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DAST proxy-based analyzer (deprecated)

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WARNING: This feature was deprecated in GitLab 16.9 and will be removed in 17.0. Use browser-based DAST instead. This change is a breaking change.

The DAST proxy-based analyzer can be added to your GitLab CI/CD pipeline. This helps you discover vulnerabilities in web applications that do not use JavaScript heavily. For applications that do, see the DAST browser-based analyzer.

For a video walkthrough, see How to set up Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) with GitLab.

WARNING: Do not run DAST scans against a production server. Not only can it perform any function that a user can, such as clicking buttons or submitting forms, but it may also trigger bugs, leading to modification, or loss of production data. Only run DAST scans against a test server.

The analyzer uses the Software Security Project Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP) to scan in two different ways:

  • Passive scan only (default). DAST executes ZAP's Baseline Scan and doesn't actively attack your application.
  • Passive and active (or full) scan. DAST can be configured to also perform an active scan to attack your application and produce a more extensive security report. It can be very useful when combined with Review Apps.


  • The DAST latest template was introduced in GitLab 13.8.
  • All DAST templates were updated to DAST_VERSION: 2 in GitLab 14.0.
  • All DAST templates were updated to DAST_VERSION: 3 in GitLab 15.0.

GitLab DAST configuration is defined in CI/CD templates. Updates to the template are provided with GitLab upgrades, allowing you to benefit from any improvements and additions.

Available templates:

WARNING: The latest version of the template may include breaking changes. Use the stable template unless you need a feature provided only in the latest template.

For more information about template versioning, see the CI/CD documentation.

DAST versions

By default, the DAST template uses the latest major version of the DAST Docker image. You can choose how DAST updates, using the DAST_VERSION variable:

  • Automatically update DAST with new features and fixes by pinning to a major version (such as 1).
  • Only update fixes by pinning to a minor version (such as 1.6).
  • Prevent all updates by pinning to a specific version (such as 1.6.4).

Find the latest DAST versions on the DAST releases page.

DAST run options

You can use DAST to examine your web application:

  • Automatically, initiated by a merge request.
  • Manually, initiated on demand.

Some of the differences between these run options:

Automatic scan On-demand scan
DAST scan is initiated by a merge request. DAST scan is initiated manually, outside the DevOps life cycle.
CI/CD variables are sourced from .gitlab-ci.yml. CI/CD variables are provided in the UI.
All DAST CI/CD variables available. Subset of DAST CI/CD variables available.
DAST.gitlab-ci.yml template. DAST-On-Demand-Scan.gitlab-ci.yml template.

Enable automatic DAST run

To enable DAST to run automatically, either:

Edit the .gitlab-ci.yml file manually

In this method you manually edit the existing .gitlab-ci.yml file. Use this method if your GitLab CI/CD configuration file is complex.

To include the DAST template:

  1. On the left sidebar, select Search or go to and find your project.

  2. Select Build > Pipeline editor.

  3. Copy and paste the following to the bottom of the .gitlab-ci.yml file. If an include line already exists, add only the template line below it.

    To use the DAST stable template:

      - template: DAST.gitlab-ci.yml

    To use the DAST latest template:

      - template: DAST.latest.gitlab-ci.yml
  4. Define the URL to be scanned by DAST by using one of these methods:

    • Set the DAST_WEBSITE CI/CD variable. If set, this value takes precedence.

    • Add the URL in an environment_url.txt file at the root of your project. This is useful for testing in dynamic environments. To run DAST against an application dynamically created during a GitLab CI/CD pipeline, a job that runs prior to the DAST scan must persist the application's domain in an environment_url.txt file. DAST automatically parses the environment_url.txt file to find its scan target.

      For example, in a job that runs prior to DAST, you could include code that looks similar to:

        - echo http://${CI_PROJECT_ID}-${CI_ENVIRONMENT_SLUG} > environment_url.txt
        paths: [environment_url.txt]
        when: always

      You can see an example of this in our Auto DevOps CI YAML file.

  5. Select the Validate tab, then select Validate pipeline. The message Simulation completed successfully indicates the file is valid.

  6. Select the Edit tab.

  7. Optional. In Commit message, customize the commit message.

  8. Select Commit changes.

Pipelines now include a DAST job.

The results are saved as a DAST report artifact that you can later download and analyze. Due to implementation limitations, we always take the latest DAST artifact available. Behind the scenes, the GitLab DAST Docker image is used to run the tests on the specified URL and scan it for possible vulnerabilities.

Configure DAST using the UI

In this method you select options in the UI. Based on your selections, a code snippet is created that you paste into the .gitlab-ci.yml file.

