Static application security testing (SAST), or static analysis, is a testing methodology that analyzes source code to find security vulnerabilities that make your organization’s applications susceptible to attack. SAST scans an application before the code is compiled. It’s also known as white box testing.
SAST takes place very early in the software development life cycle (SDLC) as it does not require a working application and can take place without code being executed. It helps developers identify vulnerabilities in the initial stages of development and quickly resolve issues without breaking builds or passing on vulnerabilities to the final release of the application.
SAST tools give developers real-time feedback as they code, helping them fix issues before they pass the code to the next phase of the SDLC. This prevents security-related issues from being considered an afterthought. SAST tools also provide graphical representations of the issues found, from source to sink. These help you navigate the code easier. Some tools point out the exact location of vulnerabilities and highlight the risky code. Tools can also provide in-depth guidance on how to fix issues and the best place in the code to fix them, without requiring deep security domain expertise.
Developers can also create the customized reports they need with SAST tools; these reports can be exported offline and tracked using dashboards. Tracking all the security issues reported by the tool in an organized way can help developers remediate these issues promptly and release applications with minimal problems. This process contributes to the creation of a secure SDLC.
It’s important to note that SAST tools must be run on the application on a regular basis, such as during daily/monthly builds, every time code is checked in, or during a code release.
Developers dramatically outnumber security staff. It can be challenging for an organization to find the resources to perform code reviews on even a fraction of its applications. A key strength of SAST tools is the ability to analyze 100% of the codebase. Additionally, they are much faster than manual secure code reviews performed by humans. These tools can scan millions of lines of code in a matter of minutes. SAST tools automatically identify critical vulnerabilities—such as buffer overflows, SQL injection, cross-site scripting, and others—with high confidence. Thus, integrating static analysis into the SDLC can yield dramatic results in the overall quality of the code developed.
Synopsys is a Leader in the Forrester Wave for Static Application Security Testing
There are six simple steps needed to perform SAST efficiently in organizations that have a very large number of applications built with different languages, frameworks, and platforms.
Coverity Static Application Security Testing finds critical defects and security weaknesses in code as it’s written. It provides full path coverage, ensuring that every line of code and every potential execution path is tested. Through a deep understanding of the source code and the underlying frameworks, it provides highly accurate analysis, so developers don’t waste time on a large volume of false positives.
Coverity scales to accommodate thousands of developers and can analyze projects with more than 100 million lines of code with ease. It can be rapidly integrated with critical tools and systems that support the development process, such as source control management, build and continuous integration, bug tracking, and application life cycle management (ALM) solutions, as well as IDEs.
SAST in IDE (Code Sight) is a real-time, developer-centric SAST tool. It scans for and identifies vulnerabilities as developers code. Code Sight integrates into the integrated development environment (IDE), where it identifies security vulnerabilities and provides guidance to remediate them.
Organizations are paying more attention to application security, owing to the rising number of breaches. They want to identify vulnerabilities in their applications and mitigate risks at an early stage. There are two different types of application security testing—SAST and dynamic application security testing (DAST). Both testing methodologies identify security flaws in applications, but they do so differently.
Here are some of the key differences between the two testing methodologies:
Learn more about conducting security testing early in the SDLC
Explore the value of SAST in managing application risk
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See why Synopsys is a Leader in AppSec
See why Coverity is a SAST Leader
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