Key Metrics for the Application Security Testing (AST)

Application Security Testing ( AST ) are tools and services that helps you discover security vulnerabilities in all kinds of applications. Current application security practices/tools available broadly falls into following categories:
  • Static Application Security Testing (SAST): Static application security testing tools analyzes the application source code to determine if vulnerabilities exist. IT is also referred to as White-box testing. SAST tools looks at the code before its compiled, so nothing is executed while testing applications code. This method helps in early identification of vulnerabilities thereby reducing the mean-time to production. S-AST tools can also be easily integrated with organizations Secure Development Life Cycle (SDLC) to further improve its effectiveness.
  • Dynamic Application security Testing (DAST): DAST tools are also referred to as Black box testing tools. They find potential vulnerabilities inside an application by trying to penetrate them in variety of ways, while the applications are running. They also do not require access to source code and binaries and can find business logic vulnerabilities and vulnerabilities in third-part software interfaces. They often complement the capabilities of S-AST tools, that’s why are often time used by organizations in addition to S-AST tools.
  • Interactive Application Security Testing (IAST): IAST is the mix of DAST and RASP, Run-time Application Security Protection, techniques. This approach analyzes application in the testing phase, using the RASP runtime agent and D-AST as an attack inducer. The agent, which is instrumented into the application runtime engine (e.g., into JVM), has insight into the application’s logic flow, data flow and configuration, monitors the test attacks initiated by the D-AST attack inducer, and then reports on the attacks that resulted (or might result) in an application’s exploit. I-AST reports help developers prioritize the vulnerability findings from dynamic scans, so that they can more effectively reduce risk while keeping up with production schedules.
  • Mobile Application Security Testing (Mobile AST): Mobile AST uses a combination of traditional SAST and D-AST and behavioral analysis using static and dynamic techniques to discover malicious or potentially risky actions the app may be taking unknown to the user (for example, activating the user’s address book or GPS)

Key Program Metrics:

# vulnerabilites in code over a period of time :
This includes bugs found through threat modeling and code reviews; by static analysis security testing (SAST), dynamic analysis security testing (DAST) and interactive application security testing (IAST) tools; and through pen testing and other testing.

Vulnerability density in a particular application :
The number of vulnerabilities divided by lines of code or some other proxy will give you vulnerability density, which makes it easier to compare risk in different systems, by technology platform or language and over time.

# vulnerabilities with high severity :
Evaluate how serious the vulnerabilities are by determining risk by likelihood (discoverability, exploitability, reproducibility) and impact. Standardize risk scores across tools and applications, using a scheme such as the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS), which ranks vulnerabilities from critical to low based on how easily a vulnerability can be exploited and its potential impact on data confidentiality, integrity and system availability.

Percentage of vulnerabilities fixed :
The percentage of total vulnerabilities, discovered through any means, fixed

Mean-time to repair :
How long did it take to fix the vulnerabilities? Or, to look at this data another way, how long, on average, did vulnerabilities stay open, especially serious vulnerabilities? What is your window of exposure?


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