Static Application Security Testing (SAST)

The whitepaper “A Seismic Shift in Application Security” explains how 4 of the top 6 attacks were application based. Download it to learn how to protect your organization.

If you’re using GitLab CI/CD, you can use Static Application Security Testing (SAST) to check your source code for known vulnerabilities. You can run SAST analyzers in any GitLab tier. The analyzers output JSON-formatted reports as job artifacts.

With GitLab Ultimate, SAST results are also processed so you can:

  • See them in merge requests.
  • Use them in approval workflows.
  • Review them in the security dashboard.

For more details, see the Summary of features per tier.

SAST results shown in the MR widget

A pipeline consists of multiple jobs, including SAST and DAST scanning. If any job fails to finish for any reason, the security dashboard does not show SAST scanner output. For example, if the SAST job finishes but the DAST job fails, the security dashboard does not show SAST results. On failure, the analyzer outputs an exit code.


SAST runs in the test stage, which is available by default. If you redefine the stages in the .gitlab-ci.yml file, the test stage is required.

To run SAST jobs, by default, you need GitLab Runner with the docker or kubernetes executor. If you’re using the shared runners on, this is enabled by default.

GitLab SAST analyzers don’t support running on Windows or on any CPU architectures other than amd64.
If you use your own runners, make sure the Docker version installed is not 19.03.0. See troubleshooting information for details.

Supported languages and frameworks

GitLab SAST supports scanning a variety of programming languages and frameworks. Once you enable SAST, the right set of analyzers runs automatically even if your project uses more than one language.

For more information about our plans for language support in SAST, see the category direction page.

Language / framework Analyzer used for scanningMinimum supported GitLab version
.NET (all versions, C# only) Semgrep with GitLab-managed rules 15.4
Apex (Salesforce)PMD12.1
C Semgrep with GitLab-managed rules 14.2
Elixir (Phoenix)Sobelow11.1
Go Semgrep with GitLab-managed rules 14.4
Groovy1 SpotBugs with the find-sec-bugs plugin11.3 (Gradle) & 11.9 (Maven, SBT)
Helm ChartsKubesec13.1
Java (any build system) Semgrep with GitLab-managed rules 14.10
Java (Android)MobSF (beta)13.5
JavaScript Semgrep with GitLab-managed rules 13.10
Kotlin (Android)MobSF (beta)13.5
Kotlin (General)1 SpotBugs with the find-sec-bugs plugin13.11
Kubernetes manifestsKubesec12.6
Objective-C (iOS)MobSF (beta)13.5
Python Semgrep with GitLab-managed rules 13.9
React Semgrep with GitLab-managed rules 13.10
Ruby on Railsbrakeman10.3
Scala (any build system) Semgrep with GitLab-managed rules 16.0
Scala1 SpotBugs with the find-sec-bugs plugin11.0 (SBT) & 11.9 (Gradle, Maven)
Swift (iOS)MobSF (beta)13.5
TypeScript Semgrep with GitLab-managed rules 13.10
  1. The SpotBugs-based analyzer supports Gradle, Maven, and SBT. It can also be used with variants like the Gradle wrapper, Grails, and the Maven wrapper. However, SpotBugs has limitations when used against Ant-based projects. We recommend using the Semgrep-based analyzer for Ant-based Java or Scala projects.

End of supported analyzers

GitLab has reached End of Support for the below analyzers. These analyzers have been replaced by the Semgrep-based analyzer.

Language / framework Analyzer used for scanningMinimum supported GitLab versionEnd Of Support GitLab version
.NET CoreSecurity Code Scan11.016.0
.NET FrameworkSecurity Code Scan13.016.0
Java SpotBugs with the find-sec-bugs plugin10.6 (Maven), 10.8 (Gradle) & 11.9 (SBT)15.4
ReactESLint react plugin12.515.4
JavaScriptESLint security plugin11.815.4
TypeScriptESLint security plugin11.9, with ESLint in 13.215.4

Multi-project support

GitLab SAST can scan repositories that contain multiple projects.

The following analyzers have multi-project support:

  • Bandit
  • ESLint
  • Gosec
  • Kubesec
  • NodeJsScan
  • MobSF
  • PMD
  • Security Code Scan
  • Semgrep
  • SpotBugs
  • Sobelow

Enable multi-project support for Security Code Scan

Multi-project support in the Security Code Scan requires a Solution (.sln) file in the root of the repository. For details on the Solution format, see the Microsoft reference Solution (.sln) file.

False positive detection

Version history
  • Introduced for Ruby in GitLab 14.2.
  • Introduced for Go in GitLab 15.8.

GitLab SAST can identify certain types of false positive results in the output of other tools. These results are flagged as false positives on the Vulnerability Report and the Vulnerability Page.

False positive detection is available in a subset of the supported languages and analyzers:

  • Go, in the Semgrep-based analyzer
  • Ruby, in the Brakeman-based analyzer

SAST false-positives show in Vulnerability Pages

Advanced vulnerability tracking

Introduced in GitLab 14.2.

Source code is volatile; as developers make changes, source code may move within files or between files. Security analyzers may have already reported vulnerabilities that are being tracked in the Vulnerability Report. These vulnerabilities are linked to specific problematic code fragments so that they can be found and fixed. If the code fragments are not tracked reliably as they move, vulnerability management is harder because the same vulnerability could be reported again.

GitLab SAST uses an advanced vulnerability tracking algorithm to more accurately identify when the same vulnerability has moved within a file due to refactoring or unrelated changes.

Advanced vulnerability tracking is available in a subset of the supported languages and analyzers:

  • C, in the Semgrep-based and Flawfinder analyzers
  • C++, in the Flawfinder analyzer only
  • C#, in the Semgrep-based analyzer only
  • Go, in the Semgrep-based analyzer only
  • Java, in the mobsf, Semgrep-based and SpotBugs analyzers
  • JavaScript, in the Semgrep-based and NodeJS-Scan analyzers
  • PHP, in the phpcs-security-audit analyzer
  • Python, in the Semgrep-based analyzer only
  • Ruby, in the Brakeman-based analyzer

Support for more languages and analyzers is tracked in this epic.

For more information, see the confidential project The content of this project is available only to GitLab team members.

Automatic vulnerability resolution

Version history

To help you focus on the vulnerabilities that are still relevant, GitLab SAST automatically resolves vulnerabilities when:

Automatic resolution is available only for findings from the Semgrep-based analyzer. The Vulnerability Management system leaves a comment on automatically-resolved vulnerabilities so you still have a historical record of the vulnerability.

If you re-enable the rule later, the findings are reopened for triage.

Supported distributions

The default scanner images are built on a base Alpine image for size and maintainability.

FIPS-enabled images

Introduced in GitLab 14.10.

GitLab offers an image version, based on the Red Hat UBI base image, that uses a FIPS 140-validated cryptographic module. To use the FIPS-enabled image, you can either:

  • Set the SAST_IMAGE_SUFFIX to -fips.
  • Add the -fips extension to the default image name.

For example:


  - template: Security/SAST.gitlab-ci.yml

A FIPS-compliant image is only available for the Semgrep-based analyzer.

To use SAST in a FIPS-compliant manner, you must exclude other analyzers from running.

Summary of features per tier

Different features are available in different GitLab tiers, as shown in the following table:

CapabilityIn Free & PremiumIn Ultimate
Automatically scan code with appropriate analyzers
Configure SAST scanners
Customize SAST settings
Download JSON Report
See new findings in merge request widget
Manage vulnerabilities
Access the Security Dashboard
Configure SAST by using the UI
Customize SAST rulesets
Detect False Positives
Track moved vulnerabilities

Contribute your scanner

The Security Scanner Integration documentation explains how to integrate other security scanners into GitLab.


SAST scanning runs in your CI/CD pipeline. When you add the GitLab-managed CI/CD template to your pipeline, the right SAST analyzers automatically scan your code and save results as SAST report artifacts.

To configure SAST for a project you can:

You can enable SAST across many projects by enforcing scan execution.

Configure SAST in your CI/CD YAML

To enable SAST, you include the SAST.gitlab-ci.yml template. The template is provided as a part of your GitLab installation.

