Static Application Security Testing (SAST)

Tier: Free, Premium, Ultimate Offering:, Self-managed, GitLab Dedicated

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:

  • Use them in approval workflows.
  • Review them in the security dashboard.

For more information, see Features.


The following table lists the GitLab tiers in which each feature is available.

Feature In Free & Premium In Ultimate
Automatically scan code with appropriate analyzers Yes Yes
Configure SAST scanners Yes Yes
Customize SAST settings Yes Yes
Download SAST output Yes Yes
See new findings in merge request widget No Yes
See new findings in merge request changes No Yes
Manage vulnerabilities No Yes
Access the Security Dashboard No Yes
Configure SAST by using the UI No Yes
Customize SAST rulesets No Yes
Track moved vulnerabilities No Yes


Before you run a SAST analyzer in your instance, make sure you have the following:

  • Linux-based GitLab Runner with the docker or kubernetes executor. If you’re using the shared runners on, this is enabled by default.
    • Windows Runners are not supported.
    • CPU architectures other than amd64 are not supported.
  • GitLab CI/CD configuration (.gitlab-ci.yml) must include the test stage, which is included by default. If you redefine the stages in the .gitlab-ci.yml file, the test stage is required.

Supported languages and frameworks

GitLab SAST supports scanning a variety of programming languages and frameworks. After 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 scanning Minimum supported GitLab version
.NET (all versions, C# only) Semgrep with GitLab-managed rules 15.4
Apex (Salesforce) PMD 12.1
C Semgrep with GitLab-managed rules 14.2
C/C++ Semgrep with GitLab-managed rules 16.11
Elixir (Phoenix) Sobelow 11.1
Go Semgrep with GitLab-managed rules 14.4
Groovy1 SpotBugs with the find-sec-bugs plugin 11.3 (Gradle) & 11.9 (Maven, SBT)
Helm Charts Kubesec 13.1
Java (any build system) Semgrep with GitLab-managed rules 14.10
Java (Android) Semgrep with GitLab-managed rules 16.11
JavaScript Semgrep with GitLab-managed rules 13.10
Kotlin (Android) Semgrep with GitLab-managed rules 16.11
Kotlin (General)1 Semgrep with GitLab-managed rules 16.11
Kubernetes manifests Kubesec 12.6
Node.js Semgrep with GitLab-managed rules 16.11
Objective-C (iOS) Semgrep with GitLab-managed rules 16.11
PHP Semgrep with GitLab-managed rules 16.11
Python Semgrep with GitLab-managed rules 13.9
React Semgrep with GitLab-managed rules 13.10
Ruby Semgrep with GitLab-managed rules 16.11
Ruby on Rails Semgrep with GitLab-managed rules 16.11
Rust 2 Semgrep with user-provided Custom rules 17.1
Scala (any build system) Semgrep with GitLab-managed rules 16.0
Scala 1 SpotBugs with the find-sec-bugs plugin 11.0 (SBT) & 11.9 (Gradle, Maven)
Swift (iOS) Semgrep with GitLab-managed rules 16.11
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. You should use the Semgrep-based analyzer for Ant-based Java or Scala projects.
  2. Requires a custom ruleset and an override to the semgrep-sast CI job. See Scanning Rust applications for an example.

End of supported analyzers

The following GitLab analyzers have reached End of Support status and do not receive updates. They were replaced by the Semgrep-based analyzer with GitLab-managed rules.

Language / framework Analyzer used for scanning Minimum supported GitLab version End Of Support GitLab version
.NET Core Security Code Scan 11.0 16.0
.NET Framework Security Code Scan 13.0 16.0
Go Gosec 10.7 15.4
Java SpotBugs with the find-sec-bugs plugin 10.6 (Maven), 10.8 (Gradle) & 11.9 (SBT) 15.4
Python bandit 10.3 15.4
React ESLint react plugin 12.5 15.4
JavaScript ESLint security plugin 11.8 15.4
TypeScript ESLint security plugin 11.9, with ESLint in 13.2 15.4
Ruby brakeman 13.9 17.0
Ruby on Rails brakeman 13.9 17.0
Node.js NodeJsScan 11.1 17.0
Kotlin (General) SpotBugs 13.11 17.0
Kotlin (Android) MobSF 13.5 17.0
Java (Android) MobSF 13.5 17.0
Objective-C (iOS) MobSF 13.5 17.0
PHP phpcs-security-audit 10.8 17.0
C++ Flawfinder 10.7 17.0

Advanced vulnerability tracking

Tier: Ultimate Offering:, Self-managed, GitLab Dedicated

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 only
  • C++, in the Semgrep-based only
  • C#, in the Semgrep-based analyzer only
  • Go, in the Semgrep-based analyzer only
  • Java, in the Semgrep-based analyzer only
  • JavaScript, in the Semgrep-based analyzer only
  • PHP, in the Semgrep-based analyzer only
  • Python, in the Semgrep-based analyzer only
  • Ruby, in the Semgrep-based analyzer only

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


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

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: Jobs/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. If you use a FIPS-enabled image to run Semgrep in a runner with non-root user, you must update the run_as_user attribute under runners.kubernetes.pod_security_context to use the ID of gitlab user created by the image, which is 1000.


SAST outputs the file gl-sast-report.json as a job artifact. The file contains details of all detected vulnerabilities. You can download the file for processing outside GitLab.

For more information, see:

View SAST results

The SAST report file is processed by GitLab and the details are shown in the UI:

  • Merge request widget
  • Merge request changes view
  • Vulnerability report

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.

