/jan 16, 2023

6 Reasons You Need to Run SCA Scans on Projects in VS Code

By Saoirse Hinksmon

We love open-source software (OSS). Not only does it save time and effort, but it’s also incredibly rewarding to collaborate with other developers on major projects. Plus, it opens the door for innovation that otherwise wouldn’t be possible at this scale. However, with code comes responsibility, and so it’s imperative to understand the risk OSS libraries carry when we’re integrating them into projects. Running a Software Composition Analysis (SCA) scan will help highlight dependencies and any issues in the OSS libraries being used. Here's six reasons why scanning OSS dependencies while you code helps in the long run. 

1. Save Yourself from Agitation Later  

The longer you wait for security checks, the harder they will be to fix later. Plus, when you do the SCA scan on your own time, as opposed to delaying until a ticket comes in from another team, then you’re not tied to their completion dates.  

2. Understand Risk in Your Projects and Potential OSS Libraries You Want to Pull In 

By scanning while you’re actively coding, you get real-time feedback on security risk in your project as it stands currently. This allows you to:  

  • properly evaluate any libraries you’re considering pulling into your project  

  • understand what known vulnerabilities exist today  

  • highlight any exploitable vulnerabilities 

  • illuminate any high-severity issues that need immediate attention.  

Knowing a library has high-severity issues before you’re relying too heavily on it is a huge time saver. Learn the six types of open-source library vulnerabilities you need to know today. 

3. Easily Remediate Issues in VS Code (or other IDEs) 

Scanning whilst coding means being able to leverage fix options immediately. Fixing, not just finding, security issues while you’re already deeply embedded and focused on this specific part of code will save you from context switching later. 

4. Ensure You’re Using the Right Licenses 

Keeping track of OSS license usage can feel difficult, annoying, and very much like this should be someone else’s responsibility. Unfortunately, understanding what license an OSS library requires is critical for those building code. By scanning your projects in the build phase, you can ensure that you’re not using any questionable or problematic licenses as keystone components in your application.  

5. Adhere to Policy 

As with license usage, by scanning in the build phase you’re able to ensure that you’re aligned with your organization’s policies around OSS usage. Note that not all SCA scanners will be able to provide you with this information, particularly when you’re using an extension or a plugin. However, as a Veracode customer, this is a built-in feature of our SCA Scan extension for VS Code.  

6. Freedom from Security Debt Down the Line  

One of the biggest benefits of shifting your SCA scans left is being able to avoid increasing your security debt. Tackling the problem as it arises will help you start to create a clean slate for your security debt, saving you and your organization a great deal of time, effort, and money.  

Assessing and addressing OSS risk early in the build will save you time later by avoiding the need for rework. In fact, Veracode has released a new plugin to help you do just that. Take it for a spin by downloading the extension in the Microsoft Marketplace.

Photo of VS Code Scanned with Veracode SCA

Related Posts

By Saoirse Hinksmon