Testing is one of the most crucial processes in the software development life cycle (SDLC). This process will be faster and more efficient thanks to the support and operation of specific tools, and static application security testing (SAST) is a prominent example. Static application security testing tools, also known as white box testing, provide developers with immediate feedback while they write, assisting them in resolving problems before moving on to the next stage of the SDLC. Additionally, SAST tools offer graphical depictions of the faults discovered, from source to sink. These make it simpler to navigate the code. Some highlight the dangerous code and pinpoint the precise position of vulnerabilities. Without in-depth security domain expertise, they may also offer detailed advice on addressing problems and the appropriate location in the code to fix them. Now that you have a brief understanding of SAST, read on for more information in the article below.
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What is static application security testing?
Static Application Security Testing (SAST) is a frequently used Application Security (AppSec) tool, which scans an application’s source, binary, or byte code. It is a white-box testing tool that helps address underlying security problems by determining the source of vulnerabilities. SAST solutions don’t require a functioning system to conduct a scan and assess an application from the “inside out.”
By giving quick feedback to developers on problems brought into code during development, SAST static application security testing lowers security risks in programs. With real-time access to suggestions and line-of-code navigation, it assists developers in learning about security as they work, facilitating quicker vulnerability detection and collaborative auditing. This makes it possible for programmers to write more secure code, which results in a more secure application.
The importance of SAST static application security testing
SAST is a crucial stage in the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) since it finds serious flaws in applications before they are released to the public when fixing them is the least expensive. Developers can code, test, modify, and test again during this phase of static code analysis to make sure the finished software works as intended and is secure. “Secure DevOps” or “DevSecOps” is the term used when static application security testing software is included in the Continuous Integration/Continuous Development (CI/CD) pipeline.
>> Know more: Ci/CD pipeline tools
94% of the more than 11,000 Web apps analyzed using Fortify on Demand (FoD) vulnerability data had security feature flaws, and during the last four years, concerns with code quality and API misuse had approximately quadrupled (2019 Micro Focus Application Security Risk Report). If these flaws are not fixed and the app is used as intended, a data breach might occur, causing significant financial loss and harm to your brand’s reputation.
Pros and Cons
Pros of SAST
- Early Detection: Finds vulnerabilities early in the SDLC
- Fast: Faster to remediate vulnerabilities early in the SDLC
- Simple: Fast, early detection makes it easier to fix code before it enters the QA cycle
- Versatile: Supports all kinds of software and application (web, desktop, mobile)
- Cost-Effective: Early detection makes remediation easier, less time-consuming, and therefore, cheaper
Cons of SAST
- Later Detection: Does not find and mitigate flaws and vulnerabilities later in the SDLC or when development is complete
- Static Code Only: Not dynamic. Doesn’t discover runtime flaws and vulnerabilities
- Requires Source Code: Static application security testing access to source code
- Custom Code Only: Designed to support custom code, not open-source software and dependencies
- False Positives: Traditional SAST tools can generate many false positives, which can hamper development
6 steps of running SAST
Static application security testing may be carried out effectively in enterprises that have a significant number of applications created using various platforms, languages, and frameworks by following six easy steps.
- Finalize the tool: Choose a static application security test analysis program that can review the code of programs created in the programming languages you employ. Additionally, the tool has to be able to understand the framework that supports your applications.
- Create the scanning infrastructure, and deploy the tool: In this phase, the license needs are taken care of, access control and authorization are set up, and the servers and databases needed to implement the tool are purchased.
- Customize the tool: Adjust the tool to meet the organization’s requirements. For instance, you may set it up to identify more security flaws or minimize false positives by creating new criteria or changing current ones. Create dashboards to track scan findings, integrate the tool into the build environment, and provide personalized reports.
- Prioritize and onboard applications: Put your apps onboard as soon as the tool is ready. Prioritize the high-risk applications to scan first if you have a lot of applications. The goal is to eventually have all of your apps onboarded and frequently scanned, with application scans coordinated with release cycles, daily or monthly builds, or code check-ins.
