What is Interactive Application Security Testing (IAST) and Runtime Application Self-Protection (RASP)?

Interactive Application Security Testing, also known as IAST, utilizes runtime testing techniques to help organizations identify and manage security risks. It finds security vulnerabilities while the application is running either by an automated test or a human tester, reporting vulnerabilities in real-time.

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Unlike SAST and DAST, IAST works within the application, testing whatever is executed by the functional tests, usually in a QA environment.

Benefits worthy of mentioning:

  • Straightforward integration into CI/CD pipelines as a result of its easiness to be deployed, updated, and scaled responding to extensive enterprise requirements.
  • Speeding up decisions by providing accurate detailed information (lines of code) where vulnerabilities were identified in contrast to many false positive and lack of specifics provided by DAST.
  • Catching problems earlier in the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC), since it usually takes place during the QA stage, shifting the testing left, reducing remediation costs and delays.

Runtime Application Self-Protection, commonly identified as RASP, intercepts and blocks calls threatening the application in real time. Without human intervention, it enables application “self-protection” by restructuring itself automatically in response to certain conditions.

RASP considers both the application’s behavior and its context. Its context-alert capability allows deploying it with minimal tuning and low maintenance, leaving it ready to automatically protect the application.

Web Application Firewall (WAF) should not be confused with RASP. While the former is put up in front of the application, the latter protects it from the inside out. WAF might protect against some cyber attacks but it has no defense from the ones that get through. RASP fights anything that makes it through the WAF. In other words, WAF and RASP are complimentary, both play a key role and work together for maximum protection.

A possible drawback for IAST and RASP is the tools are still immature since they are new technology.