Merge request widget

Tier: Ultimate Offering:, Self-managed, GitLab Dedicated

SAST results display in the merge request widget area if a report from the target branch is available for comparison. The merge request widget displays SAST results and resolutions that were introduced by the changes made in the merge request.

Security Merge request widget

Merge request changes view

Tier: Ultimate Offering:, Self-managed, GitLab Dedicated

SAST results display in the merge request Changes view. Lines containing SAST issues are marked by a symbol beside the gutter. Select the symbol to see the list of issues, then select an issue to see its details.

SAST Inline Indicator

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.

Copy and paste the following to the bottom of the .gitlab-ci.yml file. If an include line already exists, add only the template line below it.

  - 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

Tier: Ultimate Offering:, Self-managed, GitLab Dedicated

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: Jobs/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: Jobs/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 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

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

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


Scanning Rust applications

To scan Rust applications, you must:

  1. Provide a custom ruleset for Rust. Create a file named sast-ruleset.toml in a .gitlab/ directory at the root of your repository. Add the following contents:

      description = "Rust ruleset for Semgrep"
      targetdir = "/sgrules"
      timeout = 60
        type  = "url"
        value = ""
        target = "rust.yml"

    This configuration uses the open-source Semgrep ruleset. Read more on customizing rulesets.

  2. Override the semgrep-sast job to add a rule that detects Rust (.rs) files. Define the following in the .gitlab-ci.yml file:

      - template: Jobs/SAST.gitlab-ci.yml
        - if: $CI_COMMIT_BRANCH
            - '**/*.rs'
            # include any other file extensions you need to scan from the semgrep-sast template: Jobs/SAST.gitlab-ci.yml


Most GitLab SAST analyzers directly scan your source code without compiling it first. However, for technical reasons, the SpotBugs-based analyzer scans compiled bytecode.

By default, the SpotBugs-based analyzer automatically attempts 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.

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 job 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 depending on how the project is set up. 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-based SAST analyzer:

  - build
  - test

  - template: Jobs/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

Running jobs in merge request pipelines

See Use security scanning tools with merge request pipelines.

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 in all jobs. The template is evaluated before the pipeline configuration, so the last mention of the variable takes precedence.

  - template: Jobs/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 variable Description
SECURE_ANALYZERS_PREFIX Override the name of the Docker registry providing the default images (proxy). Read more about customizing analyzers.
SAST_EXCLUDED_ANALYZERS Names of default images that should never run. Read more about customizing analyzers.
SAST_ANALYZER_IMAGE_TAG Override the default version of analyzer image. Read more about pinning the analyzer image version.
SAST_IMAGE_SUFFIX Suffix added to the image name. If set to -fips, FIPS-enabled images are used for scan. See FIPS-enabled images for more details.

Vulnerability filters

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

CI/CD variable Default value Description
SAST_EXCLUDED_PATHS spec, test, tests, tmp Exclude 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_DEPTH Semgrep 20; all other SAST analyzers 4 SAST 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.

Analyzer settings

Some analyzers can be customized with CI/CD variables.

CI/CD variable Analyzer Description
SCAN_KUBERNETES_MANIFESTS Kubesec Set to "true" to scan Kubernetes manifests.
KUBESEC_HELM_CHARTS_PATH Kubesec Optional 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_OPTIONS Kubesec Additional arguments for the helm executable.
COMPILE SpotBugs Set to false to disable project compilation and dependency fetching.
ANT_HOME SpotBugs The ANT_HOME variable.
ANT_PATH SpotBugs Path to the ant executable.
GRADLE_PATH SpotBugs Path to the gradle executable.
JAVA_OPTS SpotBugs Additional arguments for the java executable.
JAVA_PATH SpotBugs Path to the java executable.
SAST_JAVA_VERSION SpotBugs Which 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_OPTS SpotBugs Additional arguments for the mvn or mvnw executable.
MAVEN_PATH SpotBugs Path to the mvn executable.
MAVEN_REPO_PATH SpotBugs Path to the Maven local repository (shortcut for the maven.repo.local property).
SBT_PATH SpotBugs Path to the sbt executable.
FAIL_NEVER SpotBugs Set to 1 to ignore compilation failure.
SAST_SEMGREP_METRICS Semgrep Set to "false" to disable sending anonymized scan metrics to r2c. Default: true.
SAST_SCANNER_ALLOWED_CLI_OPTS Semgrep CLI 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.
SAST_RULESET_GIT_REFERENCE All Defines a path to a custom ruleset configuration. If a project has a .gitlab/sast-ruleset.toml file committed, that local configuration takes precedence and the file from SAST_RULESET_GIT_REFERENCE isn’t used. This variable is available for the Ultimate tier only.
SECURE_ENABLE_LOCAL_CONFIGURATION All Enables the option to use custom ruleset configuration. If SECURE_ENABLE_LOCAL_CONFIGURATION is set to false, the project’s custom ruleset configuration file at .gitlab/sast-ruleset.toml is ignored and the file from SAST_RULESET_GIT_REFERENCE or the default configuration takes precedence.

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.

Analyzer CLI option Description
Semgrep --max-memory Sets the maximum system memory to use when running a rule on a single file. Measured in MB.
SpotBugs -effort Sets 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

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.

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.

Analyzer Version
kubesec v2.1.0
pmd-apex v2.1.0
semgrep v0.0.1
sobelow v2.2.0
spotbugs v2.7.1

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: Jobs/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.