In complex application development environments, Static Application Security Testing (SAST) tools emerge as indispensable platforms to help safeguarding applications from potential security vulnerabilities from the development phase. By scrutinizing the application’s source code, byte code, and binaries, SAST tools can identify security weaknesses before they are exploited in the real world. This fosters a proactive security posture, ensuring your applications have security at their core.
SAST tools work by analyzing an application from its foundations, scrutinizing its codebase without the need to execute the application. In doing so, SAST tools can identify vulnerabilities that may be hard to spot without closely scrutinizing the system. Identifying errors and vulnerabilities on this level also makes the resolution process more efficient; developers know exactly where the issue is and the problems that they need to fix. This results in secure and resilient application structures, saving time and resources that, in the long run, might otherwise be spent in addressing security incidents.
In this guide, we list the top 10 SAST tools that can help secure your applications from the most fundamental level. For each solution, we’ll explain the products key features, as well as suggesting its ideal use case. Our analysis revolves around key aspects such as the range of vulnerabilities they can detect, ease of integration into existing development environments, support for various programming languages, and user feedback.
Everything You Need To Know About Static Application Security Testing (SAST) Tools (FAQs)
What is Static Application Security Testing (SAST) Tools?
Static Application Security Testing (SAST) Tools are used to anlyze applications at the code level to identify and flaws or vulnerabilities that could be exploited once the software is in use. This type of analysis is very effective and accurate because it happens on the most basic, fundamental level: the coding. Any problems further down the line can be traced back to the code. It makes sense, then, to fully analyse the code to identify any weaknesses.
Implementing a SAST tool within the development process brings several benefits:
- Early Detection of Vulnerabilities – Spotting security weaknesses early on, reducing the cost and complexity of fixing issues at later stages.
- Compliance Adherence – Helping organizations meet necessary security compliance standards by ensuring code is written to meet security best practices.
- Enhanced Security Posture – Cultivating a security-conscious development environment, which is integral in building robust and secure applications.
- Integration with DevOps – Seamlessly integrating with DevOps processes to incorporate security checks within the continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipeline.
How Do Static Application Security Testing (SAST) Tools Work?
Static Application Security Testing (SAST) Tools are used to assess the codebase of applications in development. A SAST tool will read and analyze every single line of code, cross referencing it with a database of known errors or vulnerabilities. If any sections of code match these known errors, the section will be highlighted, and relevant users can be alerted.
By going through each line of code in this way SAST tools are able to reduce the likelihood of attackers being able to exploit any vulnerabilities. Common attacks, according to OWASP, include SQL injections, server-side injections, and command injections. This class of attack is when an attacker’s code is inserted into the heart of a software. From here, attackers have a sort of “back door” into the application, putting users at risk.
What Features Should You Look For In Static Application Security Testing (SAST) Tools?
Selecting the right choice of SAST tool can be a critical decision; if you select an appropriate and effective tool, you can vastly reduce the risk of attack further down the line. Different SAST tools offer varying degrees of depth in analysis, support for programming languages, and integration capabilities with other development tools. In this section, we will consider the key features that you should look for when choosing a SAST solution.
- Integration – Without efficient and reliable integration, your SAST tool will be limited in its capabilities. It should readily integrate with your application development workflow, allowing it to scan and monitor code throughout its journey.
- Comprehensive Database – Your solution should be linked to a large, and expanding, database of known threats and vulnerabilities. This will allow it to detect a broad range of threats, thereby ensuring your code is secure and robust.
- Appropriate Notifications – When errors, misconfigurations, or vulnerabilities are detected, your solution should notify relevant users, ensuring that they understand the findings and can respond to them.
- Remediation – While traditional SAST tools would focus on identification of vulnerabilities, newer solutions will provide training materials and actionable intelligence, explaining how best to resolve an issue.
- Low False positive Rate – As SAST solutions go through every single line of code, they tend to pick up errors that do not pose a direct security risk. Good SAST solutions will consider the impact and relevance of a misconfiguration, before alerting admins. This allows them to focus on genuine threats, rather than being sidelined by false positives.
- OWASP Top 10 – The OWASP Top 10 acts as a directory that indexes the most common and most critical security risks to web applications. Your SAST solution should be designed around this framework, ensuring that it is optimized to identify this broad range of threats.