Add the following to your .gitlab-ci.yml file:

  - template: Jobs/SAST.gitlab-ci.yml

The included template creates SAST jobs in your CI/CD pipeline and scans your project’s source code for possible vulnerabilities.

The results are saved as a SAST report artifact that you can later download and analyze. When downloading, you always receive the most recent SAST artifact available.

Configure SAST by using the UI

You can enable and configure SAST by using the UI, either with the default settings or with customizations. The method you can use depends on your GitLab license tier.

Configure SAST with customizations

Removed individual SAST analyzers configuration options from the UI in GitLab 16.2.

The configuration tool works best with no existing .gitlab-ci.yml file, or with a minimal configuration file. If you have a complex GitLab configuration file it may not be parsed successfully, and an error may occur.

To enable and configure SAST with customizations:

  1. On the left sidebar, select Search or go to and find your project.
  2. Select Secure > Security configuration.
  3. If the project does not have a .gitlab-ci.yml file, select Enable SAST in the Static Application Security Testing (SAST) row, otherwise select Configure SAST.
  4. Enter the custom SAST values.

    Custom values are stored in the .gitlab-ci.yml file. For CI/CD variables not in the SAST Configuration page, their values are inherited from the GitLab SAST template.

  5. Select Create Merge Request.
  6. Review and merge the merge request.

Pipelines now include a SAST job.

Configure SAST with default settings only

The configuration tool works best with no existing .gitlab-ci.yml file, or with a minimal configuration file. If you have a complex GitLab configuration file it may not be parsed successfully, and an error may occur.

To enable and configure SAST with default settings:

  1. On the left sidebar, select Search or go to and find your project.
  2. Select Secure > Security configuration.
  3. In the SAST section, select Configure with a merge request.
  4. Review and merge the merge request to enable SAST.

Pipelines now include a SAST job.

Overriding SAST jobs

To override a job definition, (for example, change properties like variables, dependencies, or rules), declare a job with the same name as the SAST job to override. Place this new job after the template inclusion and specify any additional keys under it. For example, this enables FAIL_NEVER for the spotbugs analyzer:

  - template: Security/SAST.gitlab-ci.yml


Pinning to minor image version

The GitLab-managed CI/CD template specifies a major version and automatically pulls the latest analyzer release within that major version.

In some cases, you may need to use a specific version. For example, you might need to avoid a regression in a later release.

To override the automatic update behavior, set the SAST_ANALYZER_IMAGE_TAG CI/CD variable in your CI/CD configuration file after you include the SAST.gitlab-ci.yml template.

Only set this variable within a specific job. If you set it at the top level, the version you set is used for other SAST analyzers.

You can set the tag to:

  • A major version, like 3. Your pipelines use any minor or patch updates that are released within this major version.
  • A minor version, like 3.7. Your pipelines use any patch updates that are released within this minor version.
  • A patch version, like 3.7.0. Your pipelines don’t receive any updates.

This example uses a specific minor version of the semgrep analyzer and a specific patch version of the brakeman analyzer:

  - template: Security/SAST.gitlab-ci.yml



Using CI/CD variables to pass credentials for private repositories

Some analyzers require downloading the project’s dependencies to perform the analysis. In turn, such dependencies may live in private Git repositories and thus require credentials like username and password to download them. Depending on the analyzer, such credentials can be provided to it via custom CI/CD variables.

Using a CI/CD variable to pass username and password to a private Go repository

If your Go project depends on private modules, see Fetch modules from private projects for how to provide authentication over HTTPS.

To specify credentials via ~/.netrc provide a before_script containing the following:

    - |
      cat <<EOF > ~/.netrc
      login $CI_DEPLOY_USER
      password $CI_DEPLOY_PASSWORD

Using a CI/CD variable to pass username and password to a private Maven repository

If your private Maven repository requires login credentials, you can use the MAVEN_CLI_OPTS CI/CD variable.

Read more on how to use private Maven repositories.

Enabling Kubesec analyzer

Introduced in GitLab 12.6.

