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Top 10+ SAST Tools Based on Insights from 500+ Users in 2024

Written by
Cem Dilmegani
Cem Dilmegani
Cem Dilmegani

Cem is the principal analyst at AIMultiple since 2017. AIMultiple informs hundreds of thousands of businesses (as per Similarweb) including 60% of Fortune 500 every month.

Cem's work focuses on how enterprises can leverage new technologies in AI, automation, cybersecurity(including network security, application security), data collection including web data collection and process intelligence.

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Static Application Security Testing (SAST) tools can enable issues in mobile and web applications to be detected earlier and therefore fixed with minimal effort. With numerous tools in the market making similar claims, it is important to focus on the right solutions for your project which can depend on programming language coverage, pricing or integrations to your favorite IDE.

Product Name# of reviewsAverage rating*Example Supported LanguagesStarter Package PriceSource CodePopular Integrations
Veracode210+4.2C#, Java, JavaScript, PHP, PythonNot publicProprietaryEclipse, Jenkins, JIRA, Visual Studio
SonarQube140+4.4C#, Java, JavaScript, PHP, PythonFree (Community edition)Both (Community Edition is Open Source)Azure DevOps, Jenkins, GitHub, GitLab
Synopsys Coverity60+4.3C, C#, C++, Java, JavaScript, PythonNot publicProprietaryJenkins, JIRA, Travis CI, GitLab
Checkmarx50+4.2C#, Java, JavaScript, PHP, PythonNot publicProprietaryAzure DevOps, Jenkins, GitHub, GitLab
Fortify by OpenText40+4.6Java, JavaScript, .NET, PythonNot publicProprietaryJenkins, JIRA, GitHub, GitLab Apex, Lightning, Visualforce
Based on lines of code in the production instances to be scanned
ProprietaryBitbucket, GitHub, GitLab, Salesforce
Semgrep20+4.6Go, Java, JavaScript, PythonFreeOpen SourceGitHub Actions, GitLab CI, Jenkins
BrakemanNot enough reviewsRuby on RailsFreeOpen SourceGitHub, GitLab, Jenkins
BanditPythonFreeOpen SourceBitbucket, GitHub, GitLab, GitLab CI, Jenkins, Travis CI
OWASP Dependency-CheckJava, .NETFreeOpen SourceGradle, Jenkins, Maven
SpotBugs & its FindSecBugs pluginJavaFreeOpen SourceEclipse, Gradle, IntelliJ IDEA, Maven
CodeQLC, C#, C++,, Java, JavaScript, Python

Included with GitHub Advanced Security.
Free for research and open source

ProprietaryGitHub Actions
PHPStanPHPFreeOpen SourceBitbucket, GitHub, GitLab
Clang Static AnalyzerC, C++, Objective-CFreeOpen SourceJenkins, Xcode
FlawfinderC, C++FreeOpen SourceCommand Line (CLI)
PMDApache Velocity, Java, JavaScript, PLSQL, Apex, Visualforce, XML, XSLFreeOpen SourceAnt, Gradle, Jenkins, Maven
Cppcheck44.6C, C++FreeOpen SourceJenkins, Visual Studio
SobelowElixir (Phoenix framework)FreeOpen SourceCommand Line (CLI)

* Reviews were sourced from the B2B review website

Products were ranked according to number of reviews except for sponsors which are placed at the top of the list with their links.

Key features of SAST software

Verifiable features

These features can be verified by using the SAST tools. AIMultiple’s table above includes these features.

Supported languages: Even a great SAST tool would be useless to your project if it does not support your project’s programming language.

