Ruby on Rails Static Analysis Security Tool

Brakeman 5.1.0 Released

This is a huge release! (So many changes, I had to look up how to nest lists in Markdown…)

Thank you to the many contributors!

There are several new features, take a look below.

Changes since 5.0.4:

  • Report Formats
  • Performance
    • Read and parse files in parallel
  • Ruby Interpretation
    • Initial support for ActiveRecord enums (#1492)
    • Interprocedural dataflow from very simple class methods
    • Support Array#fetch and Hash#fetch (#1571)
    • Support Array#push
    • Support Array#*
    • Better Array#join support
    • Support Hash#values and Hash#values_at
    • Support Hash#include?
  • SQL Injection
    • Update SQL injection check for Rails 6.0/6.1
    • Add --sql-safe-methods option (Esty Scheiner)
    • Ignore dates in SQL
    • Ignore sanitize_sql_like in SQL (#1571)
    • Ignore method calls on numbers in SQL (#1571)
  • Other Fixes
    • Ignore renderables in dynamic render path check (Brad Parker)
    • Fix false positive in command injection with Open3.capture (Richard Fitzgerald)
    • Fix infinite loop on mixin self-includes (Andrew Szczepanski)
    • Check for user-controlled evaluation even if it’s a call target (#1590)
  • Refactoring
    • Refactor cookie?/param? methods (Keenan Brock)
    • Better method definition tracking and lookup

Report Formats

Klaus Badelt added support for GitHub Actions annotation format with -f github.


Eli Block added support for reporting ignored warnings in SARIF using the “suppressed” property and fixed a SARIF bug.


Elia Schito clarified some text in the --interactive menu for ignoring warnings.


Parallel File Parsing

Brakeman now uses the parallel gem to read and parse files in parallel.

By default, parallel will split the reading/parsing into a number of separate processes based on number of CPUs.

In testing, this has dramatically improved speed for large code bases - around 35% reduction in overall scan time.

However, if you run into weird behavior (e.g. scanning just hangs during file parsing), this feature can be disabled using --no-threads.


Ruby Interpretation

Simple Class Methods

Brakeman will now track and return very simple literal values (e.g. strings, hashes of literals, arrays of literals) from very simple class methods (e.g. single line).

For example:

class User
  def self.path_prefix

User.path_prefix # => '/user'

This should help prevent some false positives.


Since ActiveRecord enums essentially generate some class (and instance) methods that return fixed literal values, the above class method return values is also used to support enum.

For example:

class User < ActiveRecord::Base
  enum status: [:pending, :active, :locked]

User.statuses[:pending] # => 0


Hash and Array Methods

In some ways, Brakeman is a very poor Ruby interpreter. To “understand” the code it analyzes, Brakeman essentially evaluates some methods. This release adds and improves support for evaluating a number of Hash and Array methods.

  • Support Array#fetch and Hash#fetch (changes)
  • Support Array#push (changes)
  • Support Array#* and improve Array#join (changes)
  • Support Hash#values and Hash#values_at (changes)
  • Support Hash#include? (changes)

SQL Injection

Updates for Rails 6.0/6.1

Some new Rails 6.0 methods were previously added for SQL injection (destroy_by/delete_by), but this release is more thorough.

Newly vulnerable methods:

  • reselect
  • rewhere

No longer vulnerable:

  • delete_all
  • destroy_all
  • pluck (in Rails 6.1)

Not really vulnerable:

  • order (in Rails 6.1)
  • reorder (in Rails 6.1)

(Also, [] has also been updated with Rails 6 information!)


Safe Methods

Esty Scheiner added the --sql-safe-methods option to ignore some methods when checking for SQL injection.


False Positives

Brakeman no longer warns about SQL injection for:

  • Dates and methods called on dates (changes)
  • Method calls on number literals (changes)
  • sanitize_sql_like (changes)

Misc Fixes

Brad Parker updated the dynamic render path check to ignore “renderables”.


Richard Fitzgerald fixed a command injection false positive when using Open3.capture.


Andrew Szczepanski fixed an infinite loop when a mixin appears to include itself.


Brakeman will now warn about user-controlled evaluation even if the evaluation is a call target itself.

For example:




Keenan Brock cleaned up the cookie?/param? utility methods.


In support of enum and simple class methods, Brakeman now has a cleaner way of tracking and looking up method definitions.


New and Updated Options

--sql-safe-methods can be used to specify methods that should be ignored in the context of SQL injection.

--format github/-f github will output code the annotation format used by GitHub Actions.

--no-threads/-n will disable use of threads (actually forked processes) for reading and parsing files. (Previously, this method only disabled use of threads when running checks.)


The SHA256 sums for this release are:

2cc7a174bc9ebb90161f218ea35905de8d749210f69a0bfda9fba71429dc5047  brakeman-5.1.0.gem
b8182c9fd7d6d116b2b531c5d8fe0bf9c8da14118b755ed00be8de8c4684ad10  brakeman-lib-5.1.0.gem
e38ff386530bc5585e2efd183ba73c08abb740c3b26072662025a3d9395b707a  brakeman-min-5.1.0.gem

Reporting Issues

Thank you to everyone who reported bugs and contributed to this release!

Please report any issues with this release. Take a look at this guide to reporting Brakeman problems.

Follow @brakeman on Twitter and hang out on Gitter for questions and discussion.