Compare the Top 10 SAST Tools to Unlock Superior Code Quality

Ariel Beck writer profile image
By Ariel Beck

Updated May 17, 2024.

a computer screen with the words 10 best sat tools for unlocking supervisor code quality

In the famous book “Code Complete,” published by Microsoft Press, author Steve McConnel emphasized the importance of writing code for people first and computers second for better code readability. This was in 1993, when cyber attacks were practically non-existent. Fast forward to 2023, we have a greater challenge: writing code for tackling hackers first and users second.

This challenge is compounded by the rise of cybersecurity incidents due to security vulnerabilities in code. On average, it takes 21 minutes of developers’ effort to fix one vulnerability. This manual approach is untenable with the increasing complexity of software systems.

That’s where SAST tools come to the fore. These tools automate code analysis, discovering vulnerabilities before they make their way to production and enabling developers to write clean, secure code from the start.

How Static Application Security Testing (SAST) Works

Static Application Security Testing (SAST) verifies the source code of the software to unearth possible security vulnerabilities and loopholes that can be later exploited at runtime. Unlike DAST tools, which simulate attacks from the outside in, SAST is a white-box testing method that integrates within the developer workflow and periodically scans the source code.

These scans happen in multiple ways. For example, a developer can run the SAST scans within the IDE or trigger them as code commit operations on the version control system or DevOps pipeline. Some of the critical vulnerabilities that SAST detects include cross-site scripting (XSS), buffer overflows, and SQL injections.

The SAST approach complements testing and vulnerability scanning methods such as DAST and Software Composition Analysis (SCA). Each tool addresses different security aspects at different SLDC stages, so they should work together as part of a robust and scalable application security testing strategy.

a diagram of the different phases of a network

Beyond Code Quality: Why You Need a SAST Tool?

The role of a SAST tool is not limited to detecting vulnerabilities alone. SAST tools support the complete workflow of fixing vulnerabilities, from detection to reporting and remediation. SAST can also scan the configuration files, such as IaC (Infrastructure as Code) configurations, to catch security lapses in application infrastructure deployment. Additionally, these checks extend to the source code of dependent modules to ensure application-wide vulnerability coverage.

SAST can also play a vital role in implementing Security as Code practices, as it codifies and automates security rules. Developers and product teams can customize the tool to define alerts for specific security issue types and ward off critical vulnerabilities. Overall, it automates the code review process and negates the human errors associated with it.

The result is a near complete security hardening of the software and improved productivity of development teams. In the long run, SAST provides a viable risk mitigation plan that guarantees safer and faster software delivery.

Key Features to Look for in SAST Tools

  1. Programming Language Support: Ensure that your SAST tool supports all the programming languages your team works with.
  2. Integration with CI/CD pipelines and IDEs: SAST tools should integrate seamlessly into your CI/CD pipelines to enable the automation of scans at different development stages. They should also integrate with IDEs for real-time feedback during code creation.
  3. Rule sets and vulnerability classification: The tool should have a comprehensive library of code analysis rules covering common security issues and best practices, as well as be able to integrate with public vulnerability databases such as OSWAP and CVE.
  4. Remediation Guidance: A comprehensive SAST tool should offer real-time remediation guidance so you can take action as soon as any new vulnerability is found.
  5. Percentage of false positives: False positives are resource-draining and - put simply - incredibly annoying to deal with. Choose a tool that can minimize false positives and reduce noise.

10 Best SAST Tools for Unlocking Superior Code Quality

1. Semgrep

a screen shot of a computer screen with the word secrets on it

Semgrep is an open-source SAST tool with support for over 30 languages and over 2750 pro rules for alerting on a wide range of security vulnerabilities. Semgrep integrates with popular CI/CD tools like GitHub and GitLab, supports Slack and Jira, and email services. Jit’s DevSecOps platform can integrate Semgrep seamlessly into your CI/CD pipeline and automate it to run for every PR.

Best For:

Semgrep suits companies of all sizes and can be used as a standalone tool or a cloud platform.

Customer Review: 

“One of the things that I love most about Semgrep is how easy it is to use. As a static analysis tool, it has a reputation for being intimidating or difficult to integrate into existing workflows. But with Semgrep, developers don't have to worry about that. It seamlessly integrates with many popular code editors, version control systems, and continuous integration tools.”

2. Jit

Jit orchestration platform

Jit is a DevSecOps orchestration platform that offers an entire toolchain to integrate various static testing tools such as Semgrep and Gosec, as well as DAST, SCA, and IAC. It supports extensive integration with CI/CD platforms like GitHub, IDEs such as Visual Studio Code, and ticketing systems like Jira, as well as cloud services like AWS, GCP, and Azure. Furthermore, it lets you automate and manage these tools from a single interface, streamlining the vulnerability discovery and remediation process.

Best For:

Jit is best suited for companies of all sizes and who want to build a custom toolchain that can incorporate different security tools.

Customer Review:

“I love the notion of Jit providing as-code security plans, which are minimal and viable. The fact that Jit also automates the selection of relevant security tools and unifies the experience around them is super valuable.”

3. Synopsys Coverity

Synopsys AppSec platform

Coverity is part of the Synopsys AppSec platform. It supports over 22 languages and covers the OWASP Top 10, OWASP Mobile Top 10, and CWE Top 25 critical software vulnerabilities - making it easier to ensure compliance with key regulations such as HIPAA and GDPR. It offers integrations with DevOps pipelines, issue issue-tracking systems, and provides REST APIs for webbook integrations.

