Secure Code Review

What is a Secure Code Review?

Security or Secure Code Review is a specialized task including a manual and/or an automated in-depth analysis of an application’s source code to identify security-related weaknesses.

zerOxImpact Secure Source Code Review is an essential mechanism for validating the design and implementation of the software. It helps to maintain a level of consistency in design and an implementation of practices across projects and among the various modules inside the projects.

The review evaluates the application code to identify programming flaws, weaknesses, like: 

Authentication & Authorization & Access Control

Format string exploits and Insecure configuration

Race conditions and Business logic flow

Memory leaks and Buffer overflows

And many other application vulnerabilities

Code review is the best practice for improving software security. It helps to improve the overall quality of the software and is a way of helping developers to ensure that the application has been developed to be “self-defending” in its given environment.

Benefits for your

organization

Security Code Reviews protect against threats targeting your business performance:

  1. Customer revenue loss 
  2. Regulatory fines
  3. IT and security response costs
  4. Loss of competitive advantage
  5. Loss of reputation/customer confidence
  6. Downtime costs
  7. Business disruption
  8. Sensitive Data Exposure
  9. Insider Threats

Not enough? move on

Ready to start building up your cyber resilience?​

 

Contact us today and find out how our experts can help provide the information security assurances you need.

What other benefits of doing a Secure Code Review?

Benefits of conducting a Secure Source Code Review include:

Insights

Validate internal security measures and processes with industry’s best practices

Proactively harden your applications against malicious attacks

Identify and provide remediation guidance on coding flaws

Proactivity

Educate developers on secure coding best practices

Efficiency

Reduce costs associated with security bug fixes by producing secure code on an early stage in the software development cycle

Conduct security assessment of crucial applications and 3rd party software

Compliance

Satisfy compliance requirements such as PCI DSS and ISO27001

What is Secure Code Review Methodology?

Types of Secure Code Reviews & Analysis methodology

A secure code review involves a manual and/or an automated review of an application’s source code to quickly identify security-related weaknesses in the code.
“Learn more – Manual vs. Automated Secure Code Reviews.”

Our approach to deliver the Secure Source Code Review service:

Kickoff
meeting

Identify Objectives and Threat Modelling. We want to learn about your application’s use cases. For us it is critical to understand the types of bugs that are possible in the code we’re reviewing.

By review design documentation and mapping data flows we understand the context, relationships between application’s components.

Now it is possible to identify the design flaws, critical components, or other modules that need a closer look, we can set clear objectives, and stay focused during code review.

Using precise tools is vital to the success of the secure code review. A static analysis tool can be used to automatically check the code for a set of rules and best practices that you’ve predefined. Automated tools scan in fast and efficient way, and can detect low-hanging fruits and a number of other vulnerabilities; there are no silver bullets in the list of tools, and the used tool depends on the used programming language. 

Automated static

code review

Hands-on

Code Review

For the next period we are reading the source code line-by-line in attempt to identify the rest of flaws. It is a tedious process that requires a technical skill, experience and patience.

The vulnerabilities discovered and subsequently addressed through the manual review process can significantly improve the organization’s security posture.

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 Once we’ve completed the code review, the next step is to prioritize the vulnerabilities in the order of importance, to ensure that the most severe vulnerabilities are highlighted in the overall list. Then you can fix the bugs we’ve identified. These findings give your developers a great starting point when looking for common bugs and vulnerabilities in your code. This knowledge dramatically improves the code they may write in the future.

Reporting with a detailed analysis

and threat report

What are Secure Code Review Deliverables?

 

The deliverable from the Secure Code Review is a detailed document with next sections tailored for different audiences:

Executive Summary

01. This section contains a summary of the finding and has some issues identified.

The section is complimented by an observation, e.g. includes concerns, or suggestions about the quality that is not necessarily actionable as a finding, but has a value of consideration nonetheless and presents a security level of the application.
High-level Development Strengths and Weaknesses for application

Architecture Review
02. This section contains Outlines structural findings and feedback regarding the overall structure of the application.

Section contain Specific Application Vulnerabilities & Risk Ratings.

Detailed Finding
03. This section contains findings and referencing source code line numbers, and files.

Findings include a description of the issue found, and recommendations on how to fix it.

Remediation steps are demonstrated using an actual code snippet from the source code (the ‘From’ code) along with how to explicitly change the code (the ‘To’ code) to fix it.

Appendices
04. This section contains detailed information and evidence used for reference.
 

FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions.
Here are some common questions about Secure Code Review.

What are the Automated Code Review Pros?

It is a good chance to detect the low hanging fruit vulnerability
The ability to test the large chunks of source code
The ability do a code review each time a meaningful change in the source code has been introduced
The ability to run a source code review on-demand
The ability to continuously monitor the insecure code
The ability to add the non-security checks, for example, business logic
The ability to write a qualitative code writing and integrate the positive security culture

What are the Automated Code Review Cons?

False positivities and negativities – tools that don’t allow a fine-tuning can produce much noise.
The coverage and breadth are dependent on the type of the tool you choose, the languages, frameworks, and the standards it covers
Have to learn how it works for those not familiar with the static code checkers
Not applicable for all budgets

What are the Manual Code Review Pros?

A deep dive into the code paths to check for flaws in the design and architecture and logical errors.
The automated tools have a gap here.
The security issues like logical errors, authorization, authentication, and data validation can be better detected in a hands-on way
Reviewing other people’s code can be a great way to share secure coding and application security experience
Can help raise developer security awareness and it is a way to educate better developers

What are the Manual Code Review Cons?

Different code reviewers can provide various reports, resulting in inconsistent findings between reviewers and subjective experience
Requires an expert of programming language and frameworks used in the application as well as needing a deep understanding of security concepts
Testing and writing up reports is timely
Manual review of applications with more than 50k lines of code is limited to targeting high-risk functions only

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