- Analyze scan results: Triaging the scan findings in this stage entails removing false positives. The deployment teams should be informed of the issues as soon as the set of issues is complete so that they may be properly and promptly resolved.
- Provide governance and training: The appropriate use of the scanning tools by your development teams is guaranteed by effective governance. The SDLC should include the touchpoints for software security. Your application development and deployment process have to include SAST static application security testing.
Static application security testing tools
For integrating security and quality into your SDLC and supply chain, we provide some of the most comprehensive static application security test solutions.
- With centralized software security management, Micro Focus Fortify Static Code Analyzer (SCA) identifies the underlying cause of security vulnerabilities in the source code, ranks the most critical problems, and offers comprehensive instructions on how to remedy them. By giving developers quick feedback on bugs found in code during development, it lowers security risks in apps.
- Coverity Static Application Security Testing finds critical defects and security weaknesses in code as it’s written. It offers complete route coverage, making certain that each line of code and every possible path of execution are checked. It offers extremely accurate analysis thanks to a thorough comprehension of the source code and supporting frameworks, saving developers’ time on a huge number of false positives. Coverity can easily assess projects with more than 100 million lines of code and is scalable to support thousands of engineers. It may be quickly connected with key development process support tools and systems, including IDEs, source control management, build and continuous integration, bug tracking, and application life cycle management (ALM) solutions.
- Static application security testing in IDE (Code Sight) is a real-time SAST solution that focuses on developers. It checks developers’ code for vulnerabilities and detects them. Code Sight integrates into the integrated development environment (IDE), where it locates security flaws and suggests fixes.
SAST and DAST
As a result of the increasing number of breaches, organizations are paying more attention to application security. They want to detect risks and vulnerabilities in their apps quickly. SAST static application security testing and dynamic application security testing DAST are two methods of application security testing. Both testing approaches find apps’ security problems, although they do so in distinct ways. The following are some significant variations between the two testing methodologies:
|White box security testing
The underlying foundation, design, and implementation are all accessible to the tester. The program is examined from top to bottom. This kind of testing exemplifies the developer methodology.
|Black box security testing
The frameworks and technologies used to build the application are unknown to the tester. Iterative testing is performed on the application. This kind of testing exemplifies the hacker methodology.
|Requires source code
There is no deployed application necessary for SAST. It examines the binary or source code without running the program.
|Requires a running application
Binaries and source code are not necessary for DAST. It does analysis by running the program.
|Finds vulnerabilities earlier in the SDLC
As soon as the code is assessed to be feature-complete, the scan can be carried out.
|Finds vulnerabilities toward the end of the SDLC
It is possible to find vulnerabilities once the development cycle is done.
|Less expensive to fix vulnerabilities
Vulnerabilities may be fixed more quickly and easily since they are discovered earlier in the SDLC. Before the code reaches the QA cycle, findings may frequently be corrected.
|More expensive to fix vulnerabilities
Remediation frequently gets delayed into the following cycle since vulnerabilities are frequently discovered at the conclusion of the SDLC. An emergency release may be necessary to address critical vulnerabilities.
|Can’t discover run-time and environment-related issues
The program can’t identify run-time vulnerabilities since it only checks static code.
|Can discover run-time and environment-related issues
The program can discover run-time vulnerabilities since it performs dynamic analysis on an application.
|Typically supports all kinds of software
Web services, web applications, and thick clients are some examples.
|Typically scans only apps like web applications and web services
DAST is useless for any other kind of program.
Security personnel are vastly outnumbered by developers. Finding the resources to conduct code reviews on even a small portion of an organization’s apps may be difficult. So, the ability to evaluate the entire source is a fundamental strength of static application security testing SAST tools. They are also significantly quicker than human-performed manual secure code reviews. In a couple of minutes, these technologies can scan millions of lines of code. With high confidence, static application security testing tools automatically detect significant vulnerabilities including buffer overflows, SQL injection, cross-site scripting, and others. Therefore, using static analysis in the SDLC may significantly improve the overall quality of the code produced.