Integrating Dynamic App Security Testing into Your CI/CD Pipeline: A Step-by-Step Guide

Note: This is a guest post written by Jimmy Sloan – In today’s rapidly ?volving cyberspace jungle, maintaining a robust security platform for web applications is a huge priority. Int?grating Dynamic Application S?curity T?sting  – DAST –  into your CI/CD pip?lin? can b? a gam?-chang?r for ?arly and consist?nt vuln?rability id?ntification. For catching those bad eggs more quickly than ever as th?y appear. You can ?nsur? th? ov?rall fortification of your application and stop vuln?rabiliti?s from having an effect on us?rs – and on your company’s bottom-line and image. Let’s delve into the whole dynamic.

Photo by Christopher Gower on Unsplash

Importance of security in the DevOps world

Security is of extreme importance in the DevOps world as it allows continuous delivery during production whil? k??ping up with integrity and confidentiality of applications and data. As th? implementation of DevOps practices has increased, it is crucial to link s?curity m?thods flawl?ssly into its pipeline.

One of the main benefits of incorporating security into th? D?vOps workflow is that it allows organizations to id?ntify and mitigate vulnerabilities early on in th? d?v?lopm?nt lifecycle – of truly adhering to the shift-left protocol and mindset. By automating s?curity practic?s, they can consistently and frequently apply tools and tweaks throughout th? d?v?lopm?nt process.

By addressing s?curity concerns at an early stage, teams can significantly r?duc? the risk of security breaches and the associated financial, r?putational, and legal consequences. This proactiv? approach also h?lps organizations m??t regulatory compliance requirements and build trust with th?ir custom?rs and stak?hold?rs.

Additionally, security in th? DevOps world promotes a culture of collaboration and shar?d r?sponsibility. It encourages developers and security professionals to work tog?th?r, shar? knowl?dg?, and prioritize security throughout th? d?v?lopm?nt cycle.

Bri?f ov?rvi?w of Continuous Int?gration/Continuous D?ploym?nt  – CI/CD

Continuous Int?gration/Continuous D?ploym?nt  – CI/CD –  is a set of software development practices aimed to automat? and streamline the process of creating, t?sting, and d?ploying applications.

Continuous Integration focuses on th? process of integrating developer-mad? cod? modifications into a main repository. This t?chniqu? ?ntails automating data, solving d?p?nd?ncy issues r?solution, and testing the execution phases of th? building process. By integrating code changes frequently, t?ams can quickly spot and addr?ss conflicts or difficulties that could arise from different developers working on th? same codebase.

Continuous D?ploym?nt ?xpands th? scop? of Continuous Int?gration by automating th? distribution of th? application to production s?ttings. Th? application can b? immediately deployed to production aft?r succ?ssful cod? int?gration and going through th? r?quir?d t?sts, making it acc?ssibl? to ?nd us?rs. Through th? us? of Continuous D?ploym?nt, manual software deployment processes are eliminated, low?ring th? risk of human ?rrors whil? facilitating a quicker and mor? reliable r?l?as? process.

Benefits of integrating DAST in CI/CD pipelines

The integration of DAST in CI/CD pipelines in the early stages of d?v?lopm?nt bring with it the following core advantages:

First, by conducting dynamic app t?sting from th? start, developers can id?ntify vuln?rabiliti?s quick?r, b?ing much ?asi?r and l?ss costly to fix. This approach prevents s?curity issues from becoming embedded in th? cod?, l?ading to significant probl?ms down th? lin?.

S?cond, dynamic application security testing, encourages a s?curity-focused approach from the beginning of the project, promoting a sense of security within developers. This is essential in today’s cyber security environment, wh?r? threats are increasingly hi-tech, and th? risks ar? greater than ?v?r.

Additionally, as bonus and extras, integrating DAST in CI/CD pipelines offers several other b?n?fits:

  • Improved Security Posture: Ensur?s that ?v?ry application is consistently t?st?d for potential vulnerabilities b?for? it reaches deployment. This approach r?duc?s th? lik?lihood of succ?ssful attacks.
  • Quick?r Tim?-to-Mark?t: Developers can g?t immediate feedback on th? impact of their code changes on application s?curity thanks to automat?d scanning. This ?nabl?s th?m too quickly corr?ct and issu?s without delaying delivery dates or low?ring quality.
  • Cost-savings: Reduce the likelihood of expensive data breaches. Additionally, sav?s time and resources by conducting automated testing, r?ducing th? tim? required for security testing activities.
  • B?tt?r collaboration and communication b?tw??n t?ams: Encourages collaboration and communication between developers and security teams. Through s?curity t?sting, developers work closely with professionals to addr?ss any vuln?rability and ?nsur? that s?curity is includ?d throughout th? SDLC.

St?p-by-st?p guid? to int?grating FAST into your CI/CD pip?line

Follow this st?p-by-st?p guid? to integrate DAST into your CI/CD pip?lin?: 

Configuring th? DAST Tool

Configure the tools that apply with the needs and features of your application and pipeline. This involv?s s?tting up scanning param?t?rs, defining th? b?st cases, and adjusting the platform’s features to reduce false positives.

Int?grating DAST into th? CI S?rv?r

D?t?rmin? th? appropriat? stag? in your pip?lin? wh?r? DAST should be integrated. Th?n, modify th? configuration fil? so that th? DAST tool scans th? application automatically. This will allow you to catch vuln?rabiliti?s ?arly on th? d?v?lopm?nt process, reducing the cost and time needed to fix them.

Automating th? DAST Scans

Configur? th? DAST tool to automatically scan for vuln?rabiliti?s as part of th? CI/CD pip?lin?. By s?tting up th? scans to run at r?gular int?rvals such as cod? chang?s, d?ploym?nts, or sch?dul?d p?riods. During th? scanning proc?ss, th? right tools – and not all of them – will interact with the app just lik? a us?r would do to find any flaws – that reduces lag time.

Handling th? R?sults

Analyze and prioritize the findings provided by th? report of the identified vulnerabilities, including th?ir typ?, location and pot?ntial impact. Include risk management assessment during this audit – determine what needs to be fixed ASAP and what can wait a spell. Th? vulnerabilities should be prioritized based on various factors and red-flag scenarios th? organization. Make sure to involve developers, s?curity t?ams, and business leaders in this step to h?lp tak? b?tt?r d?cisions.

Remediation and Feedback Loop

Develop a process to remediate and identify vulnerabilities promptly. This may involv? modifying th? application’s cod? or configuration to eliminate the identified vulnerabilities. Aft?r r?m?diation, r?t?st th? application to guarantee that vulnerabilities are handled – create a feedback loop, a cycle, that way the apps continue to evolve. Also, regularly r?vi?w and update your scanning strategy based on th? latest best practices.

DAST and the CI/CD pipeline

Incorporating DAST into th? CI/CD pip?lin? is a powerful paradigm shift in enhancing th? s?curity of your software. This comprehensive approach will allow you to identify and address security vulnerabilities early in th? d?v?lopm?nt process –  leading to more secure and reliable software. 

Tog?th?r, Continuous Int?gration and Continuous D?ploym?nt ?nabl? organizations to achieve faster r?l??s? cycles, allowing teams to deliver high-quality softwar? more efficiently. Embracing DAST as a key component of th? d?v?lopm?nt process is changing your posture when it comes to attacks — its shift from victim to victimizer. From acting defensively to acting proactively. From pushing back at an attack and licking your wounds, to barking and even biting at criminals the second they start to scout you out.  

DAST in you CI/CD Pipeline is akin to setting up a huge sign outside your mainframe — “Beware of dog.”

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