Currently, most cyberattacks have software applications as their main objective. As a result, a high number of security tools have been created to prevent and warn companies of when they are being attacked by malicious software, when there is a failure, or when a bug compromised their integrity.
What are SAST and SCA
What is SAST? SAST stands for Static Application Security Testing. This is a type of testing that can be done on a software application without having to run it. This type of testing is a lot faster and less expensive than other types of security testing because it does not require any execution of the code. It also has the advantage that it can be done by non-technical people and doesn’t require access to source code or binaries.
Meanwhile, SCA stands for “Scanning and Conversion Automation”. It is the process of converting paper documents into digital data using a scanner and then converting it into digital formats that can be stored, manipulated, or shared.
What is the connection between SAST and SCA
Software is becoming more and more complex, which means that the tools for software analysis are also becoming more complex – they run parallel. Software analysis tools can be classified into static analysis and dynamic analysis.
Static analysis is performed by analyzing the compiled software code without executing it. Dynamic analysis is performed by executing the program and analyzing its behavior.
The connection between SAST and SCA is that SAST refers to static analysis of software while SCA refers to dynamic analysis of software.
SCA vs SAST, what are the differences between them
There are two different types of scanning technologies that can be used to identify security vulnerabilities in software. The first one is Static Code Analysis (SCA) and the second one is Source Code Analysis (SAST). Static code analysis uses a set of predefined rules and patterns to analyze the source code of an application. It does not require a compiler, which makes it cheaper than SAST. However, it has a higher false-positive rate and might miss some serious vulnerabilities.
Source code analysis, on the other hand, analyzes the entire source code of an application and has a lower false-positive rate than SCA. This type of scanning technology is more expensive than SCA because it requires a compiler to run during the analysis process.
SAST tools scan an organization’s internally written code to search for and find vulnerabilities in the system, based on a set of predetermined rules. The SCA tools look for components that have open-source of an organization and look for a vulnerable place if a vulnerability is discovered. Also, the SCA tools collect more specific information to help other developers to repair them effectively and rapidly.
The need for access to the source code
SAST tools are especially focused on file analysis, which means that they can scan the source code of a product. Meanwhile, the SCA tool goes on to find and discover all the elements of the software. This can be done without giving the SCA access to the source code.
Flaws remediation ability
Because proprietary code is almost always unpredictable – it doesn’t fit well into known patterns – making a SAST tool difficult to spot a problem. That’s why SAST tools are of no help whatsoever to the developer when it comes to fixing a flaw in the proprietary code. On the contrary, SCA tools provide better help in resolving a problem because remediation is usually quite more predictable and straightforward.
Scanning with SAST tools is usually a time-consuming task that in some cases can take up to hours. If we compare it with SCA tools, this is usually done in a matter of seconds, regardless of the size of the project.
SAST tools can usually identify various flaws and even high-risk potential flaws that may affect the code. All these weaknesses that may appear automatically can become a security risk. Therefore, SCA tools can identify security risks and also recognize the threats of license compliance that are related to open-source software.
What are the SAST and SCA advantages?
– It tests for vulnerabilities in the code that are not visible during traditional QA testing such as user input validation, buffer overflow, etc.
– It helps developers identify security loopholes in the code before they can become a problem.
– It can be integrated into continuous integration pipelines with other test types to provide better coverage for developers and testers.
– SAST can spot security vulnerabilities in legacy code that cannot be found through manual testing.
– It can be used at all stages of the developmental process.
– It can be applied to any type of software project.
– It provides a complete picture of the design and implementation quality.
– Results are easy to interpret.
How to decide what’s best for this or that organization?
SCA and SAST are very difficult tools to compare due to how different they work. What can be noticed is that most organizations start working with SCA first because most of their work is based on open-source and the organization already created a policy based on this. SCA is ideal for organizations focused on decisions about the third-party libraries that make up their applications. It also speeds time to innovation by making manual open-source processes automatic.
Instead, SAST can be used by companies who want to make sure that they are not at risk from hackers or malware because it helps detect any vulnerabilities in their code before they are even hacked. However, if you need help with updating the company’s software then you should use SCA because it will do both tasks at once.
The best option is to choose one that best fits the organization’s policies and needs. Whether an open or closed source is used, there is no better or worse, both are very good options for organizations. You simply have to review their pros and cons and the policy of your company in order to choose the best possible option.