Static Application Security Testing (SAST)

Introduced in GitLab Ultimate 10.3.

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Overview

If you are using GitLab CI/CD, you can analyze your source code for known vulnerabilities using Static Application Security Testing (SAST).

You can take advantage of SAST by either including the CI job in your existing .gitlab-ci.yml file or by implicitly using Auto SAST that is provided by Auto DevOps.

GitLab checks the SAST report, compares the found vulnerabilities between the source and target branches, and shows the information right on the merge request.

SAST Widget

The results are sorted by the priority of the vulnerability:

  1. Critical
  2. High
  3. Medium
  4. Low
  5. Unknown
  6. Everything else

Use cases

  • Your code has a potentially dangerous attribute in a class, or unsafe code that can lead to unintended code execution.
  • Your application is vulnerable to cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks that can be leveraged to unauthorized access to session data.

Requirements

To run a SAST job, you need GitLab Runner with the docker or kubernetes executor running in privileged mode. If you’re using the shared Runners on GitLab.com, this is enabled by default.

Supported languages and frameworks

The following table shows which languages, package managers and frameworks are supported and which tools are used.

Language (package managers) / framework Scan tool Introduced in GitLab Version
.NET Security Code Scan 11.0
Any Gitleaks and TruffleHog 11.9
C/C++ Flawfinder 10.7
Elixir (Phoenix) Sobelow 11.10
Go Gosec 10.7
Groovy (Ant, Gradle, Maven and SBT) SpotBugs with the find-sec-bugs plugin 11.3 (Gradle) & 11.9 (Ant, Maven, SBT)
Java (Ant, Gradle, Maven and SBT) SpotBugs with the find-sec-bugs plugin 10.6 (Maven), 10.8 (Gradle) & 11.9 (Ant, SBT)
Javascript ESLint security plugin 11.8
Node.js NodeJsScan 11.1
PHP phpcs-security-audit 10.8
Python (pip) bandit 10.3
Ruby on Rails brakeman 10.3
Scala (Ant, Gradle, Maven and SBT) SpotBugs with the find-sec-bugs plugin 11.0 (SBT) & 11.9 (Ant, Gradle, Maven)
Typescript TSLint config security 11.9
Note: The Java analyzers can also be used for variants like the Gradle wrapper, Grails and the Maven wrapper.

Configuring SAST

To enable SAST in your project, define a job in your .gitlab-ci.yml file that generates the SAST report artifact.

This can be done in two ways:

  • For GitLab 11.9 and later, including the provided SAST.gitlab-ci.yml template (recommended).
  • Manually specifying the job definition. Not recommended unless using GitLab 11.8 and earlier.

Including the provided template

Note: The CI/CD SAST template is supported on GitLab 11.9 and later versions. For earlier versions, use the manual job definition.

A CI/CD SAST template with the default SAST job definition is provided as a part of your GitLab installation which you can include in your .gitlab-ci.yml file.

To enable SAST using the provided template, add the following to your .gitlab-ci.yml file:

include:
  template: SAST.gitlab-ci.yml

The included template will create a sast job in your CI/CD pipeline and scan your project’s source code for possible vulnerabilities.

The report will be saved as a SAST report artifact that you can later download and analyze. Due to implementation limitations, we always take the latest SAST artifact available. Behind the scenes, the GitLab SAST Docker image is used to detect the languages/frameworks and in turn runs the matching scan tools.

Customizing the SAST settings

The SAST settings can be changed through environment variables by using the variables parameter in .gitlab-ci.yml. These variables are documented in the SAST tool documentation.

In the following example, we include the SAST template and at the same time we set the SAST_GOSEC_LEVEL variable to 2:

include:
  template: SAST.gitlab-ci.yml

variables:
  SAST_GOSEC_LEVEL: 2

Because the template is evaluated before the pipeline configuration, the last mention of the variable will take precedence.

