What is SAST?

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Developers and engineering managers frequently inquire about SAST, often followed by questions regarding its role in security enhancement. Many are familiar with SAST as static application security testing or static code analysis. However, understanding the capabilities of modern SAST tools for security remains a common challenge. In this blog post, we delve into the essence of SAST, exploring the types of security issues it can identify and offering real-world examples.

SAST, according to Technopedia, entails inspecting the source code of an application to identify potential security flaws. While any form of source code inspection qualifies as static testing, practical applications usually involve automated static analysis tools like CodeSecure CodeSonar.

Security Warning Classifications

Security issues affecting a software system’s Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability are paramount. These attributes form the CIA Triad. We’ll explore examples of issues falling under these categories, including memory issues, programming errors, dangerous function calls, and tainted data.

Memory Issues

Memory issues pose significant risks, potentially leaking sensitive information or compromising the execution flow. Examples include buffer overruns/underruns, use-after-free, and type overruns/underruns. Even seasoned programmers inadvertently violate these rules, as evidenced by findings during CodeSonar demonstrations.

Programming Errors

Errors stemming from misuse of C/C++ language features, like uninitialized variables or double freeing of pointers, can be exploitable despite not manifesting during testing.

Dangerous Function Calls

Certain API functions, like gets(), are prone to causing buffer overflows, impacting Integrity. Static analysis tools easily identify these functions, facilitating vulnerability detection.

Cryptography Misuse

Misuse of cryptographic functions, such as employing weak algorithms like DES or hardcoding keys, jeopardizes both Confidentiality and Integrity. Static analysis readily flags such issues.

Tainted Data

Detecting data injection vulnerabilities, like SQL injection, typically requires adversarial testing. Static analysis tools trace data flow from source to sink, highlighting vulnerabilities like format string injection or LDAP injection.

Static analysis aids in early vulnerability detection, crucial for secure development. CodeSonar, for instance, visualizes data flow channels, helping developers comprehend and mitigate risks effectively.


SAST, through source and binary code inspection, identifies security vulnerabilities, relying on automated static analysis tools. It’s adept at detecting coding errors, misuse of programming language features, insecure library functions, and poor cryptography practices. Advanced tools like CodeSonar excel at analyzing tainted data for sophisticated vulnerabilities.

SAST tools are integral to security enhancement plans and comprehensive development automation toolchains, bolstering both quality and security.

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