Integration capabilities enable developers to use SAST tools seamlessly during the software development life cycle. Key integrations include:

  • Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) like Eclipse
  • Version control systems like Git
  • Other tools in the continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipeline

Other features

These features are more subjective. For example, success rate in detection of security vulnerabilities is the most important capability of SAST solutions. However, while a solution may detect all capabilities in a project, it may miss vulnerabilities in others. Therefore, it is best to test these features by running tests on your projects:

  • Success rate in security vulnerability detection
  • False positive rate: If issues are buried among numerous false positives, developer productivity would suffer.
  • Issue prioritization: Any large code base will have numerous issues of varying severity. Effective prioritization is key for minimizing customer impact of these issues.
  • Accuracy of remediation suggestions
  • Code review and collaboration features (e.g. shared views, commenting capabilities, integrations with project management tools) are valuable for coordinating issue remediation.
  • Speed & resource consumption: Lean software development life cycle promotes frequent releases to enable learning from market data. SAST tools can only be integrated in such a cycle if they can rapidly finish scans.
  • Scalability: As source code grow, the increase in testing time should remain limited
  • Reporting to track progress in source code quality and reduction in security vulnerabilities. Custom reporting capabilities may facilitate reporting requirements in regulated industries, enterprises or their supplier.
  • Support can be important for enterprise buyers that want to focus their efforts on software development.

How to choose your SAST tool?

The right SAST tool has a key role in securing the software development lifecycle (SDLC).

  • Identify your team’s requirements:
    • Programming languages used or planned to be used by your team
    • IDE and CI/CD pipeline integrations necessary to operationalize the new SAST tool.
    • Pick one of your team’s largest and most complex projects to test the SAST solution
    • Budget range: For example, if you are not going to get any budget, focus only on open source or community editions.
  • Prepare a shortlist. You can use the table above to filter for integrations and support for programming languages.
  • Test tools to reduce your shortlist to 1-2 candidates: While open source projects are easy to access, vendors which use proprietary-code can also share free trials. Test for
    • Time to analyze the source code
    • Comprehensiveness of findings
    • False positive rate
    • Featured in the other features section in AIMultiple’s feature set.
  • Negotiate commercials if necessary and implement the tool

Finally, SAST must be viewed as part of the application security tech stack and needs to be complemented with DAST tools and IAST tools.

How to use SAST tooling?

  • Conduct an initial scan: First scan of any project can reveal many issues from serious security vulnerabilities to source code smells. The development team should fix critical issues and align on how to treat less urgent issues.
  • Use the learnings from initial scan to configure the tool to
    • reduce falso positives
    • improve prioritization
  • Automate Scans: Connect the SAST tool to your IDE and CI/CD pipeline for automatic scanning on source code commits.
  • Complement your SAST tool with DAST and IAST tools to better identify vulnerabilities.
  • Regularly review SAST practices and identify improvement areas

How do SAST tools work?

Static Application Security Testing (SAST) tools analyze source code to find security vulnerabilities without executing the program. These tools:

  • Parse code: SAST tools read and parse code to identify its structure and syntax.
  • Simulate execution: Execution is simulated to trace the code that could be run.
  • Analyze paths: Source code execution paths are analyzed for patterns that indicate potential vulnerabilities.
  • Identify issues: Common issues identified include SQL injections, cross-site scripting, and buffer overflows.
  • Report findings by providing prioritized reports, detailing vulnerabilities with severity ratings and remediation advice.

How is SAST different from DAST?

While SAST works based on the source code, DAST tools work like attackers, without peering into the code, to find security vulnerabilities. For more: DAST vs SAST.

SAST vs. other AppSec tools

Relevant tools are:

  • Interactive application security testing (IAST) tools which combine SAST and DAST capabilities to confirm vulnerabilities found by SAST via DAST.
  • Software Composition Analysis (SCA) tools are focused on third-party components and libraries, especially, open source components. They:
    • Ensure license compliance: Without license compliance, teams may need to carry out costly refactoring to remove components which don’t have compliant licenses.
    • Track Vulnerabilities by monitoring known vulnerabilities in used components.

Most modern application security testing suites combine SAST, DAST, IAST and SCA capabilities, offering a one-stop solution for buyers.

What problems does SAST solve?

