Code Analysis Tools

static code analysis

Written by Ayesha

When developing an application or any other software, the security of the finalized product is one of the major concerns faced by developers. Security testing offers improved risk management for the individuals or businesses that are ultimately going to use the software. Many forms of security testing solutions work to identify and remove vulnerabilities before the software is deployed, as any flaws in it can be easily exploited by malicious third parties.

Using Dynamic Testing to Find Security Issues Early

Security testing of a program can be done in a number of ways. This can be done after a program is completed by a process called Dynamic Testing, while it is still under development of Static Testing, an integration of both through Interactive Security Testing or by Composition Analysis when testing security issues caused as a result of third-party dependencies.

Security Testing is a great way to identify the threats in the system and also helps developers in detecting all possible security risks in their program so that they can be solved. Many tools are available today to help developers with the time-consuming and elaborate process of manual testing, and using these tools can help developers in finding security issues along the SDLC.

How do Code Analysis Tools Work?

Using code tools to examine the code provides the developer with warnings that may be potential vulnerabilities. Each of these warnings is divided into many types and have different levels of severity assigned to them. 

But due to the complexity of the task and the security risks associated with it, these tools can not automate the process completely. The task of verifying the detected risks and identifying what can be a threat is left to the developer. These non-threatening errors raised by these analysis tools are called False Positives and require human actions to be identified and corrected.

These tools offer various uses, and some can be deployed along all phases of the program’s development, given that the tool supports the IDE and language that the developer is using. The analysis is performed based on predefined rules, which the developer can edit if they have the in-depth security knowledge required for the personalization. There is a wide variety of these tools available, each with distinctive features that you can utilize depending upon your program and work preference.

Some Famous Tools

Offensive360

Offensive 360 offers deep static code analysis. Provides SCA, malware, and deep source code analysis. The languages supported by this tool are:

  • C#
  • Java
  • Ruby
  • Javascript
  • XML

Some of the features offered by the tool are:

  • Quick and wide range of integrations
  • Works 100% without the internet
  • Provides an all-in-one solution: Malware, SCA, source code, and License analysis.
  • Automated Report Generation
  • Supports virtual compilers to attack the code from all angles.
  • AI verification of the obtained results 

PVS-Studio

PVS studio can perform static code analysis to help developers find vulnerabilities and problems in their code via reports. The languages supported by this tool are:

  • C, C++, C#
  • Java

Some features offered by the tool include:

  • Integration with Visual Studio
  • Error and bug tracking
  • Report generation
  • Automated recompilation file analysis

Reshift

Saas-based analysis tool to help in the identification of vulnerabilities. The languages supported by this tool are:

  • Java
  • Java Script

Features offered by this tool are:

  • Prediction of false positives through machine learning
  • Vulnerability detection with fewer false positives
  • Pull request

Veracode

This static code analysis tool is built on the Software as a Service (SaaS) model. It performs source code analysis from a security standpoint. Languages supported by this tool include:

  • C, C++, C#
  • Java
  • JavaScript
  • PHP
  • Python
  • Rub
  • TypeScript

The features offered by this robust tool are:

  • Dynamic and Static Security Scanning
  • Dynamic integration 
  • Wide range of languages

Fortify

This tool offers real-time end-to-end source code analysis. It has an added benefit of a trial scan to analyze the range and integration of the tool before investing. The languages supported by the tool are:

  • C#
  • C
  • C++
  • Java
  • JavaScript
  • PHP
  • XML
  • Python

Features offered by the tool include:

  • Variety and ease of integration
  • Free Trial analysis
  • Automated analysis and result scanning to highlight critical errors first.

What to Look for in A Code Analysis Tool?

When choosing a specific Code Analysis tool, you must put a few factors into consideration:

User Friendliness

The tool must be easy to set up, use, and configure to provide the best user experience. A low false-positive is also a must as these can make testing unnecessarily complex and time extensive. 

Does it Work for You?

IDE Integration, language support, understanding of libraries and frameworks, and the extent of your knowledge of code security are the main factors in determining this. It is best to research a wide range of tools and find out which works best for your project, work style, and budget. 

Automation

The tool’s range of automation can affect the testing process’s time requirement. A wide range of detection and problem-solving automation is a great benefit to look out for when choosing a source code analysis tool. 

Detailed Detection and Reporting

As for the main feature, the tool must be able to perform a detailed detection analysis and report it in an easy-to-understand format to make it possible for even a developer inexperienced in code security methods to take corrective action. 

What are the Benefits of Using Code Analysis Tools?

Code analysis tools can simplify and secure the development process by giving developers feedback as they code, also helping them fix the issues before moving to the next stage of developing their application. These tools also provide a variety of benefits:

  • Remove the resource-extensive process of code reviews, which humans do.
  • Provide faster results than manual secure code testing.
  • Automatically identify most of the major vulnerabilities.
  • Improve the quality of the developed code.
  • Catch errors in real-time and early in development.
  • Provide an automated solution to security testing.
  • Give an in-depth test result report and display problematic code. 
  • Do not require code execution.

Conclusion

To ensure security of your final software product, code analysis tools — whether through static or dynamic analysis — identify vulnerabilities in the system so they can be resolved. This is an essential process, so we’ve helped you by explaining how they work, compiling some famous tools, and discussing how you can decide which code analysis tool is best for you. For more help on securing your software development process, check out our other articles on the subject.

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