Source code analysis(SCA) is the automatic testing of a program’s source code to find and fix errors before the application is sold or distributed. It is only static code analysis where the source code where the program does not run is analyzed simply as code. Basically, it is the automatic sorting of errors that are not seen by the programmer in the code.
With the increasing use of software, software security is an important issue in itself. However, when the source of many successful cyber attacks was examined, it was found that it was caused by security weaknesses at the application level. Therefore, testing application security and its evaluation within software development processes has become an important step.
For these studies, it is not necessary to create test cases or to know the useful features of the application. These tests are not the functionality of the application’s functions, the colour of the screens, whether the application is user-friendly, but SQL injection, Buffer Overflow, XSS etc. that can be exploited by attackers in the code. It focuses on finding faults that cause vulnerabilities, which can harm proper functioning.
Why Source Code Analysis is Required?
Penetration testing methods are widely used at the test point of application security. With these methods, the external responses of the applications are measured and the responses of the application are measured, the applications are tried to be exploited by using possible openings and errors and it is aimed to overcome the application security.
Considering the methodologies followed in the software development processes, especially secure software development cycles (Secure SDLC) are defined as a critical process in handling security from the very first moment. At this point, it is important to consider security as a whole and to analyze at the source code level from the first moment the application is developed.
Considering that penetration tests are external tests for an application, source code analysis can also be defined as security analysis done within the application, that is, at the source code level. It should be clearly stated that penetration tests alone are insufficient to ensure safety. In this context, penetration tests and source code analysis studies can be considered as complementary processes.
Source code analysis plays a critical role not only to identify threats to application security fundamentally but also to control the quality of the developed code and ensure its continuity. In addition, it contributes to early recognition of errors in software development processes, to improve processes such as improving code writing quality, and to increase the security awareness of software developers. In this sense, it is expected to benefit from source code analysis in the following main topics.
From the very first moment of writing the code, application security is considered as a holistic priority.
Improving code quality and ensuring its continuity.
Improving software development processes.
Maximizing security awareness of software developers.
Considering that the continuous security approach is increasingly adopted, it can be considered as the main measures that can be taken to minimize possible gaps by including application security in software development processes and application security tests before each new software version. In this context, establishing the necessary automation infrastructure by integrating both penetration testing and source code analysis studies with the existing software development processes will form the basis for ensuring a continuous security principle.
Considering that new attack techniques are developed and security vulnerabilities are found every day, the use of current versions of related software will ensure the fastest detection of new vulnerabilities and necessary measures will be taken immediately. In addition, the automation features will be added to the software development processes and the openings will be monitored within the framework of the continuous security principle and action will be taken in the fastest way.
Some source code analysis tools are as follows