to verify issues have been addressed.

3. Ensure DAST tools are up-to-date – Upgrade regularly or use hybrid cloud-based models to avoid deprecated checks.

4. Triage results – Prioritize critical vulnerabilities and manually validate scans to reduce false positives in reporting.

5. Integrate into DevSecOps pipelines – Catch issues early in development through CI/CD. Scan environments close to production.

6. Expand tool capabilities – Look for advanced machine learning, configuration assessment, specialized API/framework checks.

7. Augment with expert pen tests – Periodic red team validations are still needed for complete assurance.


While no single strategy provides total security, including routine Dynamic application security testing scans improves an organization’s vulnerability management significantly. Given today’s complex threat landscape and expanding attack surfaces, catching flaws early is critical for risk mitigation. Automated and periodic testing not only aids compliance but also strengthens overall security posture cost effectively. With careful implementation and context-aware tools, DAST ensures organizations can safely harness the power of applications.


  1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
  2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it