A Guide To Interactive Application Security Testing (IAST)
The landscape of web application security is constantly changing, but so are the security tools we have for confronting these threats. Integrated Application Security Testing represents the latest advancement in security tools for web app developers.
IAST is built on the exciting premise of offering real-time analysis of security vulnerabilities with code-level specifics in the IAST reporting. IAST is also purpose-built to be a continual security tool that operates alongside your web app.
This guide covers all of the basics that dev and security teams should know about IAST.
What is IAST
Interactive application security testing analyzes the code of your web application while it is running and being tested by automated software testers or human agents. The goal of IAST is to provide a continuous flow of information to development and security teams so that you can correct potential threats to your application before they become active threats.
IAST is part of the growing effort to move web application development leftward. IAST is run during the quality assurance stage of development which only further helps catch potential threats before they become public facing.
IAST is an iteration on both DAST and SAST.
IAST VS DAST and SAST
IAST offers nuanced advantages over DAST and SAST.
IAST has advantages over DAST when it comes to operating in continuous development environments. It is also capable of identifying specific lines of code that are responsible for vulnerabilities which is something that DAST cannot accomplish.
IAST is also capable of accomplishing most of what SAST can do when it comes to security analysis. IAST has similar abilities to analyze vulnerabilities in your basecode, but does not offer as granular analysis of basecode as SAST. IAST does have the advantage of being able to check objects outside of your source code which gives it an important advantage over SAST.
The Advantages of IAST
IAST has been making waves by offering advantages for today’s continues development environments. These advantages help to set IAST apart from DAST and SAST.
A Continuity of Security
Traditional security testing for web applications typically slows down the development cycle. These tests are designed to pause development, be conducted, and then reviewed. IAST was built to be integrated into continuous or agile development cycles.
IAST can run seamlessly alongside your current quality assurance testing. This means you can integrate IAST into your development schedule without causing additional down time.
The types of tests you can run with IAST also provide feedback in real time. This lets your team address issues in the application as they arise rather than waiting at for the next scheduled cycle of tests.
Better Security Coverage
IAST simply offers the best coverage when it comes time to run automated security testing on your web application. IAST is capable of working in a runtime environment while also giving you the specific lines of code responsible for errors. This means that IAST is capable of identifying code level problems that DAST can’t see while also being able to interact with libraries and other objects that are beyond the purview of SAST.
IAST aims to offer total security coverage in one test.
IAST is Emerging as a New Standard
One of the largest advantages when it comes to IAST is that it seems to replace DAST while still offering much of the services that SAST can accomplish. With the additional ability to be integrated into a continuous development environment, IAST is positioning itself to be the future of web application security testing.
Why is IAST Important for Your Web Application’s Security
The best time to fix a problem is before it becomes a problem. IAST allows you to spot potential security threats in your web application much earlier in the development cycle. It’s simpler, and less costly, to resolve these security issues sooner rather than later.
Both DAST and SAST are already known for their false positives and false negatives. IAST is much newer, but it already has a strong reputation for a much higher standard of accuracy. This eliminates any costly work spent detouring into fixing something that isn’t broken.
IAST is a new standard for web application security testing. This test provides more accurate data in real-time, and it can be operated much earlier in the development cycle. IAST is a critical security tool for CI/CD and other, more dynamic, application environments.