Software source code scanning and binary scanning are two different methods for analyzing software for vulnerabilities and other security issues.
Software source code scanning involves analyzing the source code of a software program to identify potential vulnerabilities. This is typically done using automated tools that search the code for patterns or characteristics that are associated with vulnerabilities. Source code scanning can be an effective method for identifying vulnerabilities early in the development process, as it allows developers to fix issues before the software is compiled and deployed.
Binary scanning, on the other hand, involves analyzing the compiled version of a software program, known as the binary code. This is typically done using automated tools that analyze the binary code for vulnerabilities and other issues. Binary scanning can be used to identify vulnerabilities in deployed software.
As source code scanning is more effective in finding vulnerabilities in source code, it requires full access to the source code of a product. Source code scanning is not able to detect vulnerabilities from missing or bad compiler settings, i.e. system hardening, debug fragments, authentication settings, etc. Binary code scanning is important as it is covering all the software running on a product, including operating system, drivers, third party libraries, etc.
Binary code scanning allows a vulnerability assessment of a software without the needs of source code access and it is able to generate a Software-Bill-of-Materials (SBOM) from a binary image to investigate or verify the components of a software from suppliers or during an audit.
In general, source code and binary code scanning are both important tools for an effective, secure software development and playing both important roles in ensuring the security of software.