Application Security

The Top 7 Interactive Application Security Testing (IAST) Tools

Discover the top 7 best IAST tools. Explore features such as real-time code analysis, application behavior monitoring, and real-time feedback.

The Top 7 Interactive Application Security Testing (IAST) Tools include:
  • 1. Invicti
  • 2. Acunetix
  • 3. Checkmarx IAS
  • 4. Contrast Assess
  • 5. Fortify on Demand by OpenText
  • 6. HCL AppScan
  • 7. Synopsys Seeker

Interactive Application Security Testing (IAST) tools (also known as “grey-box testing” tools) scan applications and APIs for vulnerabilities in real time. Unlike traditional application scanning methods, IAST solutions complete their testing while the application is being run— “interacted” with—by either a real user or an automated test runner. The IAST tool tests the code behind all of the features and functionality that the tester interacts with, then reports back to the DevOps team in real time with details on any vulnerabilities it finds—including details on exactly where the vulnerability is in the source code, for fast, targeted remediation. 

Most IAST tools scan code that’s being used in production, after the application has already been built. However, some IAST solutions offer integrated development environment (IDE) integration, which enables DevOps teams to “shift their security left” and test their code during the development stage, when vulnerabilities and bugs are often cheaper and easier to fix. 

By integrating IAST into the development lifecycle at any stage, DevOps teams can discover and fix any security vulnerabilities—such as SQL injection, API keys being hardcoded in cleartext, or unencrypted connections—before their applications go to market. This makes the vulnerabilities much less costly and time-consuming to fix. It also helps prevent any future users of the application from falling victim to a data breach caused by an attacker exploiting a vulnerability in the app. In this article, we’ll explore the top 7 IAST tools designed to help you identify and remediate vulnerabilities in the applications you’re building. We’ll highlight the key use cases and features of each solution, including vulnerability scanning, application behavior monitoring, real-time feedback, and integrations.

Invicti Logo

Invicti offers a combined dynamic (DAST) and true interactive (IAST) scanning solution to enhance application security. Their DAST scanner offers comprehensive vulnerability coverage, accurate scanning, and deep contextual insight into each vulnerability. The IAST sensor, Invicti Shark, works alongside the DAST scanner to improve vulnerability detection while reducing false positives. This helps save developers valuable time and effort.

Invicti’s IAST sensor provides better visibility into the backend of web applications, including unlinked and hidden files, by being deployed within the runtime environment. This enables more comprehensive mapping and testing of every page, reducing potential attack points. Invicti also takes steps to eliminate false positives through their Proof-Based Scanning™ feature, which verifies identified vulnerabilities as real and exploitable.

The solution helps developers locate exact vulnerability locations faster by providing detailed information about the problem, often down to the specific file name and line number. This allows developers to focus more on product development and less on locating security issues. Finally, Invicti can access local configuration files to identify misconfigurations and suggest best practice recommendations to prevent future vulnerabilities.

Acunetix Logo

Acunetix’s flagship vulnerability scanning platform is a DAST solution (black-box scanner) but transforms into an IAST solution (grey-box scanner) with the addition of Acutenix’s AcuSensor component. This solution works for applications written in Node.js, PHP, Java (including Spring framework), and ASP.NET.

Acutenix IAST with AcuSensor scans every file, including hidden and unlinked ones, providing users with increased visibility into the backend of their web applications. Acunetix can also import API definition files and links to test APIs using REST, SOAP, or GraphQL architecture.

By connecting to the code interpreter or compiler, AcuSensor can precisely identify the exact line of source code or location in a stack trace, making it easier for developers to fix vulnerabilities. AcuSensor also provides a full directory listing of the web application to ensure complete scanning, including hidden and unlinked files. 

AcuSensor offers businesses a reliable way to protect their web applications from potential threats.

Checkmarx Logo

Checkmarx IAST is a dynamic and continuous security testing solution designed to integrate seamlessly into DevOps, QA automation, and CI/CD pipelines. By automating analysis during the Test/QA phase, it efficiently detects vulnerabilities and threats in running applications—including SQL injection, XSS injection, and sensitive data leakage—without causing delays in the software development life cycle. Checkmarx IAST is compatible with microservices-based applications and provides real-time feedback and comprehensive analysis of custom code, libraries, frameworks, and runtime data flow.

Checkmarx IAST has a strong focus on API security, ensuring coverage of OWASP Top 10 API Security vulnerabilities. It discovers, classifies, and documents APIs in addition to monitoring their usage and authorization. Designed with developers in mind, Checkmarx IAST offers detailed source code analysis to facilitate swift remediation of potential vulnerabilities. By leveraging existing functional testing processes, Checkmarx IAST eliminates the need for separate security testing, resulting in zero-scan time. The solution also integrates smoothly with Checkmarx SCA, allowing for automated SCA scans and the display of third-party vulnerabilities during an IAST scan.