Overriding the SAST template

If you want to override the job definition (for example, change properties like variables or dependencies), you need to declare a sast job after the template inclusion and specify any additional keys under it. For example:

include:
  template: SAST.gitlab-ci.yml

sast:
  variables:
    CI_DEBUG_TRACE: "true"

Manual job definition for GitLab 11.5 and later

For GitLab 11.5 and GitLab Runner 11.5 and later, the following sast job can be added:

sast:
  stage: test
  image: docker:stable
  variables:
    DOCKER_DRIVER: overlay2
  allow_failure: true
  services:
    - docker:stable-dind
  script:
    - export SAST_VERSION=${SP_VERSION:-$(echo "$CI_SERVER_VERSION" | sed 's/^\([0-9]*\)\.\([0-9]*\).*/\1-\2-stable/')}
    - |
      docker run \
        --env SAST_ANALYZER_IMAGES \
        --env SAST_ANALYZER_IMAGE_PREFIX \
        --env SAST_ANALYZER_IMAGE_TAG \
        --env SAST_DEFAULT_ANALYZERS \
        --env SAST_EXCLUDED_PATHS \
        --env SAST_BANDIT_EXCLUDED_PATHS \
        --env SAST_BRAKEMAN_LEVEL \
        --env SAST_GOSEC_LEVEL \
        --env SAST_FLAWFINDER_LEVEL \
        --env SAST_DOCKER_CLIENT_NEGOTIATION_TIMEOUT \
        --env SAST_PULL_ANALYZER_IMAGE_TIMEOUT \
        --env SAST_RUN_ANALYZER_TIMEOUT \
        --volume "$PWD:/code" \
        --volume /var/run/docker.sock:/var/run/docker.sock \
        "registry.gitlab.com/gitlab-org/security-products/sast:$SAST_VERSION" /app/bin/run /code
  dependencies: []
  artifacts:
    reports:
      sast: gl-sast-report.json

You can supply many other settings variables via docker run --env to customize your job execution.

Manual job definition for GitLab 11.4 and earlier (deprecated)

Deprecated: Before GitLab 11.5, the SAST job and artifact had to be named specifically to automatically extract report data and show it in the merge request widget. While these old job definitions are still maintained, they have been deprecated and may be removed in the next major release, GitLab 12.0. You are strongly advised to update your current .gitlab-ci.yml configuration to reflect that change.

For GitLab 11.4 and earlier, the SAST job should look like:

sast:
  image: docker:stable
  variables:
    DOCKER_DRIVER: overlay2
  allow_failure: true
  services:
    - docker:stable-dind
  script:
    - export SAST_VERSION=${SP_VERSION:-$(echo "$CI_SERVER_VERSION" | sed 's/^\([0-9]*\)\.\([0-9]*\).*/\1-\2-stable/')}
    - docker run
        --env SAST_CONFIDENCE_LEVEL="${SAST_CONFIDENCE_LEVEL:-3}"
        --volume "$PWD:/code"
        --volume /var/run/docker.sock:/var/run/docker.sock
        "registry.gitlab.com/gitlab-org/security-products/sast:$SAST_VERSION" /app/bin/run /code
  artifacts:
    paths: [gl-sast-report.json]

Reports JSON format

Caution: The JSON report artifacts are not a public API of SAST and their format may change in the future.

The SAST tool emits a JSON report report file. Here is an example of the report structure with all important parts of it highlighted:

{
  "version": "2.0",
  "vulnerabilities": [
    {
      "category": "sast",
      "name": "Predictable pseudorandom number generator",
      "message": "Predictable pseudorandom number generator",
      "description": "The use of java.util.Random is predictable",
      "cve": "818bf5dacb291e15d9e6dc3c5ac32178:PREDICTABLE_RANDOM",
      "severity": "Medium",
      "confidence": "Medium",
      "scanner": {
        "id": "find_sec_bugs",
        "name": "Find Security Bugs"
      },
      "location": {
        "file": "groovy/src/main/groovy/com/gitlab/security_products/tests/App.groovy",
        "start_line": 47,
        "end_line": 47,
        "class": "com.gitlab.security_products.tests.App",
        "method": "generateSecretToken2",
        "dependency": {
          "package": {}
        }
      },
      "identifiers": [
        {
          "type": "find_sec_bugs_type",
          "name": "Find Security Bugs-PREDICTABLE_RANDOM",
          "value": "PREDICTABLE_RANDOM",
          "url": "https://find-sec-bugs.github.io/bugs.htm#PREDICTABLE_RANDOM"
        },
        {
          "type": "cwe",
          "name": "CWE-330",
          "value": "330",
          "url": "https://cwe.mitre.org/data/definitions/330.html"
        }
      ]
    },   
    {
      "category": "sast",
      "message": "Probable insecure usage of temp file/directory.",
      "cve": "python/hardcoded/hardcoded-tmp.py:4ad6d4c40a8c263fc265f3384724014e0a4f8dd6200af83e51ff120420038031:B108",
      "severity": "Medium",
      "confidence": "Medium",
      "scanner": {
        "id": "bandit",
        "name": "Bandit"
      },
      "location": {
        "file": "python/hardcoded/hardcoded-tmp.py",
        "start_line": 10,
        "end_line": 10,
        "dependency": {
          "package": {}
        }
      },
      "identifiers": [
        {
          "type": "bandit_test_id",
          "name": "Bandit Test ID B108",
          "value": "B108",
          "url": "https://docs.openstack.org/bandit/latest/plugins/b108_hardcoded_tmp_directory.html"
        }
      ]
    },    
  ],
  "remediations": []
}

