Source Code Analysis Tools
Source code analysis tools are designed to analyze source code and/or compiled version of code in order to help find security flaws. Ideally, such tools would automatically find security flaws with such a high degree of confidence that what's found is indeed a flaw. However, this is beyond the state of the art for many types of application security flaws. Thus, such tools frequently serve as aids for an analyst to help them zero in on security relevant portions of code so they can find flaws more efficiently, rather than a tool that just automatically finds flaws.
Some tools are starting to move into the IDE. For the types of problems that can be detected during the software development phase itself, this is a powerful phase within the development life cycle to employ such tools, as it provides immediate feedback to the developer on issues they might be introducing into the code during code development itself. This immediate feedback is very useful, especially when compared to finding vulnerabilities much later in the development cycle.
Strengths and weaknesses
- Scales well -- can be run on lots of software, and can be repeatedly (as with nightly builds)
- Useful for things that such tools can automatically find with high confidence, such as buffer overflows, SQL Injection Flaws, and so forth
- Output is good for developers -- highlights the precise source files and line numbers that are affected
- Many types of security vulnerabilities are very difficult to find automatically, such as authentication problems, access control issues, insecure use of cryptography, etc. The current state of the art only allows such tools to automatically find a relatively small percentage of application security flaws. Tools of this type are getting better, however.
- High numbers of false positives.
- Frequently can't find configuration issues, since they are not represented in the code.
- Difficult to 'prove' that an identified security issue is an actual vulnerability.
- Many of these tools have difficulty analyzing code that can't be compiled. Analysts frequently can't compile code because they don't have the right libraries, all the compilation instructions, all the code, etc.
Important selection criteria
- Requirement: Must support your language, but not usually a key factor once it does.
- Types of vulnerabilities it can detect (out of the OWASP Top Ten?) (plus more?)
- Does it require a fully buildable set of source?
- Can it run against binaries instead of source?
- Can it be integrated into the developer's IDE?
- License cost for the tool. (Some are sold per user, per org, per app, per line of code analyzed. Consulting licenses are frequently different than end user licenses.)
OWASP Tools Of This Type
Disclaimer: The tools listed in the tables below are presented in alphabetical order. OWASP does not endorse any of the vendors or tools by listing them in the table below. We have made every effort to provide this information as accurately as possible. If you are the vendor of a tool below and think that this information is incomplete or incorrect, please send an e-mail to our mailing list and we will make every effort to correct this information.
Open Source or Free Tools Of This Type
- Google CodeSearchDiggity - Utilizes Google Code Search to identifies vulnerabilities in open source code projects hosted by Google Code, MS CodePlex, SourceForge, Github, and more. The tool comes with over 130 default searches that identify SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS), insecure remote and local file includes, hard-coded passwords, and much more. Essentially, Google CodeSearchDiggity provides a source code security analysis of nearly every single open source code project in existence – simultaneously.
- FindBugs - Find Bugs (including some security flaws) in Java Programs
- FxCop (Microsoft) - FxCop is an application that analyzes managed code assemblies (code that targets the .NET Framework common language runtime) and reports information about the assemblies, such as possible design, localization, performance, and security improvements.
- PMD - PMD scans Java source code and looks for potential code problems (this is a code quality tool that does not focus on security issues)
- PreFast (Microsoft) - PREfast is a static analysis tool that identifies defects in C/C++ programs
- RATS (Fortify) - Scans C, C++, Perl, PHP and Python source code for security problems like buffer overflows and TOCTOU (Time Of Check, Time Of Use) race conditions
- OWASP SWAAT Project - Simplistic Beta Tool - Languages: Java, JSP, ASP .Net, and PHP
- Flawfinder Flawfinder - Scans C and C++
- RIPS - RIPS is a static source code analyzer for vulnerabilities in PHP web applications
- Brakeman - Brakeman is an open source vulnerability scanner specifically designed for Ruby on Rails applications
- Codesake Dawn - Codesake Dawn is an open source security source code analyzer designed for Sinatra, Padrino and Ruby on Rails applications. It can work also for non web application wrote in Ruby programming language
- VCG - Scans C/C++, Java, C# and PL/SQL for security issues and for comments which may indicate defective code. The config files can be used to carry out additional checks for banned functions or functions which commonly cause security issues.
Commercial Tools Of This Type
- Contrast from Contrast Security
- Contrast is not a static analysis tool like these others. It instruments the running application and provides code level results, but doesn't actually perform static analysis. It monitors the code that is actually running.
- IBM Security AppScan Source Edition (formerly Ounce)
- Insight (KlocWork)
- Parasoft Test (Parasoft)
- Seeker (Quotium)
- Seeker performs code security without actually doing static analysis. Seeker does Interactive Application Security Testing (IAST), correlating runtime code & data analysis with simulated attacks. It provides code level results without actually relying on static analysis.
- Source Patrol (Pentest)
- Static Source Code Analysis with CodeSecure™ (Armorize Technologies)
- Static Code Analysis (Checkmarx)
- Security Advisor (Coverity)
- Source Code Analysis (HP/Fortify)
- Veracode (Veracode)