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Binary code analysis, also referred to as binary analysis, is threat assessment and vulnerability testing at the binary code level. This analysis analyzes the raw binaries that compose a complete application, which is especially helpful when there isn’t access to the source code. Because a binary code analysis evaluates stripped binary code, software can be audited without vendor or coder cooperation. It can also be used to analyze third-party libraries, allowing a richer analysis and better visibility into how applications will interact with libraries.
Binary code analysis has become more relevant as most of today’s cyber security threats move from network-level attacks to application layers. Applications can be very complex, written in various code languages drawn from multiple sources. Without being translated to a single raw binary code, it can be difficult to see or understand vulnerabilities at the code level. Over a website, applications with different codes or code sets must preserve security assessment deep into the program infrastructure. Analyzing for security threats at the binary code level (and preferably as part of the broader DevSecOps framework) helps ensure that web applications are not compromised before they go live.
Since binary code is fundamental, making sure to apply a static application security testing (SAST) approach as part of your overall security program is essential. SAST is a technological toolset that can analyze various static codes, like binary code, byte code, and application source code while they are in a non-running state—i.e., during the SDLC build phase.