A recent report by Veracode (http://www.veracode.com/reports/index.html) found cross-site scripting in 68% of surveyed web applications and SQL injection in 32%, even though these are well-known, easily preventable, and easily detectable vulnerabilities. As applications grow larger, it becomes harder and harder to manually verify that every line of code is adhering to security guidelines - even given the built-in protection available with Ruby on Rails.
Brakeman (http://brakemanscanner.org/) is an open source static analysis tool which provides painless vulnerability scans of Rails code from "rails new" through deployment. Running Brakeman as a part of continuous integration provides feedback during all stages of development and can alert developers immediately when a potential vulnerability is introduced. Bringing security testing as close to the developer as possible (even scanning as files are saved) means security problems are caught faster - and the sooner problems are found the cheaper they are to fix.
As a static analysis tool, Brakeman can be run without worrying about deploying the whole application stack: no webserver, database, configuration, or application dependencies required - not even Rails itself. This allows fast, easy vulnerability scans on any Rails project.
We talk a lot about testing in the Ruby and Rails community, but somehow security testing is passed over. This needs to change!
This talk will cover how to incorporate Brakeman into Rails development and how it can improve application security, as well as a look into how Brakeman works internally.