Ivan Homola, Author
Indie maker with a passion for SEO working on web projects. Ex-mobile dev-agency owner. Now, helping early stage founders turn their side projects into businesses.
Did you know your application might be at risk if you don't use a SAST scanner?
It can help you identify and protect your applications from attacks.
In this guide, you will learn about what a SAST scanner is, how it can help you assess the security of your applications, and some of the prominent testing tools available today.
What is a SAST Scanner?
SAST (Static Application Security Testing) scanners are security assessment tools that security professionals and software developers use to detect vulnerabilities in code that hackers could exploit. Knowing your application's security is important for the organization and its users.
Security experts must use software testing tools such as SAST scanners to determine their security.
- It provides immediate feedback on issues introduced into the code during development.
- You can quickly identify and fix vulnerabilities before releasing the application to users.
- It pinpoints security issues like SQL injection attacks, buffer overflows, cross-site scripting attacks, cross-site request forgery, and more.
- You can integrate it into CI/CD pipelines and provide real-time feedback to other developers, helping them improve application source code quickly and effectively.
- It can also help you to find the possible threats inside open source code that you use inside your applications.
- Examine an entire codebase in one test.
- Easy to use and cost-effective.
What is the purpose of SAST scanning?
SAST scanning is a process of finding security breaches in the code base of the applications.
It detects possible security issues before hackers expose and exploit them, allowing organizations to secure their applications before deployment.
How do SAST scanners work?
SAST scanners analyze the source code of an application to detect vulnerabilities.
They use a combination of pattern matching, data flow analysis, and program slicing to identify dangerous coding practices that could lead to a threat.
You can use it as part of the software development process to catch any potential problems before they become an issue.
The most popular SAST scanners
There are 5 tools I want to highlight in this article, including Codiga, Veracode, Codacy, Checkmarx, and Brakeman. Let’s have a look at each of them.
Codiga is a powerful and flexible static code analysis utility that makes it possible for developers to create secure code at a rapid pace.
It examines the code base for security vulnerabilities and coding errors in real-time without manual inspection or user involvement.
It contains features such as a coding assistant that allows developers to easily write, share and reuse code snippets directly from their integrated development environment (IDE) with other team members.
Furthermore, the built-in automated code review feature in Codiga can quickly identify security issues and coding errors during pull requests.
Thus, it can be an invaluable tool for continuous integration (CI) and Continuous Delivery (CD) processes.
- Multiple platforms support: GitHub, GitLab, and Bitbucket.
- Easy to use and configure.
- IDE extension for VS Code, JetBrains
- Security analysis with custom rules.
- Automated security feedback while writing the code and when you push to the repo.
- Dependency security flaw detector.
- It detects OWASP 10, Sans/CWE Top 25, and MITRE CWE.
It provides actionable results to help you remediate code breaches quickly.
It uses static analysis to detect security flaws in your applications, including those related to authentication, authorization, configuration, encryption, input validation, and more.
It also provides an interactive report with detailed findings and recommendations for resolution.
- It enables automated scanning of applications to detect security issues quickly and accurately.
- It generates detailed reports on the results of scans, which you can use to resolve vulnerabilities.
- You can access their API to integrate the tool into your existing development process and workflows.
It is a security intelligence platform that helps organizations and developers identify security risks inside their applications.
It offers customizable, interactive reports that allow developers to identify and address issues.
It also provides insights into code complexity, helping teams keep their code maintainable and secure.
- High-security standards by detecting OWASP Top 10
- Code standardization by applying the patterns and standard rules.
- Get notified when you break any set of code quality standards.
- You can tackle technical debt through informed sprints.
It scans applications for potential issues that could put the organization at risk, such as cross-site scripting, SQL injection, and business logic flaws.
You can use it for both web and mobile applications.
It also provides standard best practices and guidelines to help organizations reduce the risk of data breaches.
Unlike many other SAST tools, Checkmarx provides detailed reports on potential vulnerabilities and gives developers actionable advice to fix them.
You can integrate it with popular build systems such as Jenkins and TeamCity to ensure continuous security testing.
Brakeman is a static analysis tool for Ruby on Rails applications.
It scans and reports any issues found, including their severity and how to fix them.
It can help developers recognize and fix security-related issues in their code before they become serious problems.
Overall it is a command-line tool that performs source code analysis only for Ruby on Rails.
You can run various checks like:
- Basic Authentication
- Cross-Site Scripting
- Default and permit routes
- Session manipulation
- Regex DOS
- Socket Path Traversal
So you learned about the importance of software security scanners.
The five scanners I mentioned above are some of the most popular SAST tools to secure your software development processes and get started on the road to securing your apps today.
Almost all tools are great at their features, but many have missing components like built-in snippets manager, custom rules, IDE extensions, and Git Hooks support.
Codiga is the fastest-growing SAST scanner for modern usage which supports all the mentioned features and proper static code analysis.
What are SAST and DAST scanning?
SAST (Scanning application security testing) and DAST (Digital application security testing) are testing techniques that can help you to find the vulnerabilities in your applications before and after deployment.
SAST tools detect vulnerabilities within the source code of an application.
It consists of automated and manual processes that evaluate the
application from a static perspective, analyzing the code rather than its execution.
DAST tools focus on identifying security vulnerabilities in an application's runtime environment.
It uses automated techniques to execute requests against the application and analyze its responses for suspicious activity, such as SQL injections or cross-site scripting (XSS).
It investigates how the application behaves in its production environment, allowing testers to uncover issues that may not be present during static analysis.
Simply put, DAST simulates the actions of an outside attacker, while SAST scans the application source code at rest.
What Vulnerabilities Can SAST Tools Identify?
Common vulnerabilities identified by SAST tools include:
- Injection flaws such as SQL injection and Cross-site Scripting (XSS)
- Broken authentication and authorization
- Unvalidated input
- Poor session management
- Weak cryptography implementation
- Lack of data validation
- Hardcoded secrets
- Buffer overflows
- Improper use of APIs
What features should I look for in a SAST scanner?
Look for a scanner that has been tested and proven accurate in its results.
It should automate the scanning process, so it is optional to review every scan result manually.
It can scale up or down as needed depending on your needs.
Reporting capabilities, including graphical displays of findings and vulnerability severity levels, are good options.
Ensure the scanner can keep up with the latest threats by regularly updating its database of known vulnerabilities and malicious code signatures.