Brakeman is an open source vulnerability scanner specifically designed for Ruby on Rails applications. It statically analyzes Rails application code to find security issues at any stage of development.
Brakeman now supports loading checks that are not run by default. These “nondefault” checks may have high false positive rates or introduce significant slowdowns. Optional checks should be treated as experimental and may experience more breaking changes than default checks.
To run all checks, use -A. To list only the optional checks, try --optional-checks. Optional checks are also listed in --checks. As usual, checks may be specified using -t or --test. At this time there is no way to easily run the default checks plus some optional checks.
On the code side, optional checks are the same except Brakeman::Checks.add self becomes Brakeman::Checks.add_optional self.
It works with Rails 2.x, 3.x, and 4.x.
No Configuration Necessary
Brakeman requires zero setup or configuration once it is installed. Just run it.
Run It Anytime
Because all Brakeman needs is source code, Brakeman can be run at any stage of development: you can generate a new application with rails new and immediately check it with Brakeman.
Since Brakeman does not rely on spidering sites to determine all their pages, it can provide more complete coverage of an application. This includes pages which may not be ‘live’ yet. In theory, Brakeman can find security vulnerabilities before they become exploitable.
Brakeman is specifically built for Ruby on Rails applications, so it can easily check configuration settings for best practices.
Each check performed by Brakeman is independent, so testing can be limited to a subset of all the checks Brakeman comes with.
While Brakeman may not be exceptionally speedy, it is much faster than “black box” website scanners. Even large applications should not take more than a few minutes to scan.
gem install brakeman
Using Bundler, add to development group in Gemfile and set to not be required automatically:
group :development do
gem 'brakeman', :require => false
gem build brakeman.gemspec
gem install brakeman*.gem
It is simplest to run Brakeman from the root directory of the Rails application. A path may also be supplied.
For a full list of options, use brakeman --help or see the OPTIONS.md file.
To specify an output file for the results:
brakeman -o output_file
The output format is determined by the file extension or by using the -f option. Current options are: text, html, tabs, json, markdown, and csv.
Multiple output files can be specified:
brakeman -o output.html -o output.json
To suppress informational warnings and just output the report:
Note all Brakeman output except reports are sent to stderr, making it simple to redirect stdout to a file and just get the report.
To see all kinds of debugging information:
Specific checks can be skipped, if desired. The name needs to be the correct case. For example, to skip looking for default routes (DefaultRoutes):
brakeman -x DefaultRoutes
Multiple checks should be separated by a comma:
brakeman -x DefaultRoutes,Redirect
To do the opposite and only run a certain set of tests:
brakeman -t SQL,ValidationRegex
If Brakeman is running a bit slow, try
This will disable some features, but will probably be much faster (currently it is the same as --skip-libs --no-branching). WARNING: This may cause Brakeman to miss some vulnerabilities.
By default, Brakeman will return 0 as an exit code unless something went very wrong. To return an error code when warnings were found:
To skip certain files that Brakeman may have trouble parsing, use:
brakeman --skip-files file1,file2,etc
To compare results of a scan with a previous scan, use the JSON output option and then:
brakeman --compare old_report.json
This will output JSON with two lists: one of fixed warnings and one of new warnings.
Brakeman will ignore warnings if configured to do so. By default, it looks for a configuration file in config/brakeman.ignore. To create and manage this file, use: