There are several strategies for Application Security Testing (AST), and it can be challenging to work out which type you need for your enterprise. The first step in this task is to identify each kind of AST.
- DAST – Dynamic application security testing
- SAST – Static application security testing
- IAST – Interactive application security testing
There are only two types of testing systems: DAST and SAST. IAST is a combination of both DAST and SAST. Dynamic application security testing involves running the application, and static application security testing performs its tasks by analyzing the program’s code.
Here is our list of the eight best applications security testing tools:
- GitLab Ultimate A CI/CD pipeline management package with a DAST system built. This is a cloud-based service.
- AppCheck This cloud-based service integrates with project management and issue tracking systems.
- Invicti A DAST package can also operate as a vulnerability scanner. This system can be integrated into a CI/CD pipeline, and it helps towards compliance with HIPAA and PCI DSS. Available as a cloud service or for installation on Windows or Windows Server.
- Acunetix An automated DAST system that is ideal for use by IT Operations technicians. It runs on Windows, macOS, and Linux.
- Checkmarx A cloud-based application testing platform that offers DAST and SAST services, which will give you an IAST if you combine the two plans. CI/CD pipeline integration makes this a good choice for DevOps teams.
- Veracode This cloud-based platform offers a range of application security testing services, including DAST and SAST packages. The company also has a penetration testing team.
- HCL AppScan DAST, SAST, and IAST options to test Web and mobile apps Offered as a cloud platform, but the software can also be self-hosted on Windows and Windows Server.
- Hdiv Detection (IAST) A vulnerability scanner that exercises DAST apps and offers code checks for SAST. Developers get exact explanations of where security problems lie.
You can read more about each of these options in the following sections.
DAST is the only method that the users of commercial software can deploy. Without access to the code of an application, You are left with one option – run the software and test scenarios. This is a type of penetration testing or vulnerability scanning. The testing system starts with a list of known vulnerabilities and watches the operations of the application to see if that weakness exists.
SAST is a little like a QA check on code before it moves into acceptance testing, and it is part of unit testing. Like the DAST system, the SAST package has a list of weaknesses to look out for when reading through the program.
So, SAST is used for code verification, and DAST is used for acceptance testing. Businesses that produce commercial software need to make all efforts to ensure that the products do not include security weaknesses. This would consist of those companies that run SaaS platforms.
Software producers need to catch errors and weaknesses early to minimize the amount of rework that has to be done to fix the detected problem. So, the development team would use SAST. The marketers of that software and the technicians who will be supporting it once it is live need to perform DAST exercises to ensure no security problems in the system before it is made available to customers.
So, those businesses using both SAST and DAST would benefit from an application security testing package that performs both types of tests – an IAST system.
This is a very brief explanation of the meanings of DAST, SAST, and IAST. You can learn more about dynamic application security testing by looking at DAST (Dynamic Application Security Testing), including DAST tools. For a detailed explanation of static application security testing, could you read SAST (Static Application Security Testing), including SAST tools. Finally, you will find more information on interactive application security testing in What is IAST (Interactive Application Security Testing), including IAST tools? We have summarized their recommendations below if you have time to read the three reports.
The Best Application Security Testing Tools
When looking for an application security testing system, you need to look for services advertised as SAST, DAST, or IAST.
What should you look for in an application security testing tool for your business?
We reviewed the market for ASTs and analyzed tools based on the following criteria:
- A package that provides tools for manual testing and automated systems
- A selection that includes on-premises tools and cloud-based services
- The option to run tests on software that is still inaccessible to the outside world
- Testing services that can identify when different modules have been called
- A service that will integrate with project management and bug tracking systems
- A free trial or a free demo for a risk-free assessment
- Value for money, represented by a good set of tools at a reasonable price
With these selection criteria in mind, we looked for a range of AST systems suitable for all types of businesses.
1. GitLab Ultimate
GitLab is a source code management system that is delivered from the cloud. The package is available in three plans, and the lowest of these is Free. Unfortunately, that base plan doesn’t include many project management features, and you have to go up to the top edition, Ultimate, to get application security testing.
- Dynamic application security testing
- Support for developers
- CI/CD pipeline
The DAST functions of GitLab Ultimate are available on demand. Still, they can be integrated into the development platform and scanned every time code is committed to the repository. This gives feedback with actionable insights into the security weaknesses in the code, enabling developers to fix the problems quickly. This service runs within the CI/CD framework included with GitLab Ultimate.
- Offers on-demand DAST for API verification
- Automatic dynamic and static testing of new code
- DevOps workflows
- Testing not included in the Free plan
GitLab Ultimate is also available for self-hosting on a Linux server or a cloud account. The package is offered on a 30-day free trial.
AppCheck is a SaaS platform that offers application security testing services. These are automated tools, but a penetration testing consultancy developed them, and they also offer their services for human-driven testing. However, penetration testing from a team is an expensive exercise and not intended for regular app testing.
- On-demand vulnerability scanning
- Automated AST
- Human pen-testers
The AppCheck automated testing services perform a mix of both DAST and SAST to create an IAST package. The tester can be plugged into a CI/CD workflow, and results can be channeled through project management tools, such as JIRA and Team City.
- Suitable for CI/CD pipeline integration
- Automated feedback flows
- Backed by cybersecurity experts
- No on-premises version
The AppCheck system is cloud-hosted, so there is nothing to install to use the service. However, you can test the service by accessing a free scan at the AppCheck website.
Invicti is a cloud platform that offers DAST. The company also provides an IAST package, which includes SAST code checking, but there isn’t a separate SAST-only plan available. Instead, customers can opt to get the code for the package and run it on their servers.