To configure DAST using the UI:

  1. On the left sidebar, select Search or go to and find your project.
  2. Select Secure > Security configuration.
  3. In the Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) section, select Enable DAST or Configure DAST.
  4. Select the desired Scanner profile, or select Create scanner profile and save a scanner profile. For more details, see scanner profiles.
  5. Select the desired Site profile, or select Create site profile and save a site profile. For more details, see site profiles.
  6. Select Generate code snippet. A modal opens with the YAML snippet corresponding to the options you selected.
  7. Do one of the following:
    1. To copy the snippet to your clipboard, select Copy code only.
    2. To add the snippet to your project's .gitlab-ci.yml file, select Copy code and open .gitlab-ci.yml file. The Pipeline Editor opens.
      1. Paste the snippet into the .gitlab-ci.yml file.
      2. Select the Validate tab, then select Validate pipeline. The message Simulation completed successfully indicates the file is valid.
      3. Select the Edit tab.
      4. Optional. In Commit message, customize the commit message.
      5. Select Commit changes.

Pipelines now include a DAST job.

API scan

  • The DAST API analyzer is used for scanning web APIs. Web API technologies such as GraphQL, REST, and SOAP are supported.

URL scan

A URL scan allows you to specify which parts of a website are scanned by DAST.

Define the URLs to scan

URLs to scan can be specified by either of the following methods:

  • Use DAST_PATHS_FILE CI/CD variable to specify the name of a file containing the paths.
  • Use DAST_PATHS variable to list the paths.

To define the URLs to scan in a file, create a plain text file with one path per line.


To scan the URLs in that file, set the CI/CD variable DAST_PATHS_FILE to the path of that file. The file can be checked into the project repository or generated as an artifact by a job that runs before DAST.

By default, DAST scans do not clone the project repository. Instruct the DAST job to clone the project by setting GIT_STRATEGY to fetch. Give a file path relative to CI_PROJECT_DIR to DAST_PATHS_FILE.

  - template: DAST.gitlab-ci.yml

  DAST_PATHS_FILE: url_file.txt  # url_file.txt lives in the root directory of the project
  DAST_BROWSER_SCAN: "true" # use the browser-based GitLab DAST crawler
Use DAST_PATHS CI/CD variable

To specify the paths to scan in a CI/CD variable, add a comma-separated list of the paths to the DAST_PATHS variable. You can only scan paths of a single host.

  - template: DAST.gitlab-ci.yml

  DAST_PATHS: "/page1.html,/category1/page1.html,/page3.html"
  DAST_BROWSER_SCAN: "true" # use the browser-based GitLab DAST crawler

When using DAST_PATHS and DAST_PATHS_FILE, note the following:

  • DAST_WEBSITE must be defined when using either DAST_PATHS_FILE or DAST_PATHS. The paths listed in either use DAST_WEBSITE to build the URLs to scan
  • Spidering is disabled when DAST_PATHS or DAST_PATHS_FILE are defined
  • DAST_PATHS_FILE and DAST_PATHS cannot be used together
  • The DAST_PATHS variable has a limit of about 130 kb. If you have a list or paths greater than this, use DAST_PATHS_FILE.

Full Scan

To perform a full scan on the listed paths, use the DAST_FULL_SCAN_ENABLED CI/CD variable.


The proxy-based analyzer uses the browser-based analyzer to authenticate a user prior to a scan. See Authentication for configuration instructions.

Customize DAST settings

You can customize the behavior of DAST using both CI/CD variables and command-line options. Use of CI/CD variables overrides the values contained in the DAST template.

Customize DAST using CI/CD variables

WARNING: Beginning in GitLab 13.0, the use of only and except is no longer supported. You must use rules instead.

The DAST settings can be changed through CI/CD variables by using the variables parameter in .gitlab-ci.yml. For details of all DAST CI/CD variables, read Available CI/CD variables.

For example:

  - template: DAST.gitlab-ci.yml

  DAST_BROWSER_SCAN: "true" # use the browser-based GitLab DAST crawler

Because the template is evaluated before the pipeline configuration, the last mention of the variable takes precedence.

Enable or disable rules

A complete list of the rules that DAST uses to scan for vulnerabilities can be found in the ZAP documentation.

DAST_EXCLUDE_RULES disables the rules with the given IDs.

DAST_ONLY_INCLUDE_RULES restricts the set of rules used in the scan to those with the given IDs.

DAST_EXCLUDE_RULES and DAST_ONLY_INCLUDE_RULES are mutually exclusive and a DAST scan with both configured exits with an error.

By default, several rules are disabled because they either take a long time to run or frequently generate false positives. The complete list of disabled rules can be found in exclude_rules.yml.

The lists for DAST_EXCLUDE_RULES and DAST_ONLY_INCLUDE_RULES must be enclosed in double quotes ("), otherwise they are interpreted as numeric values.

