Imagine you are a business owner and one day an attacker hacks into your website and steals all your customer data. This nightmare scenario can be prevented by doing dynamic application scanning. Dynamic application scanning is the process of identifying vulnerabilities in web applications during runtime.
It is a more comprehensive and proactive approach to security than traditional penetration testing because it identifies vulnerabilities that may not be found during a manual assessment. In this blog post, we will discuss the features of dynamic application scanning, checklists for doing it right, and tools you can use to get started. We will also explore the merits and demerits of dynamic application scanning, as well as some alternatives to consider.
Dynamic application scanning can be used to identify a wide variety of vulnerabilities, including:
- SQL injection: This is a type of attack where an attacker inserts malicious SQL code into an input field in order to access sensitive data from a database.
- Cross-site scripting: This is a type of attack where an attacker injects malicious code into a web page in order to execute it on the victim’s browser.
- Credential stuffing: This is a type of attack where an attacker uses a list of stolen usernames and passwords to gain unauthorized access to accounts.
- Insecure communications: This is a type of vulnerability that can occur when data is transmitted over an insecure network or protocol.
- Unsafe deserialization: This is a type of vulnerability that can occur when untrusted data is deserialized by an application.
- Server-side request forgery: This is a type of attack where an attacker tricks a server into making a malicious request on their behalf.
Not only can dynamic application scanning help you find vulnerabilities that static analysis may miss, but it can also provide valuable insights into how an attacker could exploit those vulnerabilities. This information can be used to prioritize remediation efforts and make your applications more secure.
If you are new to dynamic application scanning, we recommend checking out the following resources:
-The OWASP Testing Guide – This guide provides a comprehensive overview of web application security testing.
-The Web Application Hacker’s Handbook – This book is considered the bible of web application hacking and covers a wide range of topics, including dynamic application scanning.
-Burp Suite – Burp Suite is a popular tool for performing dynamic application scans. It has a free version that can be used for personal projects and a paid version with more features for professional engagements.
To get the most out of dynamic application scanning, there are a few things you should keep in mind:
–Select the right tools: Next, you need to select the right tools for the job. There are many different dynamic application scanners available, so it’s important to choose one that meets your specific needs.
–Configure the scanner: Once you’ve selected a scanner, you need to configure it properly. This includes setting the correct scan parameters and providing authentication information, if necessary.
–Run the scanner: After the scanner is configured, you can run it against your web application. The scanner will then identify any vulnerabilities that are present.
–Identify the risks: First, you need to identify the risks associated with your web application. This will help you prioritize which vulnerabilities to focus on.
–Scan regularly and often. The more frequently you scan the more up-to-date your information will be.
–Schedule scans during off-peak hours to minimize the impact on performance.
–Investigate and remediate any high severity findings immediately.
–Integrate dynamic application scanning into your overall security program. Doing so will help ensure that vulnerabilities are found and fixed in a timely manner.
–Fix the vulnerabilities: Finally, you need to fix the vulnerabilities that were identified by the scanner. This includes patching any code flaws and implementing security controls to prevent future attacks.
There are a number of tools available for performing dynamic application scanning, including:
- Burp Suite
- Astra’s Pentest Suite
- Zed Attack
- WebInspect by HPE
- AppSpider by RapidSeven
Dynamic application scanning is a valuable addition to any security program, but it is not without its drawbacks. Some of the benefits of dynamic application scanning include:
- The ability to find vulnerabilities that may be missed by static analysis
- Insights into how an attacker could exploit vulnerabilities
- Can help prioritize remediation efforts
Some of the drawbacks of dynamic application scanning include:
- False positives can be a problem if not configured correctly
- May miss some types of vulnerabilities
- Can be time-consuming and resource-intensive
If you’re looking for alternatives to dynamic application scanning, consider:
–Static code analysis: This approach can find many of the same types of vulnerabilities as dynamic application scanning but without the need for running applications.
–Penetration testing: This approach can be used to identify vulnerabilities in applications, but may miss some types of vulnerabilities.
–Security audits: This approach can help you assess the overall security of your applications, but will not find vulnerabilities.
Dynamic application scanning is a valuable tool for finding vulnerabilities in web applications. However, it is important to select the right tool for the job and to configure it properly. Additionally, dynamic application scanning should be just one part of your overall security program. Hope this article has been adequately informative!
Author Bio: Ankit Pahuja is the Marketing Lead & 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 2 years makes him the perfect T-shaped marketing professional. Ankit is an avid speaker in the security space and has delivered various talks in top companies, early-age startups, and online events. You can connect with him on Linkedin.
If you like the content, we would appreciate your support by buying us a coffee. Thank you so much for your visit and support.