Static vs. Dynamic Code Analysis: Everything You Need to Know

The security development lifecycle (SDL) is a model that allows enterprises to place security front and centre while developing apps and products. This requires crafting a carefully constructed security plan, as well as code analysis—of both static and dynamic code. What do those terms mean and how are they both important? Let’s take a look. 

Static Analysis

Static code analysis is a debugging method for computer programs that is performed without executing the program. The purpose of static code analysis is to understand a program’s code structure and ensure that it meets industry standards, ensure that it’s safe from the threat of malware, and that it does not have any glaring bugs.

Developers and programs use automated tools and software to run static code analysis and scrutinize the code using visual inspection. With static analysis, fatal flaws and code errors can be detected way before the code is deployed or when it manifests itself in the form of a disaster.

Static code analysis is critical for building quality software, as errors often stay hidden for weeks, sometimes years, until triggered by certain conditions or inputs. A classic example is when Microsoft’s Zune line of music players was bricked by a New Year-related bug.

Dynamic Analysis

Before computer software is rolled out, most developers will execute the code and subject it to dynamic code analysis. The process involves:

· Preparing input data

· Launching a test program

· Defining parameters and gathering data

· Analysis of output data

Dynamic analysis works best for identifying vulnerabilities in a runtime setting. A developer can easily perform an analysis of parts that do not work as intended in the application while also looking for false negatives identified by the static analysis.  

Static vs. Dynamic

While both analyses are performed during code review, they each have unique benefits. Even though static code analysis can identify a large number of flaws, dynamic analysis is just as important, as it validates the findings of static code analysis.

Unique defects like uncalled functions, boundary value breaches, and unreachable code can only be detected by static code analysis.

When combined, static and dynamic code analyses are often referred to as glass box testing. While security solutions for websites and apps have far reaching impacts, automated tools often aren’t enough for a foolproof plan that safeguards the business from all sides.

Cybersecurity is a lot more than just code analyses and at Lean Security we provide extensive security assessments including vulnerability scanning, penetration testing, web application security scanning, DDoS protection and malware detection services.

Located in Gordon, New South Wales, businesses can get in touch with us via call at +61 (2) 8078 6952 or on our website.