Static Application Security Testing (SAST) addresses these issues thanks to its early issue detection capabilities:

  • Code Quality: Enhances overall source code quality by enforcing coding standards and practices.
  • Compliance & security: Ensures compliance with security regulations and standards
  • Developer education: Consistent feedback informs junior developers about coding and security best practices.

What vulnerabilities can SAST tools find?

Static application security testing (SAST) tools can identify a range of code vulnerabilities:

  • Injection flaws including SQL, NoSQL, OS command, and LDAP injection vulnerabilities.
  • Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities (i.e. where applications might be vulnerable to scripting attacks.)
  • Buffer overflows
  • Authentication issues like weak authentication and session management practices.
  • Misconfigurations such as improper security configurations and defaults.
  • Access control problems like restricting access to functions and data.
  • Data exposure issues which can lead to data leaks and improper exposure of sensitive information.
  • Use of known vulnerable components such as open source libraries
  • Insecure deserialization which can enable to remote code execution, replay attacks, or injection attacks.
  • Source code quality issues (i.e. poor coding practices that may lead to security vulnerabilities)

Why is SAST an important security activity?

SAST helps early detection of software defects.
Early detection of defects is key to quality. This is not just for software development but for almost any activity that involves building or manufacturing. Toyota Production System used the same approach to reduce defects and increase productivity. Any worker had the authority to stop the line to fix root causes for issues they identified.
While SAST can no replace code reviews, it can help speed them up since a SAST tool identifies vulnerabilities that would normally be identified during manual code analysis.

What is SAST?

Static Application Security Testing is also called static analysis, static code analysis or whitebox security testing.
SAST tools analyze software source code to identify vulnerabilities before the code is deployed,. Therefore SAST software gives real-time feedback to developers and enables bugs to be fixed earlier and with lower effort.

Cem Dilmegani
Principal Analyst

Cem is the principal analyst at AIMultiple since 2017. AIMultiple informs hundreds of thousands of businesses (as per Similarweb) including 60% of Fortune 500 every month.

Cem's work focuses on how enterprises can leverage new technologies in AI, automation, cybersecurity(including network security, application security), data collection including web data collection and process intelligence.

Cem's work has been cited by leading global publications including Business Insider, Forbes, Washington Post, global firms like Deloitte, HPE, NGOs like World Economic Forum and supranational organizations like European Commission. You can see more reputable companies and media that referenced AIMultiple.

Cem's hands-on enterprise software experience contributes to the insights that he generates. He oversees AIMultiple benchmarks in dynamic application security testing (DAST), data loss prevention (DLP), email marketing and web data collection. Other AIMultiple industry analysts and tech team support Cem in designing, running and evaluating benchmarks.

Throughout his career, Cem served as a tech consultant, tech buyer and tech entrepreneur. He advised enterprises on their technology decisions at McKinsey & Company and Altman Solon for more than a decade. He also published a McKinsey report on digitalization.

He led technology strategy and procurement of a telco while reporting to the CEO. He has also led commercial growth of deep tech company Hypatos that reached a 7 digit annual recurring revenue and a 9 digit valuation from 0 within 2 years. Cem's work in Hypatos was covered by leading technology publications like TechCrunch and Business Insider.

Cem regularly speaks at international technology conferences. He graduated from Bogazici University as a computer engineer and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School.

Sources: Traffic Analytics, Ranking & Audience, Similarweb.
Why Microsoft, IBM, and Google Are Ramping up Efforts on AI Ethics, Business Insider.
Microsoft invests $1 billion in OpenAI to pursue artificial intelligence that’s smarter than we are, Washington Post.
Data management barriers to AI success, Deloitte.
Empowering AI Leadership: AI C-Suite Toolkit, World Economic Forum.
Science, Research and Innovation Performance of the EU, European Commission.
Public-sector digitization: The trillion-dollar challenge, McKinsey & Company.
Hypatos gets $11.8M for a deep learning approach to document processing, TechCrunch.
We got an exclusive look at the pitch deck AI startup Hypatos used to raise $11 million, Business Insider.

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