IAST vs. DAST – Exploring the Differences

【DAST vs IAST】Differences and Definitions

Nov 29, 2022

9 min read

Sudip Sengupta

In this article:

Application Security Testing (AST) techniques help make an application resilient to security vulnerabilities by identifying potential threats in the application source code. Modern security testing mechanisms are determined by how they operate and inspect application vulnerabilities. These include Static Application Security Testing (SAST), Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST), Interactive Application Testing (IAST), and Runtime Application Self-Protection (RASP), among others.

This article compares the IAST vs. DAST testing approaches, how they differ, and the benefits of using these techniques for actionable and scalable application testing.

What is IAST?

Interactive Application Security Testing (IAST) helps identify application runtime issues by interacting with its core functionality. The testing mechanism deploys sensors and agents in the application’s runtime environment for iterative, real-time detection of exploitable vulnerabilities while pinpointing the relevant lines of code and providing actionable remediation advice. 

Traditional testing methods only provide a snapshot of an application’s security posture, making them unsuitable for testing modern, agile software development environments. In contrast, IAST employs a continuous, hybrid testing approach that merges static and dynamic testing techniques to perform real-time analysis of application flaws.

Since agents and sensors are running from within the application, they are considered to extract insightful data to help detect malicious activity and vulnerabilities in code. This data includes:

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