Semgrep vs. Checkmarx

Semgrep gives teams the performance of a highly-customized, in-house SAST solution without the associated costs and hours of orchestration required.

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Why choose Semgrep?

Free up AppSec resources, don't demand more:

Checkmarx's complexity requires AppSec resourcing and expertise that most teams simply do not have to spare. Semgrep was built to be lightweight and portable, and by extension orchestration is intuitive, fast, and user-friendly.

Customize and optimize (without a PhD):

Checkmarx rules are difficult to understand and near impossible to customize (rule-writing is done in C# using a proprietary library). Semgrep rules look like source code and are easy to understand and customize.

Shift left without overwhelming developers:

Semgrep gives you granular control over which issues are surfaced to developers and how they are surfaced. This lets AppSec teams shift left at their own pace, without risking their reputations with developers.

Rule and Workflow Diagram
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Checkmarx

Why this matters

Languages supported

30+

23

Comprehensive language support reduces the number of disparate tools security teams and developers need to integrate into their workflows.

Scan Speed

Semgrep scans run in <5 minutes - regardless of language or scan type.

Full Checkmarx scans can take hours, incremental scans can still take 10+ minutes, and "fast scan mode" fundamentally changes analysis methodology.

Fast scan speeds allow SAST processes to be embedded in the developer workflow without adding friction.

Ease of customization

Checkmarx rules are difficult to understand, which makes both analysis and troubleshooting of scan results extremely time-consuming (since it's difficult to tell what's happening under the hood.)

Additionally, rule customization in Checkmarx is impossible without deep security expertise and extensive Checkmarx-specific training (rule-writing is done in C# using a proprietary library).

Semgrep rules are easy to understand and look like source code - this means it's easy to understand why findings are surfaced, and easy to customize/optimize rules.

Seamless integration with CI / SCM providers

Semgrep integrates seamlessly with all major SCM and CI providers in a few clicks. Users can sign up, scan a project, and get actionable findings all within 10 minutes.

Checkmarx can be complicated to configure in CI - even for major providers like Jenkins and Github actions. For a relative comparison of complexity , compare Checkmarx's documentation to Semgrep's for the CI tools relevant to you.

Rule policies and behaviors

Granular controls over which findings are surfaced to developers and where they are surfaced is critical to shift security processes left without introducing friction and slowing down development.

Semgrep users can customize which vulnerabilities are surfaced to developers via PR comments, ticketing solutions, IDE extensions, or Slack/email via the Semgrep Cloud Platform.

PR comments

PR comments allow security issues to be identified and presented to developers within their pull requests - with the relevant code, context, and explainability presented alongside.

Fix rate / developer feedback

Fix rate measures the percentage of findings that are addressed by developers. This offers critical insight into rule-effectiveness, false positive rates, and developer engagement.

AI assisted triage and remediation

Semgrep Assistant uses GPT-4 to help prioritize issues, identify false positives, and recommend fixes for true positives. Assistant always provides the context needed for developers and security engineers to quickly verify and understand any generated suggestions.

Autofix

Autofix lets security teams implement deterministic fixes to specific, recurring issues to automate remediation.

PR Scans

PR scans are critical if security teams and developers want to find and fix issues before they hit main and accrue technical debt.

Semgrep and Checkmarx can both scan on pull requests.

No build/compile requirement

SAST and code analysis tools that run on source code are fast, lightweight, and developer-friendly.

All Semgrep scans run on source code, even compiled languages.

Does NOT require code access

Many organizations are unable to use a solution that requires the processing or handling of their code to any extent.

IDE Extensions

IDE extensions let developers identify security issues while they code (SAST at the speed of linting), and let organizations enforce coding practices and guardrails.

API support

APIs allow teams to ingest findings and data from SAST tooling into their alerting systems, internal tools, etc.

Ticketing integrations

Integrations with ticketing tools help teams surface security issues to developers within their existing workflows.

Semgrep supports major ticketing tools like Jira, Asana, and Linear.

Languages supported

9

10

Comprehensive language support reduces the number of tools security teams and developers need to use.

Reachability Analysis

Reachability analysis identifies the dependency vulnerabilities that are actually reachable in your code - for example, validating if a vulnerable function is called or not.

This allows teams to cut down false positive rates by 80-95% [1] [2] and prioritize fixes that actually reduce risk.

SBOM export

An SBOM, or software bill of materials, is important for SCA tools to be able to generate in order to prove compliance and report on dependency risk.

SBOMs exported with Semgrep are also enriched with reachability data, giving a clearer picture into the actual state of risk in your code.

PR Comments and developer feedback

PR comments allow dependency vulnerabilities to be identified and presented to developers within their pull requests - with the relevant context and remediation advice presented inline.

The ability for developers to give feedback on a finding within PR comments gives security teams faster and more comprehensive insights on accuracy and false positives.

PR Scans

PR scans allow teams to find dependency vulnerabilities before they are committed to main, and surface a list of dependency vulnerabilities directly in the developer's workflow.

Automatic remediation

Automatic remediation automatically updates and patches dependencies where vulnerabilities are addressed.

Semgrep does not support automatic remediation at this time.

License Compliance

License Compliance is an essential part of most AppSec programs, especially with companies where distributed code products can’t have any copyleft licenses used.

Semgrep Supply Chain’s License Compliance enables you to block pull requests for non-compliant licenses and gain visibility into the license composition of all your dependencies.

Scan locally (IDE/Terminal)

IDE extensions let developers identify dependency issues while they code, within their IDE.

Semgrep currently supports IntelliJ IDEA and VS Code.

Basic rules for secrets detection

Basic rules can detect simpler secrets using regex and entropy analysis without requiring any additional context.

Semantic Analysis

Semantic analysis understands the context of the code, going beyond regex and entropy analysis to reduce noise and uncover more true positives.

Validation

Semgrep can take uncovered secrets and validate them against a range of public APIs to identify if they are active/live.

Custom Validators

Security teams can write validation checks for internal tools or services.

Find and fix the issues that matter before build time

Semgrep helps organizations shift left without the developer productivity tax.

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