SAST — or static application security testing — is a type of software security vulnerability testing. As coding errors account for the majority of security vulnerabilities, SAST has become an essential component of any software development process.
Used effectively, SAST tools — including static code analyzers — can help ensure that software is secure and safe. Here, we provide information on SAST and offer SAST tools examples.
Your Guide to What is SAST and SAST Tools
Read along or jump to the section that interests you the most:
- SAST Overview
- Why SAST Tools Are Necessary
- NIST Cybersecurity Framework Overview
- Secure Coding Overview
- Secure Coding Standards Overview
- Secure Coding Best Practices
- Prevent Cybersecurity Threats
- The Top Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities for Embedded Software
- Understanding the Difference Between Software Safety vs. Security
- How to Apply SAST to Specific Industries
- Which SAST Tool to Use
SAST is a type of software security vulnerability testing.
Also known as “white box testing”, SAST tools — such as static code analyzers — inspect and analyze an application’s code to discover security vulnerabilities.
SAST can be performed at all stages of your software development — on the desktop, within CI/CD Pipelines, and server nightly builds. This helps to ensure that software vulnerabilities are detected earlier in the process.
Why SAST Tools Are Necessary
As a result of the growing frequency of cyberthreats, SAST tools have become an essential part of application development. With SAST tools, developlers are able to safeguard their software from potential vulnerabilities.
NIST Cybersecurity Framework Overview
NIST provides a cybersecurity framework that helps organizations to better understand and improve their management of cybersecurity risks.
The NIST cybersecurity framework is composed of three components:
- Framework Core
- Implementation Tiers
- Framework Profiles
Secure Coding Overview
Secure coding is an important part of SAST.
Code that is secure makes it more difficult for hackers to take direct control of a device or gain access to another device. Ensuring that code is secure is especially important to incorporate secure coding practices throughout software planning and development.
The best way to ensure secure coding is to use a static code analyzer. By using a static code analyzer, you are able to enforce coding standard rules and flag security violations.
Secure Coding Standards Overview
Secure coding standards are rules and guidelines used to prevent security vulnerabilities. Used effectively, secure coding standards prevent, detect, and eliminate errors that could compromise software security.
Secure coding guidelines are especially important for embedded development — which relies on C/C++ coding languages— and enterprise software — which relies on C# and Java coding languages. For that reason, to better effectively manage potential cybersecurity risks, it is essential that you use secure coding standards to better ensure that your code is safe and secure.
Learn more about secure coding standards:
Secure Coding Best Practices
Following secure coding best practices helps to ensuring that code is safe from threats and free of vulnerabilities.
The most effective way to implement secure coding standards is to use a SAST tool — like static code analysis. Half of all security defects are introduced at the source code level, which is why it is essential to enforce coding standards to identify code security vulnerabilities early.
Prevent Cybersecurity Threats
Unfortunately, cybersecurity threats will continue to be a concern for every software development industry. For that reason, it is essential to take the necessary steps to safeguard your software from potential vulenerabilities.
The Top Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities for Embedded Software
A single cybersecurity vulnerability can leave embedded systems defenseless to data breaches, cyberattacks, and other cyber incidents. Unfortunately, cybersecurity vulnerabilities are an ever-present threat. For that reason, it is important to know how to identify and fix these vulnerabilities to help ensure that your embedded systems are secure.
Understanding the Difference Between Software Safety vs. Security
Safe software depends on the quality of the safety and security of the code to protect against malicious attacks. While code security and safety are often used interchangeably, there are differences between the two.
Code security is about preventing unwanted or illegal activity in software, and it helps to ensure that our systems are secure during an attack. While code safety is a broader term used to indicate whether software is safe and reliable to use.
How to Apply SAST Tools to Specific Industries
SAST tools help to ensure that the software is safe and secure from potential cyber-vulnerabilities. While SAST tools are more applicable to some industries, every team can benefit from their regular use.
To better explain how SAST tools can help, here is an example of how SAST tools helps medical device development.
Medical devices must be compliant with the FDA cybersecurity guidance. SAST tools — especially static code analyzers — are essential to enforcing coding rules and ensuring that code cannot be exploited by cyberthreats.
Which SAST Tool to Use
To develop secure and safe software, you need the right SAST tools.
SAST tools should help you:
- Identify and analyze risk and help prioritize severity.
- Fulfill compliance standard requirements based on risk (and prove it).
- Apply a coding standard and ensure that coding rules are followed.
- Verify and validate through testing.
- Achieve compliance and get certified faster.
Klocwork — a C, C++, C#, and Java static code analyzer — helps you apply a coding standard and eliminate software defects and vulnerabilities early on in development. This helps you to ensure that your software is secure and safe.
Ensure the Security of Your Software
See for yourself how Klocwork will help you to ensure that your code is secure and safe.