Dynamic Application Security Testing vs Penetration Testing

If you want to drive down your application security risk, you should aware that there is no single solution to use. Rather, it is required to use a combination of security testing method to guarantee entire security vulnerabilities are determined and fixed. In addition, you should choose the testing methods to safeguard your application based on the SDLC phase you cover. Before employing a security testing, it is vital to have a clear understanding of that testing method and how it is different from others. In order to help you in your learning, here we focused on the difference between the dynamic application security testing and the penetration testing.

Dynamic Application Security Testing

Dynamic Application Security Testing commonly known as the DAST or black box testing is the testing process that takes place during the application is in progress and it attempts to pierce the application in various ways to determine potential vulnerabilities.

This testing is carried from the outside observing in. This simple and less expensive testing doesn’t require the bytecode, binaries and source code to proceed the testing. By offering outside in standpoint, the tools of DAST can offer a valuable overview and are perfect to be utilized in the scenario where the application is running and the source code is not obtainable to the tester.

This sort of testing is useful for industry standard compliance as well as typical security defences for evolving projects.

Penetration Testing

The penetration testing commonly known as pentest is one among the effective security testing methods. This testing approach depends on the simulation of security outbreaks against the application. This testing includes the human element. A penetration tester will attempt to impersonate how a hacker might attack the application using their personal security knowledge and the wide range of penetration testing tools. Organizations also outsource the services of application penetration testing to an external agency if they don’t comprise the resources in-house. This testing kind includes the capability to find vulnerabilities, providing a gateway to be possibly exploited by attackers.

Mainly used to detect standard vulnerability classes that can only be determined by manual testing.

A typical penetration testing refers the following elements:

  • Point of access

  • Determination of weakness in the firewalls, ports, routers, and servers

A Quick Look On Dynamic Application Security Testing And Penetration Testing

The following point doesn’t entirely focus on the comparison of these testing. Some points signify their features in their own prospects.


Dynamic Application Security Testing

Penetration Testing


DAST is the testing of the application while it is being progressed to find the security vulnerabilities.

Penetration testing attempts common hacking techniques and exploits on an application with the owner’s permission. The main intention of this testing is to find the security weakness; hence, they can be resolved.


This testing checks the application to find the security flaws, which can’t be detected during the development process.

This testing doesn’t evaluate whether the security protections which were placed are effective. On the other hand, it searches for the point where the application system failed to detect and prevent the vulnerability.


DAST review an application looking for security weakness to exploit.

Similarly, Pentest reviews an application looking for security weakness to exploit, but it involves actual human to detect the application design, business logic, and compound flaws.


The dynamic testing focusses mainly on the runtime features of the application including:

  • Memory

  • Encryption

  • Performance

  • Permission

  • Configuration

  • Back end code injection

A good penetration testing should focus on entire components of the system including:

  • Operating system

  • Hardware

  • Social engineering attempts


Determines highly exploitable vulnerabilities like

  • SQL injection

  • Cross-Site Scripting

  • Authentication issues

  • Server Misconfiguration

  • Vulnerabilities, which are visible only to the authenticated user

Capable of detecting some common vulnerabilities include:

  • Privilege Escalation

  • SQL Injection

  • Deprecated protocols

  • Cross-site scripting


Benefits Of DAST

  • Can determine security vulnerabilities linked to operational deployment

  • No need to access the code

  • With prospect of industry adoption, it is lower in cost, easier to adopt and more mature

  • Support to find the vulnerabilities existed outside the source code

  • Support to find the vulnerabilities in the 3rd party interfacing

Benefits Of Penetration Testing

  • Increase business continuity

  • Manage the risk effectively

  • Supports to evaluate security investment

  • Offers third party expert suggestion



  • The tools of this testing are not capable of detaching the precise point of code weakness and finding difficulty in following coding guidelines.

  • Time consuming


  • The effectiveness of the test is entirely depending on the access, knowledge, and method of the penetration tester.

  • Time consuming

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