Checkmarx IAST can be deployed both on-premises in a private data center or hosted in a private tenant in AWS, offering flexible deployment options. The platform is highly customizable, allowing for custom query creation and tuning to optimize results, and its seamless integration into existing workflows ensures a secure development process without disruption.

Checkmarx Logo
Contrast Security

Contrast Security offers a leading Interactive Application Security Testing solution for development teams looking to secure their code. Their Assess platform continuously detects, prioritizes, and offers guidance on removing software vulnerabilities with notable accuracy, efficiency, scalability, and coverage.

Contrast Assess offers a live architecture and flow view, which allows organizations to visualize application architecture, code trees, and data flow information. This feature provides in-depth visualization of application components and helps developers pinpoint and rectify vulnerabilities faster. Furthermore, it assists in threat modeling remediation.

Contrast Security also offers code-level remediation guidance through its innovative Security Trace format, which clearly identifies vulnerabilities and explains how they function. This empowers developers to address these issues without extensive security expertise. The application attack intelligence feature maps the URLs and routes of software executed during the testing phase of the SDLC. This enables security teams to maximize the solution’s coverage and assists developers in evaluating the overall effectiveness of their testing practices.

Contrast Security
Fortify Logo

Fortify on Demand by OpenText is a cloud-based application security service that helps businesses identify and mitigate vulnerabilities in their applications. It offers an interactive web portal for scheduling security assessments and provides results through dashboards and reports.

Fortify on Demand offers multiple types of security assessment that enable it to scan applications for vulnerabilities at multiple layers. Static application security assessments help developers detect and eliminate vulnerabilities in the source, binary, or bytecode. Open-source software composition assessments analyze third-party components for potential security risks, using natural language processing to monitor GitHub commits, advisory websites, and other sources for new vulnerabilities. Dynamic web application security assessments use automated and manual techniques to analyze complex web applications and services.

With Fortify on Demand Connect, users can also establish site-to-site VPN connections for internally facing web applications. The service also offers dynamic API security assessments and comprehensive mobile application security testing across the entire mobile ecosystem.

Fortify on Demand is designed to simplify the application security process. As part of this, the platform includes over 100 hours of role-based secure development training materials. Fortify on Demand also offers robust support options, including 24/7 chat support and helpdesk ticketing, along with dedicated customer success managers for larger clients.

Fortify Logo
HCL Software Logo

HCL AppScan offers Interactive Application Security Testing to monitor various activities that interact with an organization’s code during runtime. This enables development teams to identify any potential security vulnerabilities quickly and accurately within their code, allowing for timely remediation.

HCL AppScan’s API discovery feature detects and catalogs all internal APIs used in an application, while gathering additional information from scans of open-source packages. The platform’s auto-issue correlation features reduce the number of vulnerabilities and remediation tasks by grouping issues together, helping prioritize SAST findings for remediation. HCL AppScan also features patented Java and .NET deployment solutions, which require less configuration, allowing for faster set-up and deployment.

A key benefit of HCL AppScan is its ability to eliminate false positives. It achieves this through advanced algorithms that track information flow within an application. These algorithms perform additional checks and replicate code flow in real-time, attempting to attack the application in various ways. This ensures that HCL AppScan IAST detects any custom sanitization code written by the organization, thus reducing false positives in the final report.

HCL Software Logo
Synoposys Logo

Synopsys Seeker is an IAST solution that offers extensive visibility into a company’s web app security posture and identifies vulnerability trends against compliance standards such as OWASP Top 10, PCI DSS, GDPR, CAPEC, and CWE/SANS Top 25. By integrating seamlessly into DevOps CI/CD workflows, Seeker enables continuous application security testing and verification, prioritizing vulnerabilities based on risk.

To achieve this, Synopsys Seeker uses patented methods and active verification to process requests and minimize false positives, contributing to improved productivity and reduced business risk. The solution uniquely tracks sensitive data, ensuring secure handling and proper encryption in various storage locations. Seeker supports large-scale enterprise security requirements while providing accurate results without extensive configuration. For developers, it offers detailed vulnerability descriptions, remediation advice, stack trace information, and identifies vulnerable lines of code to help non-security experts.

Seeker is suitable for microservices-based app development as it analyzes data flow between microservices to assess the system as a whole. It also features an industry-first sensitive data tracking capability, helping organizations achieve compliance with standards and regulations like PCI DSS and GDPR.

Synoposys Logo
The Top 7 Interactive Application Security Testing (IAST) Tools