You need to set SCAN_KUBERNETES_MANIFESTS to "true" to enable the Kubesec analyzer. In .gitlab-ci.yml, define:

  - template: Security/SAST.gitlab-ci.yml



Most GitLab SAST analyzers directly scan your source code without compiling it first. However, for technical reasons, some analyzers can only scan compiled code.

By default, these analyzers automatically attempt to fetch dependencies and compile your code so it can be scanned. Automatic compilation can fail if:

  • your project requires custom build configurations.
  • you use language versions that aren’t built into the analyzer.

To resolve these issues, you can skip the analyzer’s compilation step and directly provide artifacts from an earlier stage in your pipeline instead. This strategy is called pre-compilation.

Pre-compilation is available for the analyzers that support the COMPILE CI/CD variable. See Analyzer settings for the current list.

To use pre-compilation:

  1. Output your project’s dependencies to a directory in the project’s working directory, then save that directory as an artifact by setting the artifacts: paths configuration.
  2. Provide the COMPILE: "false" CI/CD variable to the analyzer to disable automatic compilation.
  3. Add your compilation stage as a dependency for the analyzer job.

To allow the analyzer to recognize the compiled artifacts, you must explicitly specify the path to the vendored directory. This configuration can vary per analyzer. For Maven projects, you can use MAVEN_REPO_PATH. See Analyzer settings for the complete list of available options.

The following example pre-compiles a Maven project and provides it to the SpotBugs SAST analyzer:

  - build
  - test

  - template: Security/SAST.gitlab-ci.yml

  image: maven:3.6-jdk-8-slim
  stage: build
    - mvn package -Dmaven.repo.local=./.m2/repository
      - .m2/
      - target/

    - build
    MAVEN_REPO_PATH: $CI_PROJECT_DIR/.m2/repository
    COMPILE: "false"
      sast: gl-sast-report.json

Available CI/CD variables

SAST can be configured using the variables parameter in .gitlab-ci.yml.

All customization of GitLab security scanning tools should be tested in a merge request before merging these changes to the default branch. Failure to do so can give unexpected results, including a large number of false positives.

The following example includes the SAST template to override the SEARCH_MAX_DEPTH variable to 10. The template is evaluated before the pipeline configuration, so the last mention of the variable takes precedence.

  - template: Security/SAST.gitlab-ci.yml


Custom Certificate Authority

To trust a custom Certificate Authority, set the ADDITIONAL_CA_CERT_BUNDLE variable to the bundle of CA certs that you want to trust in the SAST environment. The ADDITIONAL_CA_CERT_BUNDLE value should contain the text representation of the X.509 PEM public-key certificate. For example, to configure this value in the .gitlab-ci.yml file, use the following:

      -----BEGIN CERTIFICATE-----
      -----END CERTIFICATE-----

The ADDITIONAL_CA_CERT_BUNDLE value can also be configured as a custom variable in the UI, either as a file, which requires the path to the certificate, or as a variable, which requires the text representation of the certificate.

Docker images

The following are Docker image-related CI/CD variables.

CI/CD variableDescription
SECURE_ANALYZERS_PREFIXOverride the name of the Docker registry providing the default images (proxy). Read more about customizing analyzers.
SAST_EXCLUDED_ANALYZERSNames of default images that should never run. Read more about customizing analyzers.
SAST_ANALYZER_IMAGE_TAGOverride the default version of analyzer image. Read more about pinning the analyzer image version.
SAST_IMAGE_SUFFIXSuffix added to the image name. If set to -fips, FIPS-enabled images are used for scan. See FIPS-enabled images for more details. Introduced in GitLab 14.10.

Vulnerability filters

Some analyzers make it possible to filter out vulnerabilities under a given threshold.

