Security Audit

14 Best Dynamic Application Security Testing Software [DAST Tools] in 2024

Updated on: January 29, 2024

14 Best Dynamic Application Security Testing Software [DAST Tools] in 2024

A deep dive into popular Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) software, with their services and key features for you to compare and pick from:

Dynamic Application Security Testing is the process of testing the security of an application in the production stage. A DAST tool can test an application just with the app URL and the credentials to scan behind the logged-in pages.

List of DAST Testing Tools

  1. Astra Pentest
  2. OWASP Zap
  3. W3AF
  4. Nikto
  5. InsightAppSec
  6. Netsparker
  7. Nessus
  8. Acunetix
  9. Indusface WAS
  10. StackHawk

Why Do You Need Dynamic Application Security Testing [Dast] Tool

Dynamic application security testing (DAST) is a process of finding security vulnerabilities while the application is in the production phase. DAST is a proactive measure to keep your applications and data safe from hackers. DAST is not just limited to finding security vulnerabilities or coding errors, but it also covers all the aspects of the application, such as data validation, business logic, etc.

Dynamic application security testing is a relatively new testing practice that focuses on assessing the security of software applications at runtime. DAST tools are application security testing tools that can scan an app in the production stage. So what are the benefits? 

  1. DAST Tools Works on Real-World Threats: Unlike static application security testing (SAST), which is usually focused on known vulnerabilities, dynamic application security testing (DAST) uses the real-time environment to find vulnerabilities that are not known. 
  2. DAST Tools Can Find More Vulnerabilities: DAST solutions can be used to test every feature of an application. Most Dynamic Application Security Testing Tools or scanners come with a set of rules to scan and find security risks.
  3. Less False Positives: DAST solutions provide the most accurate and comprehensive coverage for your app. False positives are reduced to a minimum and are determined by DAST scanners rather than discovered during the manual review.
Benefits of Dynamic Application Security Testing  tools
Image: Benefits of DAST Tools

How to Choose The DAST Tool For Your Web Application

DAST (Dynamic Application Security Testing) tools are automated tools that scan for vulnerabilities in web applications. But not all these tools are the same, and not all of them will be useful to your business. If you’re considering buying an automated Dynamic application security testing tool, there are a few points you should keep in mind before committing.

1. Easy to Navigate

Make sure the Dynamic Application Security Testing tool is easy to keep and can be used by most of your team members. Navigation is an issue with some tools that can make the experience of application scanning a difficult. 

2. In-Depth Report

 The DAST tool should provide you with an in-depth scan report that includes risk-based scoring for prioritization of vulnerabilities for an easier remediation process. 

3. Human Support 

The DAST tool should have human support to help with your queries. Security experts can help you with any queries or doubts you may have regarding the vulnerability scan, reports, and remediation process. 

4. Reputation

Check the market reputation of the external service provider. This can be done through testimonials within the website, or through reputed review sites. 

5. Integrations 

Understand how easily Dynamic Application Security Testing Tools can be integrated with your software development life cycle (SDLC). 

These pointers will help you avoid common pitfalls in the buying process and ensure you get the most out of your investment.

14 Best DAST Tools [Reviewed]

Here’s a list of DAST tools comparison to help you make the right choice. 

Category 1- Ultimate DAST Testing Tool

1. Astra Pentest

Features

  • Scanner Capacity: Web and Mobile Applications, Cloud Infrastructure, API, and Networks
  • Manual Pentest: Yes
  • Accuracy: Zero False Positives Assured (Vetted Scans)
  • Vulnerability Management:  Remediation Assistance, Detailed Reports, POC videos
  • Compliance: GDPR, ISO 27001, HIPAA, PCI-DSS, SOC 2
  • Price: Starts at $199/month or $ 1,999/ year

Astra Pentest is a gem among DAST scanning tools that anyone can use to detect vulnerabilities in their application. It is a cloud-based application that can be accessed anywhere with an internet connection and runs on any platform. 

Additional features of  Astra Pentest include

Astra Vulnerability Scanner

The DAST scanner also provides continuous scanning facilities with its comprehensive scanner that is capable of conducting more the 8000 tests to find any and every hidden vulnerability.

It offers deep scans for web applications, APIs, networks, mobile applications, and cloud infrastructure at a cost.

Regular Penetration Tests

Astra Pentest also provides hacker-style automated and manual pentests which are performed by security experts. Continuous penetration tests help identify and exploit the vulnerabilities found through vulnerability scans. 

Detailed Reports

Once this DAST solution completes vulnerability scanning, a detailed and customizable report that mentions its CVSS score and Astra goes a step further by providing customers with an actionable vulnerability risk score based on which critical vulnerabilities can be prioritized. 