- Dynamic application security testing service
- IAST functions available
- Integrates with DevOps project management tool
- Feeds into issue trackers
- Choice of cloud-based or self-hosted
Effectively, the Invicti system is a vulnerability scanner specializing in checking Web applications’ operations. The system can be launched manually or plugged into a workflow to integrate it into a CI/CD pipeline.
This testing system looks at operating modules and uses AI procedures to identify potential security issues, which could lie with cohesion between functions. Hence, it needs to work while the applications are running. Other implementation options set the scanner through a standard CVE list of weaknesses.
- Discovers all supporting services, modules, and frameworks
- Observes Web applications in operation
- Zooms in on potential security weaknesses and scans code where possible
- Uses AI to spot potential security problems
- Integrates into CI/CD workflows
- Make sure you get the correct version
Invicti offers a range of options, including a vulnerability scanner, a unit tester, and an integrated tester for a CI/CD pipeline. As well as scanning for known vulnerabilities, this package can use AI to spot potential security loopholes in code. This is a great support system for developers and will improve programmers’ knowledge of avoiding creating insecure code.
There are three editions of Invicti. One is a straightforward vulnerability scanner, while the other two are suitable for DevOps teams. The on-premises version runs on Windows and Windows Server. You can assess Invicti by accessing a demo account.
Acunetix offers a vulnerability scanner and an IAST tool to integrate into a CI/CD pipeline. The IAST discovers all assets and then performs dynamic scans on them. Once a vulnerability has been identified, it zooms in and applies static scans to the code to define precisely which line needs to be fixed.
- Vulnerability scanner
- Code scanner
- Software composition analysis
- Development testing
- Use as a vulnerability scanner for IT Operations
- Integrate into a CI/CD pipeline
- Dependency mapping and component discovery
- Dynamic and static application security testing
- Editions are tailored to different purposes
Acunetix is delivered as a cloud service, but you can get the software and run it on your servers. The system will install on Windows, macOS, and Linux. But, first, access the demo system to assess Acunetix.
Checkmarx is a platform that delivers tools for developers and managers on app creation projects and systems for ongoing application verification that IT Operations technicians can use. The Checkmarx stable includes SAST for code checking and IAST for integrated testing in a CI/CD pipeline.
- Automated AST
- Software composition analysis
- Vulnerability scanning
The automated testing process will highlight security weaknesses in new code and register to rework with issue trackers, updating your project and team management workflows to reassess delivery timelines.
- On-demand scanning for OWASP Top 10
- Automated project guidance
- Choice of IAST, DAST, and SAST
- The IAST package is costly
The integrated development package of the IAST system from Checkmarx has a high price. Therefore, it will be more attractive to large software development organizations than small businesses and startups. The company also offers security coding training for programmers and a development framework called KICS.
Veracode offers a cloud platform that includes application security testing tools for development teams and IT Operations technicians. The platform consists of a discovery module that will let the buyers of Web and mobile applications discover all of the backend services that support their new software. Testing tools can be launched on-demand, on a schedule, or as part of a workflow.
- Manages test scripts
- Software composition analysis
- Penetration testing
Veracode provides a scripting language that enables customized testing and an automated DAST service. Developers get SAST, which can be launched on-demand or integrated into respiratory storing processes. In addition, software composition analysis lets system designers and IT operations technicians check through open-source modules for outdated code.
- Suitable for development teams
- Services for IT Operations technicians
- Exposes application dependencies
- No free trial
The Veracode cloud platform is straightforward to use. Both for on-demand testing and scheduled checks, the user just has to enter a URL in the screen of the testing dashboard. Veracldoe also offers the services of a penetration testing team. You can get a demo of the DAST system at the Veracode website.
7. HCL AppScan
AppScan is offered in four editions that provide SAST, DAST, IAST, and SCA for developers and IT operations teams. Additionally, this service has options for on-premises hosting and a SaaS package.
- On-demand code scanning
- Automated DAST
- Open source code verification
The DAST service is called AppScan Standard, and it is a software package that you host on Windows Server. This package is automated, and it can be run on a schedule by IT Operations teams or integrated into a CI/CD pipeline. AppScan Standard is available for a 30-day free trial. When used for live application testing, the service operates as a vulnerability scanner that includes searches for the OWASP Top 10. The results are reported with a severity score for resolution prioritization.
- A range of application testing services
- A package option that includes all testing strategies
- Code checking for developers
- Customizable testing options take time to comprehend fully.
AppScan Source is a service for programmers. This is a SAST service, and it includes AI interpolation to spot incremental steps that could result in security weaknesses. This service catches design faults early, thus, saving development costs. This is also an on-premises system for Windows Server. The AppScan Enterprise edition includes all of AppScan Standard and AppScan Source features. This plan is available for a 30-day free trial.
A SaaS version of AppScan Enterprise is available, and that is called AppScan On Cloud.
8. Hdiv Detection (IAST)
Hdiv Detection identifies the connections between Web applications and scours for all supporting modules. This IAST package combines code analysis and vulnerability scanning through a proprietary methodology called the runtime dataflow technique.
- Dependency tracking
- Code analysis
- Vulnerability prioritization
This system includes SAST processes, and it is better suited to DevOps environments because the package requires access to code to complete its scans. This is a cloud system, and it involves the installation of an agent on your application server.
- Combines runtime and code checks
- Cloud-based centralized system
- Provides code-level advice for programmers
- Not suitable for IT Operations
This is an excellent, IAST helpful solution to businesses that produce Web applications. In addition, you can access an online demo to assess the service.