Hide sensitive information

HTTP request and response headers may contain sensitive information, including cookies and authorization credentials. By default, the following headers are masked:

  • Authorization.
  • Proxy-Authorization.
  • Set-Cookie (values only).
  • Cookie (values only).

Using the DAST_MASK_HTTP_HEADERS CI/CD variable, you can list the headers whose values you want masked. For details on how to mask headers, see Customizing the DAST settings.

Use Mutual TLS

Mutual TLS allows a target application server to verify that requests are from a known source. Browser-based scans do not support Mutual TLS.


  • Base64-encoded PKCS12 certificate
  • Password of the base64-encoded PKCS12 certificate

To enable Mutual TLS:

  1. If the PKCS12 certificate is not already base64-encoded, convert it to base64 encoding. For security reasons, we recommend encoding the certificate locally, not using a web-hosted conversion service. For example, to encode the certificate on either macOS or Linux:

    base64 <path-to-pkcs12-certificate-file>
  2. Create a masked variable named DAST_PKCS12_CERTIFICATE_BASE64 and store the base64-encoded PKCS12 certificate's value in that variable.

  3. Create a masked variable DAST_PKCS12_PASSWORD and store the PKCS12 certificate's password in that variable.

Available CI/CD variables

These CI/CD variables are specific to DAST. They can be used to customize the behavior of DAST to your requirements. For authentication CI/CD variables, see Authentication.

WARNING: All customization of GitLab security scanning tools should be tested in a merge request before merging these changes to the default branch. Failure to do so can give unexpected results, including a large number of false positives.

CI/CD variable Type Description
DAST_ADVERTISE_SCAN boolean Set to true to add a Via header to every request sent, advertising that the request was sent as part of a GitLab DAST scan.
DAST_AGGREGATE_VULNERABILITIES boolean Vulnerability aggregation is set to true by default. To disable this feature and see each vulnerability individually set to false.
DAST_ALLOWED_HOSTS Comma-separated list of strings Hostnames included in this variable are considered in scope when crawled. By default the DAST_WEBSITE hostname is included in the allowed hosts list. Headers set using DAST_REQUEST_HEADERS are added to every request made to these hostnames. Example,,
DAST_API_HOST_OVERRIDE 1 string {warning} Removed in GitLab 16.0. Replaced by DAST API scan.
DAST_API_SPECIFICATION 1 URL or string {warning} Removed in GitLab 16.0. Replaced by DAST API scan.
DAST_AUTH_EXCLUDE_URLS URLs {warning} Removed in GitLab 14.0. Replaced by DAST_EXCLUDE_URLS. The URLs to skip during the authenticated scan; comma-separated. Regular expression syntax can be used to match multiple URLs. For example, .* matches an arbitrary character sequence.
DAST_AUTO_UPDATE_ADDONS boolean ZAP add-ons are pinned to specific versions in the DAST Docker image. Set to true to download the latest versions when the scan starts. Default: false.
DAST_DEBUG 1 boolean Enable debug message output. Default: false.
DAST_EXCLUDE_RULES string Set to a comma-separated list of Vulnerability Rule IDs to exclude them from running during the scan. Rule IDs are numbers and can be found from the DAST log or on the ZAP project. For example, HTTP Parameter Override has a rule ID of 10026. Cannot be used when DAST_ONLY_INCLUDE_RULES is set. Note: In earlier versions of GitLab the excluded rules were executed but vulnerabilities they generated were suppressed.
DAST_EXCLUDE_URLS 1 URLs The URLs to skip during the authenticated scan; comma-separated. Regular expression syntax can be used to match multiple URLs. For example, .* matches an arbitrary character sequence. Example,
DAST_FULL_SCAN_ENABLED 1 boolean Set to true to run a ZAP Full Scan instead of a ZAP Baseline Scan. Default: false
DAST_HTML_REPORT string {warning} Deprecated in GitLab 15.7. The filename of the HTML report written at the end of a scan.
DAST_INCLUDE_ALPHA_VULNERABILITIES boolean Set to true to include alpha passive and active scan rules. Default: false.
DAST_MARKDOWN_REPORT string {warning} Deprecated in GitLab 15.7. The filename of the Markdown report written at the end of a scan.
DAST_MASK_HTTP_HEADERS string Comma-separated list of request and response headers to be masked. Must contain all headers to be masked. Refer to list of headers that are masked by default.
DAST_MAX_URLS_PER_VULNERABILITY number The maximum number of URLs reported for a single vulnerability. DAST_MAX_URLS_PER_VULNERABILITY is set to 50 by default. To list all the URLs set to 0.
DAST_ONLY_INCLUDE_RULES string Set to a comma-separated list of Vulnerability Rule IDs to configure the scan to run only them. Rule IDs are numbers and can be found from the DAST log or on the ZAP project. Cannot be used when DAST_EXCLUDE_RULES is set.
DAST_PATHS string Set to a comma-separated list of URLs for DAST to scan. For example, /page1.html,/category1/page3.html,/page2.html.
DAST_PATHS_FILE string The file path containing the paths within DAST_WEBSITE to scan. The file must be plain text with one path per line.
DAST_PKCS12_CERTIFICATE_BASE64 string The PKCS12 certificate used for sites that require Mutual TLS. Must be encoded as base64 text.
DAST_PKCS12_PASSWORD string The password of the certificate used in DAST_PKCS12_CERTIFICATE_BASE64.
DAST_REQUEST_HEADERS 1 string Set to a comma-separated list of request header names and values. Headers are added to every request made by DAST. For example, Cache-control: no-cache,User-Agent: DAST/1.0
DAST_SKIP_TARGET_CHECK boolean Set to true to prevent DAST from checking that the target is available before scanning. Default: false.
DAST_SPIDER_MINS 1 number The maximum duration of the spider scan in minutes. Set to 0 for unlimited. Default: One minute, or unlimited when the scan is a full scan.
DAST_SPIDER_START_AT_HOST boolean Set to false to prevent DAST from resetting the target to its host before scanning. When true, non-host targets is reset to before scan. Default: false.
DAST_TARGET_AVAILABILITY_TIMEOUT 1 number Time limit in seconds to wait for target availability.
DAST_USE_AJAX_SPIDER 1 boolean Set to true to use the AJAX spider in addition to the traditional spider, useful for crawling sites that require JavaScript. Default: false.
DAST_XML_REPORT string {warning} Deprecated in GitLab 15.7. The filename of the XML report written at the end of a scan.
DAST_WEBSITE 1 URL The URL of the website to scan.
DAST_ZAP_CLI_OPTIONS string {warning} Deprecated in GitLab 15.7. ZAP server command-line options. For example, -Xmx3072m would set the Java maximum memory allocation pool size.
DAST_ZAP_LOG_CONFIGURATION string {warning} Deprecated in GitLab 15.7. Set to a semicolon-separated list of additional log4j properties for the ZAP Server. Example:;logger.httpsender.level=debug;;logger.sitemap.level=debug;
SECURE_ANALYZERS_PREFIX URL Set the Docker registry base address from which to download the analyzer.
  1. Available to an on-demand DAST scan.

