SAST (Static Application Security Testing), has become an integral component of software development projects that prioritize security. But what exactly is SAST, and why does it hold such significance?
In this article we aim to give a comprehensive explanation of SAST; its primary capabilities, and why your development teams must incorporate SAST.
What Is Static Application Security Testing?
Static Application Security Testing, more commonly known by its acronym SAST, refers to a set of techniques and tools used to examine application source code to detect security vulnerabilities without running it directly.
As with white box testing techniques, SAST allows an examination of an app’s internal structure, architecture, and coding practices without running them themselves in real-time environments.
Contrasting dynamic application security testing (DAST), which examines running applications, SAST uses a static approach by scanning code at rest within continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) pipelines.
This enables vulnerabilities to be discovered earlier during the software development lifecycle (SDLC) phases for quicker and cost-effective remediation efforts.
Why SAST Is Necessary?
1. Reduce the Chance Of Data Breach By Identifying More Vulnerabilities Early
Substantive Application Security Testing (SAST) testing regularly allows bugs like SQLi and XSS to be identified quickly while code is being written, making addressing flaws both cheaper and quicker.
“Shifting left” with security provides many advantages – one being the potential savings from fixing flaws sooner and cheaper.
Applications containing vulnerabilities, such as injection attacks or cryptography flaws, place their entire business at risk of hacks that compromise data, IP, and trust – SAST protects from these avoidable security incidents.
2. Evaluate Code Manually And Save Time And Money
Manually auditing code for vulnerabilities does not scale and can often prove ineffective while automating scans with SAST checks every line of code at machine speed to save both time and costs.
3. Use CI/CD Integration To Workflows And Safely Accelerate Release Cycles
Integrating SAST scans seamlessly into developer workflows through native CI/CD integration positions them as helpful allies instead of obstacles, increasing adoption across engineering teams.
SAST can quickly identify issues early and produce actionable solutions, helping teams speed up release cycles without compromising security – an essential goal of DevOps.
4. Meet Compliance Requirements And Gain Visibility Into Third-Party Code Risks
Conformance to software security standards such as PCI DSS requires using technologies like SAST. Integrating scans demonstrates due diligence.
SAST can detect vulnerabilities introduced through open-source libraries and third-party code dependencies – an area of potential vulnerability.
What Is The Purpose Of SAST Tools?
Modern SAST solutions such as Snyk or Aikido Security offer several unique capabilities that make them stand out from traditional code analyzers:
- Identification of several vulnerabilities: SAST can detect SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS), insecure data exposure, configuration flaws, and cryptography vulnerabilities outlined by sources like the OWASP Top 10.
- Connectivity with CI/CD workflows: SAST testing can easily be integrated into developer workflows regardless of their chosen SaaS provider, enabling the identification of vulnerabilities as code is checked into repositories.
- Accuracy using sophisticated analysis: Static analyzers use techniques like data flow analysis, taint analysis, and semantic analysis to reduce false positives while uncovering hard-to-detect issues.
- Prioritization and actionable reporting: Smart rankings and clear remediation guidelines enable developers to prioritize fixing high-risk vulnerabilities first.
Which SAST Tools Are Most Frequently Used?
There is a range of free and paid application security platforms for Small App Security Testing Teams available today, from small dev teams to large enterprises – and there is bound to be something just right.
Here are some of the top SAST tools:
- Aikido Security
- Snyk Security
- GitLab SAST
- Github Advanced Security
SAST tools scan application codebases to quickly uncover security flaws without the need to execute programs.
Modern SAST offerings such as continuous integration/continuous delivery integration, broad language support, precision detection, and clear reporting provide immense value.
SAST addresses critical challenges encountered by engineering and security teams alike by shifting security left, mitigating breach risks, improving efficiency, and providing oversight into third-party code.
Prioritizing its use strengthens application security posture as well as meets compliance demands.