Best For:

Coverty is suited for large enterprises that need the ability to comprehensively track and manage compliance through a wide range of security, quality, data protection, and safety standards.

Customer Review:

“We had seamlessly integrated this SAST tool (Coverity) into our CI/CD Pipeline, and the vulnerabilities were being notified to the respective developer via mail. It provides a mechanism to audit the findings and efficiently mark false positives.”

4. Gosec

Gosec community project

Gosec is part of the Secure Go community project. It is an open-source software for performing static analysis on the Go language. Gosec integrates with GitHub and supports many Go language-specific rules. It can also be integrated with Jit alongside other powerful open-source security tools for fully automated, end-to-end security.

Best For:

Gosec is suited for any size of Go language project. It also works as part of a DevSecOps orchestration platform like Jit, which supports seamless integration for Gosec, along with a whole gamut of CI/CD, ticketing, collaboration, and IDE platforms.

5. Codiga

Codiga Platform

Codiga, which Datadog recently acquired, supports over 12 languages and integrates with top IDEs like Visual Studio and Jetbrains, along with popular SCM platforms like GitHub. GitLab and BitBucket. Codiga offers a predefined ruleset, including OWASP10, SANS-CWE525, and a feature for custom rules creation using Python.

Best For:

Codiga is best for small and medium companies that require a full-featured, standalone SAST solution.

Customer Review: 

“I like how easy it is to use and the ability to use it on multiple computers. As a developer, I work in several places, and having all my snippets available is great. In addition, I also like how I can share code with others, including building up a library that we can use.”

6. SonarCube

SonarCube SaaS Tool

SonarCube, part of SonarSource, is an exhaustive SAST tool covering over 30 languages and integrated with popular SCMs like GitHub, GitLab, BitBucket, and Azure DevOps. SonarCube supports deep source code analysis with high-precision feedback with over 5000 coding rules and industry-leading taint analysis of popular programming languages like Java, C#, PHP, Python, TypeScript & JavaScript. It also has a free extension for IDE, known as SonarLint, and a cloud-hosted service, SonarCloud.

Best For:

SonarCube is a widely used SAST solution, well-suited for medium to large enterprises running complex software projects.

Customer Review: 

“I like everything about SonarQub. It is the best tool to make your code bug-free and optimized. It analyzes your code very fast and provides a proper path of the issue in your code and also provides suggestions on how to solve it.”

7. Snyk

a Snyk Tool of a web page for a software company

Snyk is a developer-friendly tool supporting IDEs, with an additional integration option for language server protocol. It also supports a host of CI/CD pipelines, such as AWS CodePipeline, Azure Pipelines, and GitHub Actions, and works with nearly 15 programming languages. However, it is an enterprise-level platform, so its plan tiers are complex, and it requires more effort for setup than other developer-first SAST tools.

Best For:

Snyk is best suited for medium to large enterprises with higher budgets.

Customer Review:

“Snyk quickly identifies and categorizes the vulnerabilities. As you create the code, it highlights the problems, improving both the security and the quality of the code. The best aspect is that you can begin using it for nothing.”

8. Spectral

Spectral SAST Solution

Spectral is a full-stack SAST solution designed explicitly for cloud-native applications. It supports integrations with many CI/CD and SCM tools, including AWS CodeBuild, Azure DevOps, CircleCI, GitHub, BitBucket, and GitLab. It can scan source code for misconfigurations, malpractice, glitches, and even bad architecture. Plus, it provides a contextualized view of multi-cloud application deployments to help expedite identification and auto-remediation of security issues.

Best For:

Spectral is a good SAST option for all applications built on cloud-native architecture with multi-cloud deployment.

Customer Review: 

“I like the daily scan of all our repositories; it helps us to fix important security issues in the code. Also, the support team is very good.”

9. DeepSource

DeepSource SAST analysis engine

DeepSource is a SAST analysis engine that offers over 16 static analyzers for all major programming languages. It claims to have less than 5% false positives and supports the OWASP, MITRE, and CWE security vulnerability standards. Its AI-enabled AutuFix engine is powered by its large language model for automatic issue remediation.

Best For:

DeepSource is suitable for businesses and projects of all sizes.

Customer Review: 

“I've used Deepsource for several years and found it easy to set up and work with. Their config generator tool is an excellent idea and would be invaluable for many other pieces of software! The number of analyzers keeps increasing, supporting more languages and functionality.”

10. Checkmarx SAST

Checkmarx SAST

Checkmarx supports dozens of programming languages and frameworks. It offers fast and accurate scans, which can also be run in an incremental, delta-scan mode for running frequent scans without checking the entire source code. Its features are comparable with other enterprise-grade SAST platforms like SonarCube, and users claim to get better results when finding vulnerabilities from the security standards vulnerability databases.

Best For:

Checkmarx is best for medium to large enterprises with higher budgets and multiple integrations across CI/CD and SCM tools.

Customer Review:

My overall experience with Checkmarx has been above average. Since this tool helps perform a security assessment of the application, it can find bugs in the initial phase of code deployment itself.”

Shift Left Your Application Security Checks with SAST

“Shift left” is a pivotal strategy in software development wherein some integration and deployment level tests are shifted left to be performed during the development phase. By assimilating SAST within this phase, organizations can foster a culture of security-conscious coding from the outset.

As we witness the increasing sophistication of cyberattacks, embracing SAST is not merely a choice; it's a necessity to safeguard the integrity and trustworthiness of software products. Jit enables dev teams to shift left security checks and process complexities by offering integrations with various powerful SAST tools and many others, covering the entire SDLC. Explore more here.