Static Analysis Introduction

Software Engineering

Static Analysis Introduction

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  1. Static Analysis Introduction

    Slide 1 - Static Analysis Introduction

    • Emerson Murphy-Hill
  2. Static Analysis

    Slide 2 - Static Analysis

    • Static analysis is the process of evaluating a system or component based on its form, structure, content, or documentation [IEEE]
    • Does not involve the execution of the program
    • Software inspections are a form of static analysis
    • “even well tested code written by experts contains a surprising number of obvious bugs” [Hovermeyer/Pugh]
    • “Java has many language features and APIs which are prone to misuse.” [Hovermeyer/Pugh]
    • Static analysis tools “can serve an important role in raising the awareness of developers about subtle correctness issues. . . . prevent future bugs” [Hovermeyer/Pugh]
  3. Static Analysis Tools

    Slide 3 - Static Analysis Tools

    • Search through code to detect bug patterns (error prone coding practices that arise from the use of erroneous design patterns, misunderstanding of language semantics, or simple and common mistakes).
    • Increasingly being used to identify security vulnerabilities
    • “can peer into more of a program’s dark corners with less fuss than dynamic analysis”
    • [Hovemeyer/Pugh, Chess/McGraw]
  4. Problems with static analysis tools

    Slide 4 - Problems with static analysis tools

    • False positive: the tool reports bugs the program doesn’t contain
    • A static analysis tool will brag about having only 50% false positives.
    • Need to manually review and decide whether to fix or ignore. Some tools allow you to create filters of the types of bugs you don’t want to see.
    • False negative: the code contains bugs the tool doesn’t report
    • May increase as static analysis tool developers works to reduce false positives
    • May also detect “harmless bugs” which need human judgment to sort out
  5. References

    Slide 5 - References

    • Chess, Brian and McGraw, G. Static Analysis for Security, IEEE Security & Privacy, Nov/Dec 2004.
    • Hovermeyer, David and Pugh, William, Finding Bugs is Easy, OOPSLA 2004
    • Rutar, N., Almazan, C., and Foster, J., A Comparison of Bug Finding Tools for Java, ISSRE 2004.