CI/CD variableDefault valueDescription
SAST_EXCLUDED_PATHSspec, test, tests, tmpExclude vulnerabilities from output based on the paths. This is a comma-separated list of patterns. Patterns can be globs (see doublestar.Match for supported patterns), or file or folder paths (for example, doc,spec). Parent directories also match patterns. You might need to exclude temporary directories used by your build tool as these can generate false positives. To exclude paths, copy and paste the default excluded paths, then add your own paths to be excluded. If you don’t specify the default excluded paths, you override the defaults and only paths you specify are excluded from the SAST scans.
SEARCH_MAX_DEPTH4SAST searches the repository to detect the programming languages used, and selects the matching analyzers. Set the value of SEARCH_MAX_DEPTH to specify how many directory levels the search phase should span. After the analyzers have been selected, the entire repository is analyzed.
SAST_BANDIT_EXCLUDED_PATHS Comma-separated list of paths to exclude from scan. Uses Python’s fnmatch syntax; For example: '*/tests/*, */venv/*'. Removed in GitLab 15.4.
SAST_BRAKEMAN_LEVEL1Ignore Brakeman vulnerabilities under given confidence level. Integer, 1=Low 3=High.
SAST_FLAWFINDER_LEVEL1Ignore Flawfinder vulnerabilities under given risk level. Integer, 0=No risk, 5=High risk.
SAST_GOSEC_LEVEL0Ignore Gosec vulnerabilities under given confidence level. Integer, 0=Undefined, 1=Low, 2=Medium, 3=High. Removed in GitLab 15.4.

Analyzer settings

Some analyzers can be customized with CI/CD variables.

CI/CD variableAnalyzerDescription
SCAN_KUBERNETES_MANIFESTSKubesecSet to "true" to scan Kubernetes manifests.
KUBESEC_HELM_CHARTS_PATHKubesecOptional path to Helm charts that helm uses to generate a Kubernetes manifest that kubesec scans. If dependencies are defined, helm dependency build should be ran in a before_script to fetch the necessary dependencies.
KUBESEC_HELM_OPTIONSKubesecAdditional arguments for the helm executable.
COMPILEGosec, SpotBugsSet to false to disable project compilation and dependency fetching. Introduced for SpotBugs analyzer in GitLab 13.1 and Gosec analyzer in GitLab 14.0.
ANT_HOMESpotBugsThe ANT_HOME variable.
ANT_PATHSpotBugsPath to the ant executable.
GRADLE_PATHSpotBugsPath to the gradle executable.
JAVA_OPTSSpotBugsAdditional arguments for the java executable.
JAVA_PATHSpotBugsPath to the java executable.
SAST_JAVA_VERSIONSpotBugsWhich Java version to use. Starting in GitLab 15.0, supported versions are 11 and 17 (default). Before GitLab 15.0, supported versions are 8 (default) and 11.
MAVEN_CLI_OPTSSpotBugsAdditional arguments for the mvn or mvnw executable.
MAVEN_PATHSpotBugsPath to the mvn executable.
MAVEN_REPO_PATHSpotBugsPath to the Maven local repository (shortcut for the maven.repo.local property).
SBT_PATHSpotBugsPath to the sbt executable.
FAIL_NEVERSpotBugsSet to 1 to ignore compilation failure.
SAST_GOSEC_CONFIGGoseccaution Removed in GitLab 14.0 - use custom rulesets instead. Path to configuration for Gosec (optional).
PHPCS_SECURITY_AUDIT_PHP_EXTENSIONSphpcs-security-auditComma separated list of additional PHP Extensions.
SAST_SEMGREP_METRICSSemgrepSet to "false" to disable sending anonymized scan metrics to r2c. Default: true. Introduced in GitLab 14.0. GitLab team members can view more information in this confidential issue:
SAST_SCANNER_ALLOWED_CLI_OPTSSemgrepCLI options (arguments with value, or flags) that are passed to the underlying security scanner when running scan operation. Only a limited set of options are accepted. Separate a CLI option and its value using either a blank space or equals (=) character. For example: name1 value1 or name1=value1. Multiple options must be separated by blank spaces. For example: name1 value1 name2 value2. Introduced in GitLab 15.3.

Security scanner configuration

SAST analyzers internally use OSS security scanners to perform the analysis. We set the recommended configuration for the security scanner so that you need not to worry about tuning them. However, there can be some rare cases where our default scanner configuration does not suit your requirements.

To allow some customization of scanner behavior, you can add a limited set of flags to the underlying scanner. Specify the flags in the SAST_SCANNER_ALLOWED_CLI_OPTS CI/CD variable. These flags are added to the scanner’s CLI options.

