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IBM implements static analysis in AppScan update



Jeff Feinman
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September 23, 2008 —  IBM has released two new editions of its Rational AppScan security product to integrate security into the development and build stages of the software life cycle.

Rational AppScan Developer Edition (DE) and Rational AppScan Build Edition, released yesterday, give developers a “finite list” of vulnerabilities. They also integrate into IDEs like Rational Application Developer and Eclipse, according to IBM executives.

The integration feature of Rational AppScan DE makes it easier than using a separate product or scan. David Grant, director of marketing for IBM Rational’s security solutions, said it’s like a spell-checker built into those environments. It generates reports as actionable task lists instead of detailed vulnerability reports to help fix issues faster. The edition also integrates with Rational AppScan’s Reporting Console to provide Web-based reporting.

IBM executives claimed Rational AppScan DE is the first industry product to include static analysis, black box testing, runtime analysis and string analysis.

String analysis focuses on resolving false positives, which IBM said is the biggest challenge plaguing current security code scanning solutions. It is a patent-pending technique that brings automation to code analysis.

Until now, the most advanced technique for analyzing code security was taint analysis, which tracked input values through the system but relied on the developer to determine if the data was properly analyzed, IBM said. String analysis, however, automates code analysis configuration to help eliminate false positives.

“If you think about the problem with code testing for security, at least, you need a knowledge of both code and security,” Grant said. “String analysis is a form of static testing that gives the user more understanding of the application, and [it] automates more of the discovery of the application and the actual scan test configuration so that you’re not leaving [it] in the hands of the developer having to know how to tweak a test or scan before actually running the test.”

Rational AppScan Build Edition, meanwhile, embeds Web application security testing into build management in order to automate security testing. It is focused on finding vulnerabilities early in the development life cycle, and like Developer Edition, combines multiple analysis techniques for scanning, according to IBM. Build Edition can also automate application vulnerability scanning and do things like JavaScript execution and Web Service testing.

“When the build runs, whether it be nightly or weekly, we can test for security issues as part of that build automation, and then reject the build or send back the issues to developers,” Grant said. “They can then open AppScan DE within the IDE and fix those tickets and issues.”




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