10 Types of Application Security Testing Tools: When and How to Use Them
Bugs and weaknesses in the software are common: 84 percent of software violations exploit vulnerabilities at the application layer. The prevalence of software-related difficulties is a key motivation for applying application security testing (AST) tools. With an increasing number of application security testing tools available, it can be complicated for information technology (IT) leaders, developers, and engineers to identify which tools address which issues.
The major motivation for using AST tools is that manual code inspections and traditional test plans are time-consuming, and new vulnerabilities are constantly being included or discovered. In many areas, there are regulatory and compliance directives that mandate the usage of AST tools.
There are many advantages to using AST tools, which improve the speed, efficiency, and coverage ways for testing applications. The tests they conduct are repeatable and scale well–once a test case is generated in a tool, it can be performed against many lines of code with a small incremental cost. AST tools are efficient at detecting known vulnerabilities, issues, and weaknesses, and they allow users to triage and analyze their findings. They can also be practiced in the remediation workflow, particularly in verification, and they can be utilized to correlate and recognize trends and patterns.
Guide to Application Security Testing Tools
Static Application Security Testing (SAST)
SAST tools can be considered as white-hat or white-box testing, where the tester has the information about the system or software being tested, including an architecture diagram, access to source code, etc. SAST tools analyze source code (at rest) to identify and report weaknesses that can drive security vulnerabilities.
Source-code analyzers can operate on non-compiled code to examine for defects such as numerical errors, input validation, race situations, path traversals, pointers and recommendations, and more. Binary and byte-code analyzers do the alike on developed and compiled code. Some tools operate on source code only, some on compiled code only, and some on both.
Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST)
DAST tools apply to fuzz: throwing recognized invalid and unexpected test cases at an application, usually in large volume.
Origin Analysis/Software Composition Analysis (SCA)
Software-governance processes that depend on manual review are likely to fail. SCA tools examine software to determine the sources of all elements and libraries within the software. These tools are very efficient at identifying and discovering vulnerabilities in common and popular components, especially open-source components. They do not, however, detect vulnerabilities for an in-house custom-developed element.SCA tools are most efficient in discovering common and popular libraries and components, particularly open-source pieces. They work by comparing known modules discovered in code to a list of known vulnerabilities. The SCA tools detect components that have known and documented vulnerabilities and will often advise if parts are out of date or have patches available.
Database Security Scanning
The SQL Slammer worm of 2003 used a known vulnerability in a database management system that had a patch issued more than one year before the attack. Although databases are not regularly considered part of an application, application developers usually rely heavily on the database, and applications can usually gradually affect databases. Database-security-scanning tools review updated pieces and versions, weak passwords, configuration mistakes, access control list (ACL) issues, and more. Some tools can work logs looking for different patterns or actions, such as excessive administrative actions.
Database scanners usually run on the static data that is at rest while the database-management system is working. Some scanners can observe data that is in transition.
Interactive Application Security Testing (IAST) and Hybrid Tools
Hybrid strategies have been developed for a long time, but more recently have been classified and discussed using the word IAST. IAST tools utilize a combination of static and dynamic analysis methods. They can test whether acknowledged vulnerabilities in code are truly exploitable in the running application.
IAST tools use the information of application flow and data flow to build advanced attack scenarios and use dynamic study results recursively: as a dynamic scan is being implemented, the tool will discover things about the application based on how it reacts to test cases.
Mobile Application Security Testing (MAST)
MAST Tools are a combination of static, dynamic, and forensics analysis. They perform some of the same functions as conventional static and dynamic analyzers but allow mobile code to be worked through many of those analyzers as well. MAST tools have specialized features that concentrate on issues particular to mobile applications, such as jail-breaking or rooting of the device, tricked WI-FI connections, checking and validation of certificates, blocking of data leakage, and more.
Application Security Testing as a Service (ASTaaS)
As the name implies, with ASTaaS, you give someone to conduct security testing on your application. The service will normally be a combination of static and dynamic analysis, testing of application programming interfaces (APIs), risk assessments, and more. ASTaaS can be practiced on traditional applications, particularly mobile and web apps.
Dealing with wrong positives is a big problem in application security testing. Correlation tools can help overcome some of the noise by implementing a central repository for findings from other AST tools.
Different AST tools will have several findings, so correlation tools associate and analyze results from various AST tools and help with validation and prioritization of findings, including remediation workflows. Whereas some correlation tools incorporate code scanners, they are beneficial mainly for sending findings from other tools.
Test-coverage analyzers estimate how much of the complete program code has been analyzed. The results can be given in terms of statement coverage (a portion of lines of code tested) or branch coverage (a portion of available paths tested).
For large applications, acceptable levels of coverage can be defined in advance and then matched to the results generated by test-coverage analyzers to stimulate the testing-and-release process. These tools can also identify if particular lines of code or branches of logic are not actually able to be given during program execution, which is an ineffective and potential security concern. Some SAST tools include this functionality in their products, but standalone products also exist.
Application Security Testing Orchestration (ASTO)
ASTO integrates security tooling over a software development lifecycle (SDLC). While the word ASTO is newly published by Gartner since this is a growing field, there are devices that have been arranging ASTO already, mainly those generated by correlation-tool vendors. The purpose of ASTO is to have central, coordinated management and recording of all the different AST tools operating in an ecosystem. It is still too early to identify if the term and product lines will continue, but as automated testing becomes more ubiquitous, ASTO does satisfy a requirement.
Wrapping Up and Looking Ahead
In the long run, including AST tools in the development process should save time and effort on re-work by detecting issues earlier. In practice, however, performing AST tools requires some primary investment of time and resources.
After you start using AST tools, they can generate lots of results, and someone must maintain and act on them. TestUnity experts understand that data security holds both customer’s confidence and your business’s status and integrity. Connect with our experts to ensure that there will not be an inch of a space left for any kind of compromise in the security of the network.