Customize DAST using command-line options

Not all DAST configuration is available via CI/CD variables. To find out all possible options, run the following configuration. Available command-line options are printed to the job log:

  template: DAST.gitlab-ci.yml

    - /analyze --help

You must then overwrite the script command to pass in the appropriate argument. For example, vulnerability definitions in alpha can be included with -a. The following configuration includes those definitions:

  template: DAST.gitlab-ci.yml

    - export DAST_WEBSITE=${DAST_WEBSITE:-$(cat environment_url.txt)}
    - /analyze -a -t $DAST_WEBSITE

Custom ZAProxy configuration

The ZAProxy server contains many useful configurable values. Many key/values for -config remain undocumented, but there is an untested list of possible keys. These options are not supported by DAST, and may break the DAST scan when used. An example of how to rewrite the Authorization header value with TOKEN follows:

  template: DAST.gitlab-ci.yml

  DAST_ZAP_CLI_OPTIONS: "-config replacer.full_list(0).description=auth -config replacer.full_list(0).enabled=true -config replacer.full_list(0).matchtype=REQ_HEADER -config replacer.full_list(0).matchstr=Authorization -config replacer.full_list(0).regex=false -config replacer.full_list(0).replacement=TOKEN"

Bleeding-edge vulnerability definitions

ZAP first creates rules in the alpha class. After a testing period with the community, they are promoted to beta. DAST uses beta definitions by default. To request alpha definitions, use the DAST_INCLUDE_ALPHA_VULNERABILITIES CI/CD variable as shown in the following configuration:

  template: DAST.gitlab-ci.yml


Cloning the project's repository

The DAST job does not require the project's repository to be present when running, so by default GIT_STRATEGY is set to none.


The DAST tool outputs a gl-dast-report.json report file containing details of the scan and its results. This file is included in the job's artifacts. JSON is the default format, but you can output the report in Markdown, HTML, and XML formats. To specify an alternative format, use a CI/CD variable.

For details of the report's schema, see the schema for DAST reports. Example reports can be found in the DAST repository.

WARNING: The JSON report artifacts are not a public API of DAST and their format is expected to change in the future.


unable to get local issuer certificate when trying to validate a site profile

The use of self-signed certificates is not supported and may cause the job to fail with an error message: unable to get local issuer certificate. For more information, see issue 416670.