[Brakeman v1.9.5] The Static analysis security scanner for Ruby on Rails

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Brakeman is an open source vulnerability scanner specifically designed for Ruby on Rails applications. It statically analyzes Rails application code to find security issues at any stage of development.

Unlike many web security scanners, Brakeman looks at the source code of your application. This means you do not need to set up your whole application stack to use it.

Once Brakeman scans the application code, it produces a report of all security issues it has found.

Advantages


No Configuration Necessary

Brakeman requires zero setup or configuration once it is installed. Just run it.


Run It Anytime

Because all Brakeman needs is source code, Brakeman can be run at any stage of development: you can generate a new application with rails new and immediately check it with Brakeman.


Better Coverage

Since Brakeman does not rely on spidering sites to determine all their pages, it can provide more complete coverage of an application. This includes pages which may not be ‘live’ yet. In theory, Brakeman can find security vulnerabilities before they become exploitable.


Best Practices

Brakeman is specifically built for Ruby on Rails applications, so it can easily check configuration settings for best practices.


Flexible Testing

Each check performed by Brakeman is independent, so testing can be limited to a subset of all the checks Brakeman comes with.


Speed

While Brakeman may not be exceptionally speedy, it is much faster than “black box” website scanners. Even large applications should not take more than a few minutes to scan.


Limitations


False Positives

Only the developers of an application can understand if certain values are dangerous or not. By default, Brakeman is extremely suspicious. This can lead to many “false positives.”


Unusual Configurations

Brakeman assumes a “typical” Rails setup. There may be parts of an application which are missed because they do not fall within the normal Rails application layout.


Only Knows Code

Dynamic vulnerability scanners which run against a live website are able to test the entire application stack, including the webserver and database. Naturally, Brakeman will not be able to report if a webserver or other software has security issues.


Isn’t Omniscient

Brakeman cannot understand everything which is happening in the code. Sometimes it just makes reasonable assumptions. It may miss things. It may misinterpret things. But it tries its best. Remember, if you run across something strange, feel free to file an issue for it.
Changes since 1.9.4:

  • Add check for unsafe symbol creation (Aaron Weiner)
  • Do not warn on mass assignment with slice/only (#203)
  • Do not warn on session secret if in .gitignore (#241)
  • Fix session secret check for Rails 4
  • Fix scoping for blocks and block arguments
  • Fix error when modifying blocks in templates
  • Fix crash on before_filter outside controller
  • Fix Sexp hash cache invalidation
  • Respect quiet option in configuration file (#300)
  • Convert assignment to simple if expressions to or
  • More fixes for assignments inside branches
  • Refactoring of CheckLinkTo and Report (Bart ten Brinke)
  • Pin ruby2ruby dependency to version 2.0.3 (see here)



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