- Unaudited smart contracts can have security vulnerabilities that may result in hack, theft or locking of tokens.
- Both Automated and Manual Security audits are necessary to mitigate risks on a smart contract.
- QuillAudits provides a fully automated platform for getting smart contracts checked for security vulnerabilities as well as efficiency of code. The author is the co-founder of Quillhash, the parent company of QuillAudits.
What is a Smart Contract Security Audit?
Smart contracts are logical codes that run over blockchain networks and govern the back-end functioning of decentralized applications. So, it’s essential for smart contracts to be secure as well as efficient enough to create a sustainable decentralized ecosystem. Often (accidentally) in the history of Ethereum, security holes in smart contracts might not have been taken care of and therefore have caused enough damage.
Once a smart contract has been deployed on the blockchain network, it’s immutable and therefore security obviously being the foremost priority, it’s absolutely essential for a contract to be audited carefully before being actually deployed on the main Ethereum network. The smart contract auditing process can be lengthy and difficult enough depending on the heaviness of the platform (for example, it’s essential for escrow contracts to be well scrutinised before deployment for public use) or the availability of the platform (there’s much more security in private / authorised blockchain networks rather than ĐApps on main Ethereum network).
Automated contract auditing tools scan through the contract to find if any commonly encountered security vulnerability exists. So, according to the seriousness of the platform, there’s often need of manual auditing beyond automated security analysis. Not only that, automated contract auditing tools analyse the gas usage of the each and every action within the smart contract and helps suggest optimisations and efficiency improvements. Gas cost in the Ethereum network is a vital parameter measuring the reach and affordability and thereby the long-term sustainability of the decentralized ĐApp platform.
How to Audit a Smart Contract ?
QuillAudits Smart contracts Audit Check List is built to analyse smart contract codes based on the writing style, variable declarations, deep-loops, edge-cases handling, variable modifiers, living status of a contract before / after actions. Crucial factors to be taken care of while auditing a smart contract are to ensure there are no breaking points of the contract (e.g. malicious function calls, undesirable altering of variable states, locking up of cryptos within the contract for indefinite time, crypto theft, leakage of sensitive details) and the contract is viable enough to be used by users of the platform (e.g. gas costs mustn’t be high enough to reduce affordability).
Nevertheless, it’s essential to state that a smart contract can never be asserted to be 100% secure. There have been cases where even programming language-level bugs or hardware-level exploits can lead to exposed security vulnerabilities. But, obvious steps that must be taken to ensure best security practices:
- Extensively written test cases – Test cases for smart contracts are essentially written to evaluate how the smart contract performs under worst case conditions and verify if all the functionalities of the contract are working as expected.
- Bug Bounty programs – It’s essential for smart contracts to be allowed to be penetration-tested by professionals before being actually deployed. Bug bounties generally offer high rewards for finding critical bugs in contracts.
- Automated Security Audit – Automated security audits pave the way for getting contract audited and vulnerability-verified at much lesser costs. However this type of security audits might not always be the last one to trust in case of serious business applications.
- Manual Security Audit – Blockchain professionals as well penetration-testers are well-versed with all the kinds of smart contract vulnerabilities that may arise in worst cases and often help out with enhancing efficiency of smart contracts through better code organising and using efficient data structures.
Some teams might consider to do the security auditing themselves, or availing automated security audits or getting manual expert auditing done at a higher cost. As a first rule of the thumb for blockchain developers, it’s advisable to always keep track of the latest developments in the programming language (making note of newly introduced and enhanced functionalities as well as deprecated functionalities), keeping code highly modular and separately concerned.
QuillAudits uses multiple in-house automated tools in addition to tools listed, to secure your smart contract and to find whether your smart contract can fulfil your business requirements. Apart from automated tools your smart contract code goes under multiple testing phases like static testing which is done manually by our expert audit team thereafter smart contract comes under unit testing which is done using truffle, test suite is prepared for each and every function in your smart contract to know whether your function is capable of handling overflow, underflow condition, reflected variable in that function should maintain their value properly, then Solidity-coverage is used to know how much our test cases are penetrating your smart contract functions, final report after reviewed at multiple level is delivered to client including all the possible suggestions and severity issues raised during audit.
About QuillHash and QuillAudits:
QuillHash Technologies is a pioneer in providing custom Blockchain Solutions and is one of the most prominent blockchain dev-house from India. We deliver Enterprise grade Blockchain technology to leading companies and Governments worldwide.
QuillAudits is a smart contracts security audit platform provided by QuillHash Technologies. It’s a fully automated platform for getting smart contracts checked for security vulnerabilities as well as efficiency of code.
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