Here is the description of the report file structure nodes and their meaning. All fields are mandatory to be present in the report JSON unless stated otherwise. Presence of optional fields depends on the underlying analyzers being used.

Report JSON node Function
version Report syntax version used to generate this JSON.
vulnerabilities Array of vulnerability objects.
vulnerabilities[].category Where this vulnerability belongs (SAST, Dependency Scanning etc.). For SAST, it will always be sast.
vulnerabilities[].name Name of the vulnerability, this must not include the occurrence’s specific information. Optional.
vulnerabilities[].message A short text that describes the vulnerability, it may include the occurrence’s specific information. Optional.
vulnerabilities[].description A long text that describes the vulnerability. Optional.
vulnerabilities[].cve A fingerprint string value that represents a concrete occurrence of the vulnerability. Is used to determine whether two vulnerability occurrences are same or different. May not be 100% accurate. This is NOT a CVE.
vulnerabilities[].severity How much the vulnerability impacts the software. Possible values: Undefined (an analyzer has not provided this info), Info, Unknown, Low, Medium, High, Critical.
vulnerabilities[].confidence How reliable the vulnerability’s assessment is. Possible values: Undefined (an analyzer has not provided this info), Ignore, Unknown, Experimental, Low, Medium, High, Confirmed.
vulnerabilities[].solution Explanation of how to fix the vulnerability. Optional.
vulnerabilities[].scanner A node that describes the analyzer used to find this vulnerability.
vulnerabilities[].scanner.id Id of the scanner as a snake_case string.
vulnerabilities[].scanner.name Name of the scanner, for display purposes.
vulnerabilities[].location A node that tells where the vulnerability is located.
vulnerabilities[].location.file Path to the file where the vulnerability is located. Optional.
vulnerabilities[].location.start_line The first line of the code affected by the vulnerability. Optional.
vulnerabilities[].location.end_line The last line of the code affected by the vulnerability. Optional.
vulnerabilities[].location.class If specified, provides the name of the class where the vulnerability is located. Optional.
vulnerabilities[].location.method If specified, provides the name of the method where the vulnerability is located. Optional.
vulnerabilities[].identifiers An ordered array of references that identify a vulnerability on internal or external DBs.
vulnerabilities[].identifiers[].type Type of the identifier. Possible values: common identifier types (among cve, cwe, osvdb, and usn) or analyzer-dependent ones (e.g., bandit_test_id for Bandit analyzer).
vulnerabilities[].identifiers[].name Name of the identifier for display purposes.
vulnerabilities[].identifiers[].value Value of the identifier for matching purposes.
vulnerabilities[].identifiers[].url URL to identifier’s documentation. Optional.

Secret detection

GitLab is also able to detect secrets and credentials that have been unintentionally pushed to the repository. For example, an API key that allows write access to third-party deployment environments.

This check is performed by a specific analyzer during the sast job. It runs regardless of the programming language of your app, and you don’t need to change anything to your CI/CD configuration file to turn it on. Results are available in the SAST report.

GitLab currently includes Gitleaks and TruffleHog checks.

Security report under pipelines

Introduced in GitLab Ultimate 10.6.

Visit any pipeline page which has a sast job and you will be able to see the security report tab with the listed vulnerabilities (if any).

Security Report

Security Dashboard

The Security Dashboard is a good place to get an overview of all the security vulnerabilities in your groups and projects. Read more about the Security Dashboard.

Interacting with the vulnerabilities

Once a vulnerability is found, you can interact with it. Read more on how to interact with the vulnerabilities.