Intuitive Dashboard (CXO friendly)

Astra Pentest boasts a CXO-friendly dashboard that is super easy to navigate. Members of the development team can be added to the dashboard to collaborate with pentesters.

The dashboard also offers the option to comment under each vulnerability so that the development team can clear queries quickly.

CI/CD Integrations

Astra offers CI/CD integration that helps companies move from DevOps To DevSecOps, thus giving more priority to security within every phase of a project’s development. It offers integrations with Slack, GitHub, and GitLab to name a few. 

Compliance-specific Scans

Astra offers specific compliance scans for your organization. It provides a compliance-specific dashboard where you can opt for the specific compliance to scan for. 

Once the scan is complete the results reveal the areas of non-compliance. Compliance-specific scans provided by Astra include PCI-DSS, HIPAA, SOC2, ISO 27001, and GDPR. 

Remediation Support

Once vulnerability scanning with Astra is complete Astra also provides detailed steps for remediation based on risk prioritization. This is done with the aid of POC videos and collaboration within the vulnerability dashboard.

Pros

  • Continuous proactive security testing
  • Scan behind logged-in pages
  • Zero false positives
  • Optimized pentest for single-page apps

Cons

  • No free trial
  • Minimal numbers of integration

Astra Pentest is built by the team of experts that secured Microsoft, Adobe, Facebook, and Buffer

We are also available on weekends 😊

Category 2- Open Source DAST Testing Tools

2. OWASP Zap

OWASP ZAP

Features: 

  • Scanner Capacity: Web application security testing, network ports, and API testing
  • Manual Pentest: Yes (Used by experts to carry it out)
  • Accuracy: False positives possible
  • Scan Behind Logins: Yes
  • Vulnerability Management:  No
  • Compliance: OWASP
  • Price: Open-Source

One of the best open-source DAST tools is OWASP ZAP. This is an OWASP project that acts as a web application security testing tool. It is an open-source tool that provides a scanner and an integrated development environment (IDE) to find many application security risks. 

Well-known among free tools for DAST, this DAST security tool is used to scan any application hosted locally or on a web server. It can be used by anyone interested in finding the security loopholes in a web application. The scanner is coded in Java, and it is a tool that can be used in any operating system.

They provide authenticated scans, have add-ons for API testing, and also provided dynamic application scanning. 

Pros

  • Open source software
  • Large community with lots of contributors.
  • Wide range of security testing features such as active and passive scans, web socket testing and more. 
  • Reporting features are customizable

Cons

  • Automated scanning comes with limitations such as lack of comprehensive coverage, and undetectability of new vulnerabilities.
  • It can be complicated for beginners
  • Outdated user interface.

3. W3AF

w3af

Features: 

  • Scanner Capacity: Web applications
  • Manual Pentest: No
  • Accuracy: False positives possible
  • Scan Behind Logins: Yes
  • Vulnerability Management:  No
  • Compliance: Not Provided
  • Price: Open-Source

W3AF is an open-source DAST tool and is a Web Application Attack and Audit Framework. The framework is extensible with modules designed to be easy to configure and extend. 

The framework can either be used in a manual or automated way by using the API in the Python language.

Key features include ease of expansion, Cookie handling and Proxy support. 

Pros 

  • Easy-to-use for beginners
  • Available freely.

Cons

  • False positives are a possibility.
  • GUI can be difficult to navigate.

4. Nikto

Features: 

  • Scanner Capacity: Web server scans
  • Manual Pentest: No
  • Accuracy: False positives possible
  • Scan Behind Logins: Yes
  • Vulnerability Management:  No
  • Compliance: No
  • Price: Open-Source (GPL)

Another winner among free DAST tools is Nikto an open-source web server scanner that performs comprehensive tests against web servers for multiple items. 

This includes over 6700 potentially dangerous files/programs, checks for outdated server versions, and version-specific problems on over 270 server versions. 

The server versions scanned by this DAST vendor are Apache, MySQL, FTP, ProFTPd, Courier, Netscape, iPlanet, Lotus, BIND, MyDoom, and more. 

Key features include scans for 6000+ vulnerabilities and the detection of version-specific problems. 

Pros

  • Checks for 6000+ vulnerabilities
  • Detects version-specific problems

Cons

  • False positives are present.
  • The tool is resource intensive and can result in slow scans
  • Limited reporting capacities. 
  • Lacks customer support. 

