Brakeman - A static analysis security vulnerability scanner for Ruby on Rails applications

Brakeman is an open source static analysis tool which checks Ruby on Rails applications for security vulnerabilities.
Check out Brakeman Pro if you are looking for a commercially-supported version with a GUI and advanced features.


Using RubyGems:
gem install brakeman
Using Bundler:
group :development do
  gem 'brakeman', :require => false


From a Rails application's root directory:
Outside of Rails root:
brakeman /path/to/rails/application


Brakeman should work with any version of Rails from 2.3.x to 5.x.
Brakeman can analyze code written with Ruby 1.8 syntax and newer, but requires at least Ruby 1.9.3 to run.

Basic Options

To specify an output file for the results:
brakeman -o output_file
The output format is determined by the file extension or by using the -f option. Current options are: texthtmltabsjsonmarkdowncsv, and codeclimate.
Multiple output files can be specified:
brakeman -o output.html -o output.json
To suppress informational warnings and just output the report:
brakeman -q
Note all Brakeman output except reports are sent to stderr, making it simple to redirect stdout to a file and just get the report.
To see all kinds of debugging information:
brakeman -d
Specific checks can be skipped, if desired. The name needs to be the correct case. For example, to skip looking for default routes (DefaultRoutes):
brakeman -x DefaultRoutes
Multiple checks should be separated by a comma:
brakeman -x DefaultRoutes,Redirect
To do the opposite and only run a certain set of tests:
brakeman -t SQL,ValidationRegex
If Brakeman is running a bit slow, try
brakeman --faster
This will disable some features, but will probably be much faster (currently it is the same as --skip-libs --no-branching). WARNING: This may cause Brakeman to miss some vulnerabilities.
By default, Brakeman will return 0 as an exit code unless something went very wrong. To return an error code when warnings were found:
brakeman -z
To skip certain files or directories that Brakeman may have trouble parsing, use:
brakeman --skip-files file1,/path1/,path2/
To compare results of a scan with a previous scan, use the JSON output option and then:
brakeman --compare old_report.json
This will output JSON with two lists: one of fixed warnings and one of new warnings.
Brakeman will ignore warnings if configured to do so. By default, it looks for a configuration file in config/brakeman.ignore. To create and manage this file, use:
brakeman -I

Warning context

The HTML output format provides an excerpt from the original application source where a warning was triggered. Due to the processing done while looking for vulnerabilities, the source may not resemble the reported warning and reported line numbers may be slightly off. However, the context still provides a quick look into the code which raised the warning.

Confidence levels

Brakeman assigns a confidence level to each warning. This provides a rough estimate of how certain the tool is that a given warning is actually a problem. Naturally, these ratings should not be taken as absolute truth.
There are three levels of confidence:
  • High - Either this is a simple warning (boolean value) or user input is very likely being used in unsafe ways.
  • Medium - This generally indicates an unsafe use of a variable, but the variable may or may not be user input.
  • Weak - Typically means user input was indirectly used in a potentially unsafe manner.
To only get warnings above a given confidence level:
brakeman -w3
The -w switch takes a number from 1 to 3, with 1 being low (all warnings) and 3 being high (only highest confidence warnings).

Configuration files

Brakeman options can stored and read from YAML files. To simplify the process of writing a configuration file, the -C option will output the currently set options.
Options passed in on the commandline have priority over configuration files.
The default config locations are ./config/brakeman.yml~/.brakeman/config.yml, and /etc/brakeman/config.yml
The -c option can be used to specify a configuration file to use.

Continuous Integration

There is a plugin available for Jenkins/Hudson.
For even more continuous testing, try the Guard plugin.


git clone git://
cd brakeman
gem build brakeman.gemspec
gem install brakeman*.gem
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