Software bugs and weaknesses are common – 84 percent of software breaches exploit application-layer vulnerabilities. A key motivation for the use of application security testing (AST) tools is the prevalence of software-related problems. However, Application security is not a simple binary choice, it is something of a sliding scale where having additional levels of security tends to reduce the likelihood of an incident to an acceptable level of risk for an enterprise. Application-security testing though reduces the risk in applications but cannot eradicate it entirely. However, steps can be taken to eliminate those risks that are easiest to remove and harden the software in use. The use of AST tools has many advantages, which increase the speed, efficiency, and coverage paths for testing applications. The tests they conduct are repeatable and scale well once a test case is developed in a tool, it can be executed with little incremental cost against many lines of code. AST tools are effective in identifying known vulnerabilities, problems, and weaknesses, and allow users to triage and classify their findings. They can also be used, especially in verification, in the remediation workflow, and can be used to correlate and identify trends and patterns. With an increasing range of application security testing tools available, IT managers, developers, and engineers may find it difficult to know which tools fix what issues.

The diagram displays classes or groups of security testing tools for different applications. There are instances where categories are unclear, since individual products can execute multi-category functions, but these are essentially the classes of tools within this field. There is a rough hierarchy in that the tools at the bottom of the pyramid are basic, and as skills are developed with them, organizations look to use more of the higher, more progressive pyramid tools.

This article on security application testing tools will help navigate the offerings by some of the best available AST tools.

Application Security Testing (AST) – Gartner magic quadrants

Gartner identifies four main types of AST tools: (1) Static AST (SAST) (2) Dynamic AST (DAST) (3) Interactive AST (IAST) (4) Mobile AST. These technologies can be delivered either as a tool or as a subscription. Many vendors offer both options for reflecting company needs for a product and service.

The descriptions of some of the best AST tools are as follows:

Synopsys — Managed Application Security Testing (AST)

Synopsys application security testing tools enable you to provide the coverage of the application testing required to achieve your risk management objectives. Keeping the applications safe calls for continuous access to the people, processes, and technology that allow efficient scaling and speedy scanning. Assessments provide flexibility, scalability, and cost-effectiveness testing to deliver the coverage required for application testing to achieve risk management objectives. It provides ongoing access to expert safety testing teams with the skills, tools, and discipline to analyze your applications at any time. You can close test gaps, perform tests at any depth, and quickly scale to manage high demand testing periods. Synopsys managed AST incorporates numerous testing tools, automated scans, and in-depth manual checks to provide the most detailed security evaluation of an application. 5 types of assessment tools provided are Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST), Penetration Testing Static Application Security Testing (SAST), Mobile Application Security Testing (MAST), and Network Security Testing. Key benefits include:

  • Flexibility and Versatility: Easy-to-use platform to handle tests compliant with ISO 27001. Scheduling tests, setting the desired test depth, and making changes as business requirements change and threats evolve.
  • Coverage: test all applications including those you miss due to resource constraints.
  • Consistency: Get the same high-quality test results all the time for any given test for any application.
  • Support: Gives you a walk through the test results and helps you to develop a remediation program according to your needs.
  • Scalability: Provides scalable test delivery by Evaluation Centers Without getting manual reviews compromised.
  • Comprehensiveness: A hybrid manual and tool-based approach to assessment that consists of a detailed analysis.

Checkmarx SAST

Checkmarx SAST (CxSAST) is a versatile and reliable tool for your enterprise-grade static analysis, used to detect possible bugs in custom code. Development, DevOps, and security teams can use it to search source code in the SDLC early stage, it can identify vulnerabilities and provide actionable insights to resolve them. It provides support for scanning any language across more than 25 coding and scripting languages and their frameworks with zero configuration. Completely incorporated with the common orchestration release framework and agile planning tools. For example, IDEs, construct management servers, bug tracking tools, and source repositories to implement security policies automatically. It empowers teams in creating and implementing policy initiatives to regulate application security by platform integrations and maintaining remediation efforts. Using a unique “Best Fix Location” algorithm to help developers address multiple vulnerabilities at a single point in the application. Checkmarx SAST scans uncompiled code and needs no complete builds, no dependency configurations, and no learning curve when switching languages.

MicroFocus – Fortify on Demand

MicroFocus offers application security solutions as a service, providing vulnerability monitoring, security testing, bugs control, expertise, and support. With Fortify on Demand, you can start the application security system initiative in less than a day. Fortify On Demand provides customers with the security testing, vulnerability management, and support required to easily create, supplement, and expand a security software assurance program without any infrastructure investment or security staff required. Risk can be identified within minutes by static scans with Fortify on Demand.  It also reduces false positives by as much as 95%, allowing quick triage. It can also help reduce the vulnerability of repeat code by up to 40%. This means faster development of applications with less production risk.   Developers receive safety feedback in real-time directly on their IDE with Security Assistant. It will allow developers to receive real-time insights and code vulnerability recommendations when writing code. The Fortify on Demand Software Composition Analysis, powered by Sonatype, is more than a simple comparison with the national vulnerability database of declared dependencies. It uses natural language processing to track automatically all GitHub commits for open source projects, advisory websites, Google search alerts, OSS indexes, and vulnerability sources. Fortify On Demand provides over 100 hours of training on application security, divided into 13 roles and managed via the platform.  Fortify on Demand users also have immediate access through integration with Secure Code Warrior to a targeted, secure development on-demand training.


Veracode, Inc., is the world’s largest independent manufacturer of AST and placed in Gartner Inc. 2020 Magic Quadrant for Application Security Testing as a leader. The application analysis framework offers all types of application testing, including SAST, DAST, SCA, and manual penetration testing, with clear visibility in application status in one central view. The Veracode solution helps businesses that innovate through software offer secure code in time in order to protect the business and the data of its customers. Its Application Analysis, Developer Enabling, and AppSec Governance framework empowers businesses to manage risk confidently while allowing developers to fix security issues. DevSecOps requires developers tools that directly integrate into their environment and help them quickly address security flaws at any point in the development process. Veracode offers in-second security reviews in the IDE, along with patch-first recommendations, and automatic fix advice. It also offers the industry’s only hands-on developer training in Veracode Security Labs, based on real-world vulnerabilities. Veracode unified solution provides five types of application security analysis, developer enabling, and compliance frameworks. Companies may also gain insight by using built-in analytics to assess against their AppSec objectives, scale their projects, and report using data visualization to key stakeholders.

Contrast Security

Contrast Security is the leading security technology provider globally that enables software applications to protect themselves from cyber attacks, heralding the new era of self-protecting software. Their proprietary deep-security instrumentation of Contrast is the revolutionary technology that enables highly reliable evaluation and always-on security of an entire application portfolio without disruptive testing or costly expertise in security. They provide Interactive Application Security Testing (IAST) that integrates static application security testing (SAST) with dynamic application security testing (DAST) to create an interactive application security testing approach that is synergistic and self-learning. Interactive security testing methods like IAST cover more coding, yield better results, and validate a larger range of safety regulations quicker than either SAST or DAST techniques operating alone. Contrast has sensors that actively work within applications to detect vulnerabilities, prevent data breaches, and secure the entire company from development, operations, and production. It offers two products

Contrast Assess is a revolutionary security testing solution for applications that infuses vulnerability assessment capabilities on software to automatically identify security flaws.

Contrast Protect gives applications the ability to report at least the following about an attack – the attacker, method of attack, which applications, frequency, volume, and compromise level. Additionally, Contrast Protect also provides engineering teams with specific guidance on where applications have been attacked and how threats can be remedied.