SAST (Static Application Security Testing) and DAST (Dynamic Application Security Testing) are two methods used to identify security vulnerabilities in software applications. Here’s a brief overview of each:

SAST (Static Application Security Testing)

  • Definition: SAST is a method of security testing that analyzes source code, byte code, or binary code to find security vulnerabilities without executing the program.
  • How it Works: It involves scanning the application’s codebase to detect vulnerabilities such as SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS), buffer overflows, and more.
  • When it is Used: Typically used early in the development process during the coding and unit testing phases.
  • Benefits:
    • Finds issues early in the development lifecycle.
    • Provides detailed insights into the exact location of vulnerabilities in the code.
    • Can be integrated into the CI/CD pipeline for continuous testing.

DAST (Dynamic Application Security Testing)

  • Definition: DAST is a method of security testing that involves testing an application in its running state to identify vulnerabilities.
  • How it Works: It simulates external attacks on a live application to find issues such as authentication problems, injection flaws, configuration errors, and more.
  • When it is Used: Usually conducted later in the development lifecycle, during functional testing or post-deployment.
  • Benefits:
    • Tests the application in a real-world scenario.
    • Does not require access to the source code.
    • Can identify issues that arise only during runtime.

Key Differences

  • Testing Stage: SAST is performed on static code and is generally done early in the development process, whereas DAST tests the application in its running state, typically later in the development cycle.
  • Approach: SAST looks for vulnerabilities within the code itself, while DAST examines the application from the outside by simulating attacks.
  • Scope: SAST provides detailed insights into code issues, while DAST focuses on the application’s behavior and its interaction with external elements.

Both SAST and DAST are complementary and together provide a comprehensive approach to identifying and mitigating security vulnerabilities in software applications.

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