Static Application Security Testing (SAST) is a frequently used Application Security (AppSec) tool, which scans an application’s source, binary, or byte code. A white-box testing tool, it identifies the root cause of vulnerabilities and helps remediate the underlying security flaws. SAST solutions analyze an application from the “inside out” and do not reed a running system to perform a scan.
SAST reduces security risks in applications by providing immediate feedback to developers on issues introduced into code during development. It helps educate developers about security while they work, providing them with real-time access to recommendations and line-of-code navigation, which allows for faster vulnerability discovery and collaborative auditing. This enables developers to create more code that is less vulnerable to compromise, which leads to a more secure application.
SAST tools, however, are not capable of identifying vulnerabilities outside the code. For example, vulnerabilities found in a third-party API would not be detected by SAST and would require Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST). You can learn more about DAST on this page, What is DAST?
Pros of SAST
Cons of SAST
- Not capable of identifying vulnerabilities in dynamic environments
- High risk of reporting false positives
- Since the report is static, it becomes outdated quickly
Application development and testing continues to be the most challenging security process for organizations, according to IT security professionals. Developers need solutions to help them create secure code, and that is where AppSec tools come into play.
AppSec is the discipline of processes, tools and practices aiming to protect applications from threats throughout the entire application lifecycle.
There are many ways to test application security, including:
Why is SAST Important?
SAST is an essential step in the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) because it identifies critical vulnerabilities in an application before it’s deployed to the public, while they’re the least expensive to remediate. It’s in this stage of static code analysis that developers can code, test, revise, and test again to ensure that the final app functions as expected, without any vulnerabilities. When SAST is included as part of the Continuous Integration/Continuous Devlopment (CI/CD) pipeline, this is referred to as “Secure DevOps,” or “DevSecOps.”
Analysis of Fortify on Demand (FoD) vulnerability data shows that 94% of over 11,000 Web applications contained bugs in security features, while code quality and API abuse issues have roughly doubled over the past 4 years (2019 Micro Focus Application Security Risk Report).
If these vulnerabilities are left unchecked and the app is deployed as such, this could lead to a data breach, resulting in major financial loss and damage to your brand reputation
How does SAST work?
SAST uses a Static Code Analysis tool, which can be thought of like a security guard for a building. Similar to a security guard checking for unlocked doors and open windows that could provide entry to an intruder, a Static Code Analyzer looks at the source code to check for coding and design flaws that could allow for malicious code injection. Some examples of these malicious attacks, according to OWASP, include SQL Injections, Command Injections, and Server-Side Injections, among others.
What is a SAST tool that is well-suited for developers?
Micro Focus Fortify Static Code Analyzer (SCA) pinpoints the root cause of security vulnerabilities in the source code, prioritizes the most serious issues, and provides detailed guidance on how to fix them so developers can resolve issues in less time with centralized software security management.
It reduces security risks in applications by providing immediate feedback to developers on issues introduced into code during development.
Fortify SCA allows you to:
- Code securely with integrated SAST
- Quickly triage and fix complex security issues
- Supports the major web languages
- Automate security in the CI/CD pipeline
- Launch fast, automated scans
- Scale your AppSec program