Category 3- Paid or Commercial DAST Tools

5. InsightAppSec

rapid7

Features: 

  • Scanner Capacity: Web applications
  • Manual Pentest: No
  • Accuracy: False Positives Possible
  • Scan Behind Logins: Yes
  • Vulnerability Management: Yes  
  • Compliance: No
  • Cost: $175/month/app

InsightAppSec is a dynamic application security testing (DAST) solution by Rapid7. It provides customers with a modern approach to application security.

Automatic assessment of modern web apps is carried out to find vulnerabilities and comes with fewer false positives. 

InsightAppSec tests for more than 95 attacks, including the OWASP Top Ten and other major security vulnerabilities.

Key features for this top DAST tool include testing for more than 95 attacks, minimal false positives, and coverage of OWASP top 10. 

Pros

  • Great scanning abilities that help meet compliance requirements.
  • Their services are easy to use.
  • The services are scalable based on customer requirements.

Cons

  • Scanned applications can only be removed manually. 
  • Inadequate customer support satisfaction. 

6. Netsparker (Invicti)

Invicti

Features: 

  • Scanner Capacity: Web applications and APIs
  • Manual Pentest: No
  • Accuracy: False Positives Possible
  • Scan Behind Logins: No
  • Vulnerability Management: Yes  
  • Compliance: PCI-DSS, HIPAA, OWASP, ISO 27001
  • Price: Quote on Request

Next on the list of DAST tools is Netsparker or Invicti. Netsparker is a powerful, automated web application security scanner. It is the de-facto standard for detecting, locating, and reporting application security risks. 

The DAST platform is used by developers, auditors, and security professionals to improve the security of web applications.

It is capable of scanning apps regardless of the tech stack and provides automated web app scanning.

Pros:

  • Automated remediation workflows for mid-sized businesses with approximately 100 web applications.
  • IAST enabled scans

Cons:

  • Slows down while scanning large applications

7. Nessus

Nessus

Features: 

  • Platform: Windows, macOS
  • Scanner Capacity: Web applications
  • Manual pentest: No
  • Accuracy: False positives possible
  • Vulnerability management: Yes (Additional Cost)
  • Compliance: HIPAA, ISO, NIST, PCI-DSS
  • Price:  $5,880.20/ year

One of the best DAST tools, Nessus aims to simplify vulnerability assessments and make remediation more efficient.

Tenable Nessus helps you extend your security assessment from traditional IT assets to cloud infrastructures. It keeps the zero false positives low while also covering a wide range of vulnerabilities.

Out of all the names in the DAST tools list, Nessus can test your systems for 65k vulnerabilities and allows efficient vulnerability assessment.
Pros

  • Has a free version.
  • Accurate identification of vulnerabilities.
  • Good automated penetration testing tool. 

Cons

  • The free version does not have a lot of features.
  • The commercialized version can be expensive.

8. Acunetix

Acunetix

Features:

  • Scanner Capacity: Web applications
  • Manual Pentests: No
  • Accuracy: False positives eliminated with proof of exploit
  • Scan Behind Logins: Yes
  • Compliance: ISO 27001, PCI-DSS, NIST
  • Expert Remediation: Yes
  • Pricing: Quote on Request

Well-known among DAST security testing tools, Acunetix provides dynamic application security testing and is a commercial product made by Invicti, and it is available in both a desktop version and a cloud version. 

Acunetix is an automated tool that can crawl your site, identify vulnerabilities and allow you to fix them before your site is hacked.

This fully automated web vulnerability scanning tool is capable of detecting over 4500 vulnerabilities which include variants of SQL and  XSS injections.

Pros:

  • Provides an inventory of assets. 
  • Fully automated vulnerability scanner
  • Optimizable for different platforms
  • Detects over 7000 vulnerabilities
  • Easy to schedule scans.  
  • Scans across environments and behind logins. 

Cons:

  • Difficult to add users
  • Can be an expensive solution
  • The interface isn’t fresh
  • Vulnerability PoCs are too complex

9. Indusface WAS

Indusface WAS

Features: 

  • Scanner Capacity: Web and mobile applications, APIs
  • Manual Pentest: Yes
  • Accuracy: Zero false positives 
  • Scan Behind Logins: Yes
  • Vulnerability Management: Yes 
  • Compliance: PCI-DSS, ISO 27001
  • Price: $ 199/app/month – yearly-Premium plan

Indusface WAS is one of the popular DAST solutions that comes with an automated vulnerability scanner coupled with manual pentesting capabilities. It offers visibility into OWASP top 10 vulnerabilities as well as business logic errors. 

They promise zero false positives. The scan reports come with remediation guidance so that the developers can implement fixes quickly.

