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Runtime Application Self-Protection (RASP)

What Is Runtime Application Self-Protection (RASP)?

What is RASP? Runtime Application Self-Protection (RASP) is a tool that can detect attacks on applications as they occur. A RASP implementation can protect applications from malicious data and behavior by analyzing how the program behaves. If the application's behavior indicates something is wrong, RASP can help stop the threat.

How does RASP Work?

A RASP security tool controls the application it is designed to protect. And if a security event occurs, RASP fixes the issue. In other words, RASP works as a network device—but inside your application. Even though RASP does not make changes to the application's code, it can control what the application does. With this capability, RASP can quickly stop a threat before it causes significant damage.

For instance, RASP technology can stop SQL injection attacks by preventing malicious instructions from executing on an application’s database. In this type of attack, a hacker enters code into an application that can impact how the database functions. But because a RASP system can detect these kinds of attacks, it can prevent the database from executing the malicious code. As a result, simply having a RASP solution can protect sensitive information on the database.

Types of Cyberthreats RASP Protects You From

Because RASP can detect when an application is under attack, it can safeguard applications from several different assaults, such as malware, rootkits, and web attacks.


RASP can automatically identify malware, including malware that traditional security systems are unable to stop. It can stop any activity that indicates malware may be present, keeping important applications up and running.


Rootkits give hackers the ability to control networks or applications. They do this by setting up backdoors or delivering malware. But RASP not only detects the modifications rootkits make to applications, it also stops the attack and restores impacted systems to how they were before the attack.

Web Attacks

RASP can also block threats from the internet, such as malware, viruses, and zero-day attacks—all based on how the application behaves while the attack is occurring. Whether a web attack is known or unknown, RASP can prevent it from hurting your system.

Five Reasons Why Organizations Should Adopt RASP

RASP offers significant benefits, and here are five of the most compelling:

  1. RASP monitors your applications in real time: For many organizations, this feature makes RASP preferable to traditional anti-malware, which focuses on scanning files as opposed to stopping attacks as they happen.
  2. RASP stops code from executing: Because RASP prevents malicious code from affecting an application's behavior, it keeps organizations one step ahead of attackers.
  3. RASP detects and stops attacks before they damage your system: IT teams are often stuck picking up the pieces after an attack. But with RASP, you can prevent any damage from happening in the first place.
  4. RASP stops data breaches: Some malware is specifically designed to steal data. But to do so, it has to control the way an application behaves. RASP prevents malware from changing how an application works, making it easier to protect the data an organization does not want to fall into the wrong hands.
  5. RASP stops hacks without impacting user experiences: For example, if malware attempts to set up a backdoor in an application, RASP can stop the attack without the user noticing anything happening in the background. Meaning, usage of the application will not be interrupted.

Tackling the Challenges of Runtime Application Self-Protection (RASP)

Although RASP comes with significant benefits, there are challenges to keep in mind. For example:

  1. RASP is still a relatively new solution: Not many organizations have started using it yet. That means it has not been thoroughly tested in various environments. Until more RASP testing is done, you may have to invest significant time making sure your RASP solution is fine-tuned to your application.
  2. Buy-in across the organization is necessary for RASP to be effective: This is particularly important when implementing a DevSecOps security strategy, which involves multiple parties combining efforts during the development process to enhance application security. So if one team uses RASP while others do not, there is
  3. RASP is not an external device: It is deployed within the application's code. If you have not implemented RASP correctly, it can make the application run slower than normal.


Both RASP and a web application firewalls (WAFs) are designed to safeguard web applications from online threats. However, the two technologies take very different approaches.


WAFs offer comprehensive security across a company's entire web application architecture. They can detect and stop assaults early in their life cycles, but they can only accomplish this by inspecting web traffic. WAFs may overlook certain threats if they do not understand how the threats affect applications. 


RASP is built to identify even brand-new attacks based on their effects on a program. It does this by keeping track of application behavior. However, RASP has to be executed on the target device running the application, which may affect the application’s performance.

RASP Tools to Protect Your Applications

There are several RASP tools currently on the market, some of which are open source and others offered for a fee. They protect your system in different ways, but they all examine how an attempt to hack web applications makes them behave. 


Sqreen identifies attacks that take advantage of flaws in application code. It also prevents attacks without producing false positives because it only reacts when malicious activity has caused an application to behave improperly.

Additionally, Sqreen offers zero-day protection, defending your application from the Top 10 Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) vulnerabilities like server-side request forgery (SSRF), cross-site scripting (XSS), and SQL injections. Sqreen leverages application behavior to pinpoint an attack, making it more effective than a security solution that depends on threat signatures.   


OpenRASP integrates RASP into the server that runs your web application. It is unique in that it focuses on the sensitive functions your web applications need to perform—such as file operations, database queries, and network requests—and examines their behavior. Once it detects malicious behavior, OpenRASP blocks the harmful inputs hackers feed to your application.

Veracode Runtime Protection

Veracode provides three distinct services: identify attacks, prevent them from transmitting sensitive data to hackers, and give security teams insight into how attacks work.


Hdiv is used by development teams to discover security bugs and syntax vulnerabilities. It works with a variety of languages, such as AngularJS, Java, React, Spring, and ASP.NET and does not require users to know how to code.

How Fortinet Can Help

The Fortinet Web Application Firewall, FortiWeb, protects web applications from many different kinds of attacks. Like RASP technology, it can safeguard your organization from zero-day attacks. You can use FortiWeb to guard traditional web applications and application programming interfaces (APIs) from threats such as malware, viruses, and bots.


What is RASP in cybersecurity?

Runtime Application Self-Protection (RASP) is a tool that can detect attacks on applications as they occur. It protects applications from malicious data and behavior by analyzing how the program behaves.

Why is RASP important?

RASP is important because it can detect and stop attacks in real time without depending on threat signatures.

What is RASP vs WAF?

RASP detects threats by examining the behavior of applications while WAFs are designed to prevent threats from getting to applications in the first place.