DAST Tools: 7 Popular Tools and How to Choose

Ofer Hakimi
Ofer Hakimi
December 22, 2023
min to read
DAST Tools: 7 Popular Tools and How to Choose

What Are DAST Tools? 

Dynamic application security testing (DAST) tools are security solutions that test applications during the runtime process. They are designed to identify security vulnerabilities while the application is in its active state. Unlike static application security testing (SAST) tools, which review application code to uncover potential threats, DAST tools simulate attacks on an application to identify exploitable vulnerabilities.

These tools play a crucial role in protecting applications from security threats such as cross-site scripting (XSS), SQL injection, and other OWASP Top 10 vulnerabilities. They have become an essential part of the software development life cycle (SDLC) and are widely used in DevSecOps practices. By incorporating DAST tools into the SDLC, businesses can improve application security by detecting and mitigating vulnerabilities before they can be exploited by malicious attackers.

Factors To Consider When Evaluating a DAST Solution 

Depth of Reporting

An ideal DAST tool should be able to provide exhaustive reports including details about vulnerabilities found, their severity, and potential remediation steps. These reports should be easy to comprehend, even for non-technical stakeholders. They should offer a clear understanding of the security posture of the application and provide actionable guidance on how to remediate vulnerabilities.

Accuracy of Scans

When selecting a DAST tool, its ability to accurately identify vulnerabilities is paramount. The tool should minimize false positives and negatives, ensuring that the security team can trust the results and prioritize effectively. High accuracy in scans reduces the time spent on manual verification of detected issues. It's also important that the tool can distinguish between different types of vulnerabilities and their context within the application.

User Experience

The user interface of a DAST tool is another crucial factor to consider. A tool with a complex UI can be difficult for teams to operate and cause inefficiencies in the vulnerability detection process. The chosen DAST tool should have a user-friendly interface that makes it easy for all users, irrespective of their technical background, to navigate and understand. The UI should make it easy to configure scans, view reports, and manage vulnerabilities. 


The ability of a DAST tool to integrate with other tools in your SDLC is another important consideration. Integrations can enhance the functionality of your DAST tool and streamline the vulnerability management process. The DAST tool should be able to integrate with your CI/CD tools, bug tracking systems, alerting systems, and other security tools.

Support for API Security Testing

In today's software landscape, where APIs are a critical and often the primary component of many modern applications, a DAST tool must provide robust and specialized support for API security testing. This includes a deep understanding of the unique challenges posed by these interfaces, such as handling different authentication methods, rate limits, and data formats inherent to APIs.

Effective API testing goes beyond traditional web application testing, and it is essential to secure API endpoints against common vulnerabilities like broken authentication, injection flaws, and improper asset management. These API-specific vulnerabilities can have a profound impact on application security, making it crucial for organizations to address them comprehensively. Additionally, the ability to provide context-aware and in-depth testing, including understanding complex business logic scenarios, is vital to ensuring the security of APIs in the ever-evolving landscape of modern software applications.

Related content: Read our guide to DAST vs SAST (coming soon)

Notable DAST Tools and Solutions 

1. Pynt

Traditional DAST tools have limitations in comprehensively addressing API security. This is where Pynt comes into play, offering a specialized and advanced solution that enhances API security testing.

  • Contextual Analysis for Business Logic Vulnerabilities: One of Pynt's key strengths is its ability to perform contextual analysis of APIs within the specific business logic they operate in. Unlike DAST, which often lacks the depth to understand API-specific nuances, Pynt excels in identifying complex business logic vulnerabilities that may not manifest in straightforward operational scenarios. By harnessing the power of the existing functional tests Pynt dynamic security engine comprehends the underlying logic and ensures the security of APIs within their intended business context.
  • Early Integration in SDLC: Pynt promotes a "shift left" approach to API security, integrating seamlessly into the early stages of the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC). This early integration reduces development delays and associated costs. By identifying security weaknesses at the outset, Pynt empowers developers to address vulnerabilities more efficiently, ensuring cost-effective security.
  • Comprehensive Code Coverage: Pynt offers comprehensive code coverage by analyzing response payloads. It goes beyond the limitations of DAST, which lacks access to source code. Pynt's ability to review the entire application ensures that even modules not executed at runtime or indirectly linked to the user interface are thoroughly examined.
  • Integration with Development and CI/CD Tools: Pynt seamlessly integrates with existing development and CI/CD tools, making it a valuable addition to the DevSecOps pipeline. This integration ensures that security becomes an integral part of the development process, enhancing overall efficiency and reliability.