Pros

  • Assured zero false positives through zero-day protection. 
  • Helps achieve compliance with regulations like PCI-DSS and ISO 27001. 
  • Malware monitoring and blacklisting detections possible.
  • It has an executive dashboard that provides necessary information.

Cons

  • Reports are difficult to understand.

10. StackHawk

stackhawk

Features: 

  • Scanner Capacity: APIs, websites
  • Manual Pentest: No
  • Accuracy: False positives possible
  • Scan Behind Logins: Yes
  • Vulnerability Management: No 
  • Compliance: SOC2 
  • Price: $59/month

StackHawk is a DAST tool for DevSecOps specifically designed for automating security testing within the CI/CD pipeline. 

It helps you code securely and protects you from pushing vulnerable code into production.

Other products include developer-centric application security, API security testing, and graphQL security testing. 

Base plan for this tool is free and provides unlimited scans for 1 application. 

Pros

  • Great user interface
  • Supports GraphQL scanning
  • Can create custom test scripts to test business specific cases. 
  • Good reporting PDF template
  • Easy to integrate into CI/CD pipeline

Cons

  • Scans can be time taking

11. Veracode

veracode

Features: 

  • Scanner Capacity: Web applications
  • Manual Pentest: Yes
  • Accuracy: False positives possible
  • Scan Behind Logins: Yes
  • Vulnerability Management: Yes
  • Compliance: NIST, PCI, OWASP, HIPAA, GDPR
  • Price: Quote upon request

Veracode is DAST provider that allows you to scan hundreds of internet-facing assets simultaneously. It promises less than 1% false positives and helps you with the remediation process.

The tool simulates hacker behavior to detect hidden vulnerabilities and can test applications across languages.

It also provides precise remediation information. 

Pros 

  • Offers DAST, SAST, and penetration testing services.
  • Provides detailed and comprehensive reports.
  • Provides automated remediation assistance.

Cons

  • Zero false positives are not assured. 
  • Could improve its user interface 
  • Can be difficult for beginners. 

12. AppKnox

Appknox

Features: 

  • Scanner Capacity: Mobile applications, APIs.
  • Manual Pentest: Yes
  • Accuracy: Less than 1% false positives
  • Scan Behind Logins: Yes 
  • Vulnerability Management:  No
  • Compliance: HIPAA, PCI, GDPR, OWASP
  • Price: Quote on request

AppKnox is a DAST scanning tool designed for scanning mobile applications. It is a great tool for API security testing. Overall a great tool for securing internet-facing assets.

This DAST platform also provides manual penetration tests as well as vulnerability assessments.  

Pros 

  • Provides App scans, dynamic scans and API scans.
  • Covers 140+ test cases
  • Quick vulnerability scanning
  • Less than 1% false positives

Cons

  • Reporting only available in PDF formats
  • False positives possible
  • No AWS integration.

13. Checkmarx

Checkmarx

Features: 

  • Scanner Capacity: Web applications
  • Manual Pentest: No
  • Accuracy: False positives possible
  • Scan Behind Logins: No
  • Vulnerability Management: No  
  • Compliance: PCI-DSS, ISO27001
  • Price: Quote on request

Checkmarx is an enterprise-grade software exposure tool used by over 14000 organizations worldwide including government bodies. 

It is a formidable DAST software that helps you build secure coding practices.

They have put solid research behind the product and has a pool of experienced security and technology professionals backing their services up. 

Besides being one of the best DAST tools, Checkmarx also provides SAST, SCA, IAST, IAC solutions. 

Pros

  • Can test for a wide range of security risks and is very integrated with GitHub Actions. 
  • Scanner uses a configuration file so the users can easily customize the scanner based on the use case. 
  • Provides detailed well structured reports

Cons

  • Scans take time
  • False positives possible

14. Burp Suite

burpsuite

Features: 

  • Platform: Windows, macOS
  • Scanner Capacity: Web applications
  • Manual pentest: Yes
  • Accuracy: False positives possible
  • Vulnerability management: No
  • Compliance:  PCI-DSS, OWASP Top 10, HIPAA, GDPR
  • Price:  $449/per user/per year

Burp Suite is one of the DAST security testing tools that are very useful for ethical hackers, pentesters, and security engineers. Let us explore some of the tools included in Burp Suite.

  • Spider: It is a web crawler used for mapping the target application. You can create an inventory of all the endpoints, monitor their functionalities, and look for vulnerabilities with Spider.
  • Proxy: A proxy is placed between the browser and the internet to monitor, and modify the in-transit requests and responses.
  • Intruder: It runs a set of values through an input point and lets you analyze the output for success, failure, and content length.

These aside the suite includes Repeater, Sequencer, Decoder, Extender, and some other add-on tools.