AnalyzerCLI optionDescription
Semgrep--max-memorySets the maximum system memory to use when running a rule on a single file. Measured in MB.
Flawfinder--neverignoreNever ignore security issues, even if they have an “ignore” directive in a comment. Adding this option is likely to result in the analyzer detecting additional vulnerability findings which cannot be automatically resolved.
SpotBugs-effortSets the analysis effort level. Valid values are min, less, more and max, defined in increasing order of scan’s precision and ability to detect more vulnerabilities. Default value is set to max which may require more memory and time to complete the scan, depending on the project’s size. In case you face memory or performance issues, you may reduce the analysis effort level to a lower value. For example: -effort less.

Custom CI/CD variables

Introduced in GitLab 12.5.

In addition to the aforementioned SAST configuration CI/CD variables, all custom variables are propagated to the underlying SAST analyzer images if the SAST vendored template is used.

Experimental features

You can receive early access to experimental features. Experimental features might be added, removed, or promoted to regular features at any time.

Experimental features available are:

These features were previously experimental, but are now generally available:

Enable experimental features

To enable experimental features, add the following to your .gitlab-ci.yml file:

  - template: Security/SAST.gitlab-ci.yml


Reports JSON format

SAST outputs a report file in JSON format. The report file contains details of all found vulnerabilities. To download the report file, you can either:

  • Download the file from the CI/CD pipelines page.
  • In the pipelines tab on merge requests, set artifacts: paths to gl-sast-report.json.

For information, see Download job artifacts.

For details of the report file’s schema, see SAST report file schema.

For an example SAST report file, see gl-sast-report.json example.

Running SAST in an offline environment

For self-managed GitLab instances in an environment with limited, restricted, or intermittent access to external resources through the internet, some adjustments are required for the SAST job to run successfully. For more information, see Offline environments.

Requirements for offline SAST

To use SAST in an offline environment, you need:

  • GitLab Runner with the docker or kubernetes executor.
  • A Docker Container Registry with locally available copies of SAST analyzer images.
  • Configure certificate checking of packages (optional).

GitLab Runner has a default pull_policy of always, meaning the runner tries to pull Docker images from the GitLab container registry even if a local copy is available. The GitLab Runner pull_policy can be set to if-not-present in an offline environment if you prefer using only locally available Docker images. However, we recommend keeping the pull policy setting to always if not in an offline environment, as this enables the use of updated scanners in your CI/CD pipelines.

Make GitLab SAST analyzer images available inside your Docker registry

For SAST with all supported languages and frameworks, import the following default SAST analyzer images from into your local Docker container registry:

The process for importing Docker images into a local offline Docker registry depends on your network security policy. Consult your IT staff to find an accepted and approved process by which external resources can be imported or temporarily accessed. These scanners are periodically updated with new definitions, and you may be able to make occasional updates on your own.

For details on saving and transporting Docker images as a file, see the Docker documentation on docker save, docker load, docker export, and docker import.

If support for Custom Certificate Authorities are needed

Support for custom certificate authorities was introduced in the following versions.

bandit1 v2.3.0
eslint1 v2.9.2
gosec1 v2.5.0
  1. These analyzers were deprecated in GitLab 14.8 and reached End of Support in GitLab 15.4.

Set SAST CI/CD variables to use local SAST analyzers

Add the following configuration to your .gitlab-ci.yml file. You must replace SECURE_ANALYZERS_PREFIX to refer to your local Docker container registry:

  - template: Security/SAST.gitlab-ci.yml

  SECURE_ANALYZERS_PREFIX: "localhost:5000/analyzers"

The SAST job should now use local copies of the SAST analyzers to scan your code and generate security reports without requiring internet access.

Configure certificate checking of packages

If a SAST job invokes a package manager, you must configure its certificate verification. In an offline environment, certificate verification with an external source is not possible. Either use a self-signed certificate or disable certificate verification. Refer to the package manager’s documentation for instructions.

Running SAST in SELinux

By default SAST analyzers are supported in GitLab instances hosted on SELinux. Adding a before_script in an overridden SAST job may not work as runners hosted on SELinux have restricted permissions.