Fortify Static Code Analyzer – Analyzer Details

Fortify Static Code Analyzer comprises eight vulnerability analyzers: Buffer, Configuration, Content, Control Flow, Dataflow, Higher Order, Semantic, and Structural. Each analyzer accepts a different type of rule specifically tailored to provide the information necessary for the corresponding type of analysis performed. Rules are definitions that identify elements in the source code that might result in security vulnerabilities or are otherwise unsafe.

The following table lists and describes each analyzer.

Analyzer Description
Buffer The Buffer Analyzer detects buffer overflow vulnerabilities that involve writing or reading more data than a buffer can hold. The buffer can be either stack-allocated or heap-allocated. The Buffer Analyzer uses limited interprocedural analysis to determine whether there is a condition that causes the buffer to overflow. If any execution path to a buffer leads to a buffer overflow, Fortify Static Code Analyzer reports it as a buffer overflow vulnerability and points out the variables that could cause the overflow. If the value of the variable causing the buffer overflow is tainted (user-controlled), then Fortify Static Code Analyzer reports it as well and displays the dataflow trace to show how the variable is tainted.
Configuration The Configuration Analyzer searches for mistakes, weaknesses, and policy violations in application deployment configuration files. For example, the Configuration Analyzer checks for reasonable timeouts in user sessions in a web application.
Content The Content Analyzer searches for security issues and policy violations in HTML content. In addition to static HTML pages, the Content Analyzer performs these checks on files that contain dynamic HTML, such as PHP, JSP, and classic ASP files.
Control Flow The Control Flow Analyzer detects potentially dangerous sequences of operations. By analyzing control flow paths in a program, the Control Flow Analyzer determines whether a set of operations are executed in a certain order. For example, the Control Flow Analyzer detects time of check/time of use issues and uninitialized variables, and checks whether utilities, such as XML readers, are configured properly before being used.
Dataflow The Dataflow Analyzer detects potential vulnerabilities that involve tainted data (user-controlled input) put to potentially dangerous use. The Dataflow Analyzer uses global, interprocedural taint propagation analysis to detect the flow of data between a source (site of user input) and a sink (dangerous function call or operation). For example, the Dataflow Analyzer detects whether a user-controlled input string of unbounded length is copied into a statically sized buffer, and detects whether a user-controlled string is used to construct SQL query text.
Null Pointer The Null Pointer Analyzer detects dereferences of pointer variables that are assigned the null value. The Null Pointer Analyzer detection is performed at the intra-procedural level. Issues are detected only when the null assignment, the dereference, and all the paths between them occur within a single function.
Semantic The Semantic Analyzer detects potentially dangerous uses of functions and APIs at the intra-procedural level. Its specialized logic searches for buffer overflow, format string, and execution path issues, but is not limited to these categories. For example, the Semantic Analyzer detects deprecated functions in Java and unsafe functions in C/C++, such as gets().
Structural The Structural Analyzer detects potentially dangerous flaws in the structure or definition of the program. By understanding the way programs are structured, the Structural Analyzer identifies violations of secure programming practices and techniques that are often difficult to detect through inspection because they encompass a wide scope involving both the declaration and use of variables and functions. For example, the Structural Analyzer detects assignment to member variables in Java servlets, identifies the use of loggers that are not declared static final, and flags instances of dead code that is never executed because of a predicate that is always false.

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