Burp Suite has both a free community edition and a commercial edition.

Pros

  • Has both open-source and commercial editions.
  • User-friendly interface.
  • Best internal penetration testing tools. 

Cons

  • Requires better integrations.
  • The commercial product is pricey.
  • The free version has fewer features.

Comparison Table of Best DAST Software

$1,999/year
$4,495/year
$5,880.20/year
Pricing
Pricing
$1,999/year
$4,495/year
$5,880.20/year
Scan Behind Login
Scan Behind Login
✔️
✔️
Pentesting By Security Experts
Pentesting By Security Experts
✔️
Number of Vulnerability Scans
Number of Vulnerability Scans
Unlimited
Unlimited
Limited
Continuous Automated Scanning
Continuous Automated Scanning
✔️
✔️
✔️
Zero false positive with vetted scans
Zero false positive with vetted scans
✔️
✔️
Cloud security review for GCP/Azure/AWS
Cloud security review for GCP/Azure/AWS
✔️
✔️
Compliance reporting
Compliance reporting
✔️
✔️
✔️
Publicly verifiable pentest certificate
Publicly verifiable pentest certificate
✔️
Collaboration with expert pentesters
Collaboration with expert pentesters
✔️
Remediation support within 24 hours
Remediation support within 24 hours
✔️
✔️
✔️
Integrations
Integrations
✔️
✔️
✔️
Continuous compliance scanning
Continuous compliance scanning
✔️
✔️
✔️
Actionable vulnerability risk scoring
Actionable vulnerability risk scoring
✔️
✔️
✔️

SAST vs DAST – Differences 

SAST vs DAST

This section aims to highlight the differences between SAST and DAST tools. 

Static Application Security Testing (SAST)

  • Static Application Security Testing (SAST) is a specialized application testing that analyzes an application’s source code without executing it.
  • SAST is also known as code review, source code analysis, or white box testing. 
  • The testing is performed on the static source code (hence the term “static”) to ensure that it doesn’t allow for any vulnerabilities.
  • The weaknesses can include missing security checks, unsafe usage of cryptographic functions, and poor input validation.

Dynamic Application Security Testing  (DAST)

  • Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) involves the inspection of the functionality of an application. 
  • DAST evaluates the security of the application, particularly in response to malicious attacks. 
  • DAST is used from a black-box perspective, meaning it tests from the outside in, not from the inside out. 
  • This allows for a more significant number of vulnerabilities to be detected and more applications to be tested.

Conclusion

DAST tools and their capacity to test for vulnerabilities in the real-time environment are valuable in terms of finding vulnerabilities in a live application. If you aren’t sure about where to start in your DAST scanning journey, we’ve mentioned some stellar open-source DAST tools to get you started. 

This article has also mentioned some of the most prominent DAST tools in terms of services offered, reputation, scanning, and reporting capabilities. With so many different types of Dynamic Application Security Testing solutions available, it can be difficult to know what types of solutions are available, what they can do, and which one is the best fit for your organization.

This article and its DAST tools comparison will make it easier for you to make an informed decision.

FAQ’s

1. What are Dynamic application security testing Tools?

Dynamic analysis security testing tools, or DAST tools are applications that are used to test the web applications for security vulnerabilities in a production environment.

2. Is DAST a manual or automated process?

Most people consider DAST as an automated approach, but it’s not. Dynamic application security testing is a combination of manual testing and automation tools known as DAST tools.

3. Is Astra’s Vulnerability Scanner a DAST?

Yes, Astra’s Scanner can be used as a Dynamic Application Security Test (DAST) solution. Astra’s security scanner is not just any vulnerability scanner. Astra’s Scanner is an automated and continuous Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) solution with more than 8000+ tests.

4. Can I trust Astra for Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) ?

Yes, you can. As a matter of fact, you should. Astra can help you in finding various security vulnerabilities in your applications, thus enhancing your infrastructure security. But this is just the tip of the iceberg, there is a lot more that Astra can do for you.

Ankit Pahuja

B2B cybersecurity marketing lead with years of experience in SEO, performance marketing, email marketing, lead generation, web analytics & marketing automation. Ankit is an avid speaker and has delivered various talks in top companies, early-age startups, and online events.
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Suphi
Suphi
1 year ago

Good job Ankit, It is a good list. I’ve missed some of these tools on my dast tool list, but of course Astra Security is in there 🙂

Psst! Hi there. We’re Astra.

We make security simple and hassle-free for thousands
of websites and businesses worldwide.

Our suite of security products include a vulnerability scanner, firewall, malware scanner and pentests to protect your site from the evil forces on the internet, even when you sleep.

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