What is SAST
March 17, 2020

What Is SAST? And What Are SAST Tools?

Security & Compliance
Static Analysis

As coding errors account for the majority of security vulnerabilities, SAST tools have become an essential component of any software development process. However, this is just one element of a complete automated security testing toolkit. Other tools include dynamic analysis security testing (DAST), fuzzing, software composition analysis, and network vulnerability scanning. However, as SAST tools can be used as the code is written it may be regarded as the first line of defense.

What Is SAST?

Static application security testing (SAST) is a type of software security vulnerability testing. Also known as “white-box testing”, static application security testing tools — such as static code analyzers —  inspect and analyze an application’s code to discover security vulnerabilities.

Using static application security testing to detect security vulnerabilities is crucial to software development, as they can leave systems open to denial of service (DoS), leakage of private data, or unauthorized changes to system behavior.

What Kinds of Software Vulnerabilities Can SAST Tools Detect?

Different types of applications (web, desktop/server or embedded), and implementation languages tend to be more, or less susceptible to different kinds of security vulnerabilities.

For example, cross-site scripting vulnerabilities are found in around two-thirds of all web applications. Embedded applications written in C are more likely to contain memory corruption bugs that make it possible to exploit the code. So, it is important to use a static application security testing tool that has been designed for your application type.

Some of the most common vulnerabilities that static application security testing tools are able to identify and eliminate include the following:

SQL Injections

SQL injection is a code injection technique that is used to attack data-driven applications. The cyberattack enables cybercriminals to embed DQL commands with user-provided parameters.

Input Validation Attacks

An input validation attack is a security problem caused by a trusted user identity and parameter input problems. Often, it is any malicious action against a computer system that involves manually entering strange information into a normal user field

Stack Buffer Overflows

Stack buffer overflows is a common software vulnerability that is caused when a program writes more data to a buffer located on the stack than what is actually allocated for that buffer. It can also be caused deliberately as part of an attack known as “stack smashing”. Stack buffer overflow often leads to the corruption of adjacent data on the stack. And, in some cases, cause the program to crash or operate incorrectly.

Integer Overflows

Integer overflow occurs when an arithmetic operation — such as multiplication or addition — exceeds the maximum size of the integer type used to store it. When an integer overflow occurs, it can jeopardize a program’s reliability and security.

SAST vs. DAST

Static application security testing (SAST) and dynamic application security testing (DAST) are both methods of security vulnerability testing.

Static application security testing is most frequently integrated into build automation to spot vulnerabilities each time the software is built or packaged. However, some static application security testing tools such as Klocwork, also integrate into the developer environment to spot flaws as the developer is actively coding.

Not every security problem is discoverable by the pattern or flows analysis techniques employed by a static application security testing tool. DAST tools should be used to check for vulnerabilities in business logic, issues introduced across multiple application tiers, or issues created at runtime.

DAST runs against an executing version of a program or service. It typically executes a suite of prebuilt attacks to automatically simulate a human attacker.

Each method is able to identify vulnerabilities that the other may not. But, one is not inherently better than the other. Both are needed in order to conduct comprehensive software testing.

Benefits of SAST Tools

SAST tools can provide your development team with several benefits, which include:

Automated Vulnerability Detection

SAST tools examine the code continually throughout the development process. They provide an in-depth analysis that identifies defects, vulnerabilities, and compliance issues in the source code.

Vulnerability Elimination

The best static application security testing tools provide guidance on how best to address and eliminate vulnerabilities found during analysis. This helps to ensure that the code is not only safe and secure but high quality as well.

Ease of Integration

The best static application security testing tools easily integrate into a development team’s established toolset. This helps to ensure that the development process is not delayed or otherwise negatively impacted.

Development Velocity

It takes time for developers to conduct manual code reviews. This is why automated static application security testing tools are so beneficial.

Static application security testing tools are able to examine the code quickly — reducing the amount of disruption to the software development cycle.

Why Choose Perforce SAST Tools?

Klocwork is the most accurate and trusted static code analyzer for C, C++, C#, and Java. It provides software development teams with the ability to automate source code analysis as the code is being written. And, Klocwork has been designed to easily scale to projects of any size.

What’s more, Klocwork’s Differential Analysis enables teams to perform very fast incremental analysis on only the files that have changed while providing results equivalent to those from a full project scan. This ensures the shortest possible analysis times.

In addition, Klocwork provides software developers with the following benefits:

  • Detecting code vulnerabilities, compliance issues, and rule violations earlier in development. This helps to accelerate code reviews as well as the manual testing efforts of developers.
  • Enforcing industry and coding standards, including CWE, CERT, and OWASP.
  • Reporting on compliance over time and across product versions.

See a Klocwork Demo >>

Learn More About SAST and SAST Tools

SAST helps to ensure that your software is safeguarded against potential security vulnerabilities and other cyberthreats.

SAST and Sast tools