Pynt's specialization in API security testing bridges the gaps left by traditional DAST tools. By offering contextual analysis, early integration, comprehensive coverage, and seamless integration, Pynt is tailored to meet the evolving challenges of API security in modern development environments. It differentiates itself by providing a holistic approach that addresses not just general vulnerabilities but also severe business context issues within which APIs operate.

Learn more about Pynt’s smart DAST for API Security Testing

2. OWASP Zap

ZAP is a popular free security tool and is actively maintained by hundreds of international volunteers. ZAP was previously part of the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) and is now managed by the Software Security Project. It's used for finding vulnerabilities in web applications during the testing phase. 

ZAP offers features like automated scanners, a set of tools for manual vulnerability testing, and various extension points. It provides a proxy server, which lets users inspect and manipulate the traffic between their browser and the web application, making it a powerful tool for exploring and exploiting web application vulnerabilities.


3. Burp

Burp is a leading cybersecurity testing tool commonly used by security professionals and ethical hackers for web application security assessment. It is developed by PortSwigger, a cybersecurity company. Burp Suite is designed to identify and address vulnerabilities in web applications, APIs, and websites.

Burp Suite is widely used in penetration testing, security assessments, and vulnerability management processes to help organizations secure their web applications and APIs. It is available in both free (Community) and paid (Professional) versions, with the Professional version offering advanced features and capabilities for security professionals.

Source: Port Swigger

4. W3AF

W3AF is a popular open-source web application security scanner. It's known for its flexibility, offering a mix of over 200 plugins that identify vulnerabilities and carry out exploit activities. 

W3AF can detect over 200 types of vulnerabilities, including SQL injection, cross-site scripting, PHP misconfigurations, and guessable credentials. It's a highly extensible tool, allowing users to write their plugins to customize tests for specific use cases.

Source: W3AF

5. Nikto

Nikto is an open-source web server scanner that performs comprehensive tests against web servers for multiple items, including potentially dangerous files and programs. It checks for outdated versions of over 1,300 servers and version-specific issues on over 275 servers. 

In addition, it attempts to identify installed web servers and software, checks for server configuration items such as multiple index files and HTTP server options, and will identify installed web server plugins. Nikto is known for its speed and comprehensiveness, but because it focuses on specific security aspects, it is typically used in combination with other DAST tools.

6. Acunetix

Acunetix is a DAST tool known for its speed and accuracy in scanning web applications. It can detect a wide array of vulnerabilities, including SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS), and many other types of security flaws. 

Acunetix provides advanced crawling capabilities, allowing it to map out and test complex, multi-level web applications. The tool also integrates vulnerability management features, helping teams to prioritize and manage identified security issues. Acunetix supports a range of web technologies and frameworks.

Source: Acunetix

7. Invicti

Invicti, formerly known as Netsparker, is a DAST solution that emphasizes scalability and automation. It provides comprehensive reporting tools, which are useful for compliance and audit purposes.

A key feature is its Proof-Based Scanning technology, which automatically verifies identified vulnerabilities, significantly reducing the number of false positives. This makes it possible to automate security tests without the overhead of manually verifying every identified issue.  

Source: Invicti


In conclusion, DAST (Dynamic Application Security Testing) tools are critical for ensuring application security in the modern digital landscape. They provide a real-time perspective on vulnerabilities, differing from static analysis tools by actively simulating attacks. This approach helps identify and mitigate vulnerabilities like XSS, SQL injection, and other common threats outlined in the OWASP Top 10.

When selecting a DAST solution, factors such as depth of reporting, accuracy of scans, user experience, integration capabilities, and robust API security testing support are critical. We reviewed several DAST tools, offering capabilities like comprehensive reporting, integration with CI/CD pipelines, and automation, catering to different needs within the software development life cycle.

Increasingly, organizations are integrating DAST tools into DevSecOps practices, making it possible to proactively address security issues and improve security posture on an ongoing basis.

Learn more about Pynt: How to leverage DAST for API Security

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